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

In the ongoing struggle over wasteful health care spending, geographic cost variation is a veteran hot topic. The fact that public programs and private health plans spend more for providers in some regions, even after accounting for normal differences in costs by location, has irked policymakers and researchers who...
Much about the Health Insurance Exchanges is uncertain, even as the October 1 deadline to make them operational approaches. Many states running their own or partnership exchanges have yet to decide on key elements of plan management, consumer outreach, and other important functions. Exchanges are a genuine game changer...
Compounded drugs are a new hot issue in the pharmaceuticals industry and in Congress. There are little data about compounding pharmacies, but a new Congressional Research Service brief gives a comprehensive overview. Compounded Drugs Personalize Drug Treatments: Compounded drugs are created when a physician or pharmacist mixes or changes pharmaceuticals to...
The federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM) had a tricky job in setting rules for multi-state health plans (MSP), which eventually will be offered in all states through Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX). The OPM had to take decide how to allow for disparate state and federal requirements for exchange-based plans,...
Fears abound that health insurance premium increases because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will discourage young, healthy people from participating in the Health Insurance Exchanges. But most young people are likely to be eligible for exchange subsidies, softening the sting of so-called premium shock and attracting healthier people to...
Growth in health care spending has slowed recently.  Why?  Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - aka Obamacare - says its due to the controversial law, although most of the ACA's provisions are yet to take effect.  However, new evidence shows that the economy is the cause of...
The rise of social media has undeniably changed the way we communicate, conduct business, and go about our daily lives.  Social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and YouTube offer rapid, easy, and efficient ways to communicate with large numbers of people.  Recognizing this, Congressmen and Senators (or...
Under the new employer mandate imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers will pay about $130 billion in penalties over the next 10 years.  The ACA employer mandate is highly complex and employers have many factors to consider. The employer mandate – called “shared responsibility” in federal law and...
Employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) has been central to the U.S. health care system. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) adds many requirements and imposes many costs on employers that could change how - and if - they offer employee health care coverage.  But estimating the effect of changes to ESI is...
The Federal Reserve Beige Book is the central bank’s version of a routine check-up from a physician. Published eight times each year, the Beige Book compiles reports about how the economy is doing from Fed staff across the country and interviews with business leaders, economists, and other market experts...

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