Tag Archives: costs

Another twist in the HSA debate – do they encourage more spending?

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. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: mgstanton via Flickr

For quite a few years, many conservatives have argued that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) should play a key role in market-oriented health reform. HSAs, the advocates say, enable people to have financial “skin in the game” and have the potential to encourage them to shop more smartly for health care services, bringing down spending. The counterargument is that they encouraged people to stint on health care, particularly preventive care. Continue reading

New tip sheet expands on HealthNewsReview.org criteria

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

The first AHCJ conference I ever attended was in 2011 in Philadelphia. I had only recently learned about the organization and knew very little about it. I’d signed up for a field trip, but I had brought my 8-month-old with me and was up late the night before, so overslept and missed it.

When I actually got to the conference (my aunt watched my son), I caught the second half of a Thursday workshop with Ivan Oransky, M.D., (now AHCJ’s president) and Gary Schwitzer of HealthNewsReview.org on how to understand and responsibly report on medical studies. It was the session I would eventually end up leading myself years later. Continue reading

Panel hears how drug price reform efforts could work – or not

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: Frankieleon via Flickr

One question Julie Appleby posed to a panel she moderated on the high cost of prescription drugs was simple enough: Do drug pricing reform efforts promise consumer relief?

The answer from three experts Appleby assembled for a panel discussion at Health Journalism 2019 this month in Baltimore was that, yes, efforts in Congress could provide some relief and those efforts have bipartisan support. But, as with any pending legislation, the details in the final bills will matter. Also, of course, any bill needs to pass both houses and then President Trump would need to sign it. Continue reading

Panel learns why there’s no easy fix for high drug prices

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: Pia Christensen/AHCJMartin Van Trieste

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

Do consumers benefit when health insurers own providers?

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.

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

Experts discuss the cost of the health reform wars

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. Follow her on Facebook.

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