One of the best sessions at Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore was the panel discussion about drug prices on May 3, “Of price spikes and shortages: New initiatives to increase patient access to generic and biosimilar drugs.” Wendy Wolfson, an independent journalist from Irvine, Calif., moderated the discussion.
Perhaps the most interesting of the four panel members was Martin Van Trieste, president and CEO, Civica Rx, a nonprofit manufacturer of generic drugs for hospitalized patients. Seven of the nation’s largest health systems have invested in Civica and their representatives will serve on its board of directors along with representatives from three philanthropies: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Gary and Mary West Foundation. Continue reading →
Whenever a major merger is announced in health care, the parties routinely tout the benefits for consumers, saying costs will decline and quality will improve. But do the facts bear out these claims?
During the press events announcing these deals, there’s no way to know. Researchers would need a baseline and several years of data to verify the merging partners’ claims and even then such results such as lower costs and improved quality take years to accumulate and measure. Continue reading →
In the previous post we talked about the two related but distinct health care cost crises – out-of-pocket burdens on individuals and families, and the overall $3.7 trillion national expenditures. Both Democrats and Republicans are either coming up with plans that shift costs (rather than bring them down or significantly restrain their growth). Or they are working – in some cases, on a bipartisan basis – on issues such as drug costs or surprise medical bills, which may help bring down costs – but unlikely that they will go so far to really reshape the trajectory.
Several experts talked about these issues at a recent Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health webinar which I moderated. Politico and the school also did a recent poll on public attitudes on health care costs. (More on that below.) Continue reading →
The ceaseless political warfare over health care, ironically, has become a big obstacle to … fixing health care.
Because what Americans care most about is cost – and we can’t fix the rest of our coverage problems without also addressing cost. And we, as a nation, are not really talking about cost. The president’s budget would slash entitlement spending, particularly on Medicaid. But like all presidential budgets – it’s not going to pass and lowering federal spending on old, poor and sick people isn’t going to make the costs of taking care of old, poor and sick people go away. Continue reading →
Over the past several years, health care journalists have done great work highlighting the problem of surprise medical bills. There’s been so much coverage that even the U.S. House of Representatives has begun examining the issue, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff reported on March 25.
Among the many surprise patient medical bills that Kliff and others have reported about come from air ambulance companies. Continue reading →
Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.