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
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
As large insurers, such as United Healthcare, Humana and Aetna, drop out of the Healthcare.gov marketplace, consumers are left with fewer and fewer choices, especially in certain geographic areas.
Sarah Kliff, Sarah Frostenson and Soo Oh of Vox gathered the data to show us just how little competition there will be:
“There are currently 687 counties on the Healthcare.gov marketplace with just one insurer signed up to sell in 2017 — nearly four times the 182 counties that had one insurer this year.”