Thursday, April 30, 2009

Will Arlen Specter Vote for Health Care Reform? Wrong Question.

The last couple of days have been filled with speculation about Arlen Specter’s party switch and the Democrat’s apparent success in getting to 60 seats in the Senate.Will the Specter switch, and filibuster-proof majorities at hand once Al Franken arrives, mean the Democrats can now ram through a partisan health care reform bill?The real question is just what will a health care reform bill cost

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Health Wonk Review--The Best Health Care Posts on the Web!

This week it's my turn to host Health Wonk Review, a regular review of some of the best health care posts on the web.Veteran Henry Stern starts things off this time with a timely discussion about just who should have the most say about your health care. If someone else (say, the government) is paying for your health care, how much say should your own doctor have? InsureBlog's Stern explores a

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Open Letter (Part 2) to the New National Coordinator for Health IT: Opening the Aperture of Innovation

by DAVID C. KIBBE and BRIAN KLEPPEROne of the important decisions before Dr. Blumenthal and his colleagues at ONC and HHS is whether the national health information network will be one of closed appliances that bundle together proprietary hardware, software, and networking technology, or one of open data exchange and management platforms in which the component parts required to do medical

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Public Health Plan That Looks Just Like a Big HMO---Why?

Respected health policy expert Len Nichols has published a paper, “A Modest Proposal for a Competing Public Health Plan.”There’s this 1970s TV commercial promoting Xerox document copiers. It opens with a sales rep for a competitor saying his machine is, “Just as good as a Xerox!”The Xerox commercial’s response is, “Then why not just buy a Xerox?”In the paper Nichols, and co-author John Bertko,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Progress on Key Health Care Reform Issues?

I recently posted on what I see as a growing consensus for finding the money for health care reform—albeit only about half of it.I also see some consensus on what a health care reform structure could look like--or not look like.Proposals for a public health plan that would compete in the under-age-65 market look to me to be out--particularly one that would pay Medicare rates. I do expect the

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Public Plan--Mutual Assured Destruction?

I typically don’t talk about my travels on this blog but something happened this week that bears reporting.Whether the federal government should or should not offer a public health plan alternative to compete with private insurers in the under-age-65 market is a hot topic in Washington and in the market.I recently posted on it in detail: The Public Plan Option for the Under-Age-65 Market—The

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"An Open Letter to the New National Coordinator for Health IT - Untying HITECH's Gordian Knot: Part 1"

An Open Letter to the New National Coordinator for Health IT - Untying HITECH's Gordian Knot: Part 1by DAVID C. KIBBE and BRIAN KLEPPERCongratulations to David Blumenthal on being named National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT). Dr. Blumenthal will be the person most responsible for the rules and distribution of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (ARRA) nearly $20

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Public Plan Option for the Under-Age-65 Market—The Biggest Health Care Controversy on the Hill

Since when was a two-tiered health insurance system a Democratic policy goal?Among Democrats in the Congress and at the White House there is a great deal of interest in creating a government-run health plan in the under-age-65 market. Such a plan would compete with the existing private health insurance market in a head-to-head showdown between private and public health insurance.Such a plan was

Monday, April 13, 2009

Will We Finally Have Health Care Reform This Time?

Will we have a big health care reform bill passed by the Congress and signed by the President in the next year?Readers of this blog know my opinion--show me where the trillion dollars comes from and I will be optimistic.CQ's Drew Armstrong and Alex Wayne have a thorough and detailed feature article on that question in the April 5th CQ weekly, "A Second Onion."Here's a bit of the article and a

Friday, April 10, 2009

"A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy: The Continuity of Care Record Gains Ground As A Standard"

A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy: The Continuity of Care Record Gains Ground As A Standardby Brian KlepperWe live in a time of such great progress in so many arenas that, too often and without a second thought, we take significant advances for granted. But, now and then, we should catalog the steps forward, and then look backward to appreciate how these steps were made possible. They sprung from grand

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Congress Taking a Second Look At Changing the Way Health Benefits Are Taxed--Good--But We Can't Tax Our Way to Health Care Reform

As you have heard me say many times, paying for health care reform is the real challenge. An Obama campaign-style health plan will likely cost at least $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.Until I see some constructive progress on how we pay for health care reform I cannot be optimistic the latest health care reform debate is going anywhere.Where we stand today is that the Congress and the