High deductibles and out of pocket costs – which are increasing in both Affordable Care Act exchange plans and employer-sponsored coverage – have given new urgency to helping patients (or “consumers” as they’re called nowadays) learn about the cost and quality of care.
If you know both cost and quality, you know more about the value of care. (Assuming the treatment actually is the right and necessary course of care, but that’s a whole other conversation.)
Many programs and experiments are underway to figure out which tools are helpful to patients, how patients are using them, and what are their impact on health spending and utilization. The findings so far can perhaps be summed up as “meh.” Continue reading
This is part two of our look at what the Republican and Democratic party platforms say about health care issues and their related entitlements. We previously posted on the Republican platform, and today will highlight the Democrat’s document.
As earlier noted, I decided to include significant chunks of the actual documents, as their choice of words, phrases and emphasis can be more illuminating than any summary I could produce. An example: “Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits.” Continue reading
Political party platforms get a spurt of attention in the summer of the respective party conventions – and then more or less disappear for four years. But it is worth taking a look at the documents because they do sum up the mindset. Today we’ll start out with the Republican Party’s official take on a variety of health care issues.
The two party’s platforms’ actual language – choice of words, phrases and emphasis – is enlightening. Continue reading
Podcasts are all the rage, so we’ve been collecting some health policy-related ones for you. Some of these regularly tackle health policy, some dip into it once in a while (but smartly) and others are geared more toward science and medicine.
Some of you who contributed suggestions noted that a few popular general podcasts (such as On Media and Fresh Air) aren’t health-focused but sometimes have good episodes, respectively, on media coverage and interviews with authors of health books. Continue reading
Photo: Peg via Flickr
Decisions by United Healthcare, Humana and now Aetna to shrink their footprint in the ACA exchanges – along with the collapse of the most of the co-ops – are likely to significantly decrease competition in some parts of the country next year.
Among the states likely to be most affected are: Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and probably parts of Florida. Continue reading