Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent months have delivered grim statistics on military and veteran suicides. In a report earlier this year, the VA announced veterans committed suicide at a rate of 22 per day in 2010. Active-duty military suicides reached...
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program is tiny compared to better-known public health coverage programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Only about 500,000 Americans in 2010 were eligible for the HCTC program, which pays 72.5 percent of private health plan premiums for workers whose jobs were cut...
Patents form the basis of the  pharma and biotech industry, also called the life sciences industry. They give companies an incentive to make large investments in risky drug development and innovations, which have the potential to be ineffective or to fail Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. More than 6,000 U.S. businesses spent...
Much of the health information technology (HIT) today promotes patient communication to improve care and potentially lower costs. Some examples are interactive preventive health records (IPHR), e-prescribing, and electronic health records (EHR). Emerging telehealth technologies, however, take it a step further. Telehealth allows physicians and other providers not only to...
State insurance commissioners typically bear most of the responsibility for enforcing health insurance consumer protections. In theory, that will remain the case after broad new consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect. States are expected to be the first-line of enforcement, and the federal...
Generic drugs have operated under a different set of rules than brand-name drugs since 1984, when Congress passed the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, or Hatch-Waxman Act. Brand-name drug manufacturers must submit extensive evidence from clinical trials to get approval from the Food and...
Prevention and wellness care are widely recognized as means to reduce health costs and spending, while also improving outcomes for patients. Preventive services typically include screenings for diseases, such as cancer, or harmful conditions, such as obesity. They also include immunizations. For example: someone gets a flu shot costing...
The U.S. Military Health System, with a budget of $48.7 billion in FY 2013, provides medical benefits to 9.7 million active duty servicemembers, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, and dependents. Specifically, the Military Health System provides services through Department of Defense (DOD) medical treatment facilities (MTFs) – 56 hospitals and...
A common story during the health reform debate was that of an uninsured person who went to the hospital for treatment and left behind a mountain of unpaid medical bills.  Uninsured and under-insured patients account for billions of dollars in uncompensated health care each year, which reached a total $57.4...
A year from now, in January 2014, new health insurance exchanges (HIX) will offer coverage to individuals and small-business employees. Part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the exchanges present vast and complex challenges for states, the federal government, and health insurers weighing whether to participate by becoming qualified...

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