Category Archives: Health care reform

Consumers Union expert weighs in on drug price hikes, other cost challenges

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Lynn Quincy

Lynn Quincy

Mylan’s price hike for its EpiPen allergy medication is just the latest example of health care costs pressuring consumers, Consumers Union’s Lynn Quincy told AHCJ members in a recent webcast.

Quincy, who leads the consumer-advocacy group’s Healthcare Value Hub and has backed efforts to curb rising drug prices, pointed to other recent price increases such as those by drugmakers Valeant and Turing as symptoms of a massive “market failure.” Continue reading

A look at the landscape in health care price transparency

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Tax Credits via Flickr

Photo: Tax Credits via Flickr

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

Comparing the party platforms on health care: Democrats

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Joseph Shemuel via Flickr

Photo: Joseph Shemuel via Flickr

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

Comparing the party platforms on health care: Republicans

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Matt A.J. via Flickr

Photo: Matt A.J. via Flickr

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

Clinton’s ambitious mental health reform plan faces severe shortage of specialists

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Matt A.J. via Flickr

Photo: Matt A.J. via Flickr

Hillary Clinton this week unveiled a comprehensive plan to reform how mental health care is delivered in this country. While it calls for addressing many of the most serious problems in the behavioral health care system, it could be hampered – at least initially – by a severe shortage of mental health professionals at all levels (map as of 2014).

To address that problem, the plan calls for increasing reimbursement for collaborative care (where mental health professionals work with medical providers) in Medicare and Medicaid Continue reading