Monday, March 30, 2009

"Sick Around America" on FRONTLINE

You may remember the FRONTLINE report, "Sick Around the World." It was the best job I have ever seen anyone do summarizing five different national health care systems--the U.K., Taiwan, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland--in just one hour.I recommended it when it originally ran and I recommend it today. You can still see it here.Now FRONTLINE has aired producer Jon Palfreman's effort to explain

"EGMN: Notes from the Road"--A Refreshing and Interesting Look Inside the World of Docs

I just discovered a relatively new blog that might be of interest to you: "EGMN: Notes from the Road."It comes from the publishers of a number of the periodicals physicians read, including Internal Medicine News, Cardiology News, and Family Practice News. Their unique take on the world of health care and policy blogging is to post from medical meetings, press conferences, and policy gatherings

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Take the $600 Billion in New Revenue from Obama's 'Cap and Trade' Climate Change Proposal and Use it To Pay for Health Care Reform"

Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as raising the possibility we could take the $600 billion in new revenue projected from a "cap-and-trade" plan to cut green house-gas emissions and use some or all of it to help pay the estimated $1.5 trillion cost for comprehensive health care reform.Energy and climate change issues aside that would be a bad idea--a really bad idea.The

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Will CIGNA Remake The Health Plan Marketplace?"--CIGNA Embraces Onsite Clinics

Will CIGNA Remake The Health Plan Marketplace?by BRIAN KLEPPERAmerica’s health plans are floundering. If their job has been to provide the nation’s mainstream families with access to affordable care (let’s leave quality out of it for the moment), they have failed miserably, though they were very profitable along the way, at least until Q1 2008. In 2008, the Milliman Medical Index – an estimate of

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Anybody Know Where We Can Find a Quick Trillion Dollars?

"Irrational exuberance" over the chances for health care reform meet the budget realities.The House and Senate Budget committees have begun work on the federal budget.Last week’s CBO report estimated the Obama budget would:Produce a nearly $9.3 trillion deficit over the next decade.Generate annual budget deficits of nearly $1 trillion in each year from fiscal year 2010 to 2019.Increase budget

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little Ado About Nothing—Part Deux

Last November, the insurance industry offered to do away with pre-existing conditions limitations. This week the health insurance trade associations have also offered to phase-out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual market.From their letter to Congress this week:Specifically, by enacting an effective, enforceable requirement that all Americans assume

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Newest Health Care Reform Arithmetic--Unbelievable!

"A coalition representing 30 health care organizations on Monday asked lawmakers in the House and Senate to suspend pay-as-you-go rules when drafting and passing health care overhaul legislation, saying much of the savings introduced by such a plan would be realized beyond the rules' 10-year budget window."That paragraph from last week's Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report caught my eye.I don't

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Physician Payment Reform--Time for Hard Choices

I recently authored a guest editorial in the February 15th edition of Family Practice News--"The Leading Independent Newspaper for Family Physicians."Many years ago, the Congress established the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula (SGR) to control physician spending in Medicare. The concept is simple, if Medicare physician costs grow at a pace beyond affordability, next year's payments get cut to

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Intensifying Collapse of the Health Care System, Why It's Different This Time, and What We Need to Think About Along the Way

The Intensifying Collapse of the Health Care System, Why It's Different This Time, and What We Need to Think About Along the Wayby Brian Klepper and David C. KibbeMore than at any time in recent memory, powerful forces are buffeting the health care sector. We are in the midst of profound upheaval, driven by market and policy responses to the industry's long-term excesses. We can already see

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Obama Health Care Budget Cost Cuts Pretty Small

In conversations with members of the press the last couple of days, it is apparent the scope of President Obama's proposed federal health care cuts is not well understood in context.Is the President really making hard choices to bring America's health care spending under control?You decide.Here are some facts from the Obama budget message spreadsheets (pages 117-127):In 2012, three years into the

"Five Recommendations for ONC Head Who Understands Health IT Innovation"

The team of David Kibbe and Brian Klepper are at it again with some advice on who best understands the health IT challenge in America:Five Recommendations for ONC Head Who Understands Health IT Innovationby DAVID KIBBE and BRIAN KLEPPERNow that the legislative language of the HITECH Act -- the $20 billion health IT allocation within the economic stimulus package -- has been set, it's time to

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Detailed Analysis of the Obama Health Care Reform Budget

Speaking about the imperative to bring America’s entitlement spending under control last December, Barack Obama said, "What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further. We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's.”Right-on!But in his

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Commission on Entitlement Reform--A Good Idea

The Kaisernetwork reported the following today:On Sunday, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag during an appearance on ABC's "This Week" said that Obama might establish a commission on entitlement reform, or broader health care reform, to take some of the authority over the development of legislation from Congress. Under such a commission, the Obama administration and