With the news out of Washington coming at us fast and furiously, it may have been easy to miss the introduction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new proposal to curb the cost of prescription drugs.
Drug pricing is an especially important issue for older adults, many of whom are on multiple medications and take more prescription drugs on average than any other age group in the United States, according to the American Geriatrics Society.
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
How often has this happened to you? Over the transom comes a report you believe will be the basis for a section-front story or maybe warrant page one. Many times, you’re right. You read the report, collect the highlights, conduct a few interviews, and fire off the story on deadline.
However, occasionally what you thought might be a solid report leaves important questions unanswered. Continue reading
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
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
Source: Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws — July 2016Here’s how price transparency should work for a woman with a silver-level insurance plan in one state. Assume this consumer could go to any hospital and would choose based on the cost of care, meaning her out-of-pocket costs (deductible plus co-insurance). She could pay $5,079 at the highest-priced facility or $3,531 at the lowest-priced hospital. The difference between the two is $1,548.
Progress toward widespread price transparency comes slowly, according to the latest annual report from the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) and the Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR). In the “Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws – July 2016,” issued on Tuesday, the authors, Suzanne Delbanco, CPR’s executive director, and François de Brantes, HCI3’s executive director, explained what states are doing to give consumers the information they need to shop for care based on price.
As in past years, most states are doing poorly: 43 states earned an F grade for failing to meet even minimum standards. Last year, 45 states got an F. Continue reading