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

Overuse and abuse of opioid drugs, particularly prescription pain killers, is a serious, costly problem, with a host of challenges for purchasers, payors, patients, physicians, pharmacists, regulators, public health, and drug manufacturers.  For 20 years, overuse of opioid drugs has steadily increased, as have inpatient hospitalizations for opioid overdoses.  Together, Medicaid and...
States across the US are engaged in ambitious and critically important initiatives to reform health care payment and care delivery.  Partnering with other major health care purchasers and payors, including employers and commercial health plans, State Medicaid agencies seek to improve health outcomes and decrease per capita health spending.  This...
Throughout the new Health Insurance Exchanges, health plan offerings vary in premiums, cost sharing, and provider networks. As the Affordable Care Act’s radically new regulatory and financing framework plays out in the insurance market and with consumer and employer decisions, we can expect considerable change and variability from 2014...
For health plans, the Affordable Care Act dramatically increases complexity and uncertainty in the health insurance market.  One thing is clear - Obamacare turns traditional risk management practices of health plans upside down. Predicting and adapting to the financial and operational dynamics of ACA is a daunting challenge for health plans,...
In the U.S., we usually hear about health care in Europe as an example of what the American health system is not. Universal health coverage, state-run provider networks, and rationing are the two differences that come up most often. But the U.S. and Europe share many health care policy challenges:...
Improving care integration for Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible beneficiaries is one of the many initiatives embedded in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The health reform law created the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and provided funds for state demonstrations to integrate care for...
Price transparency - or making price information publicly available - is an idea that has gained steam recently as one more way to reduce health costs and improve quality. So far, that has taken the form of online tools to help private health plan enrollees choose providers. But states...
Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles are often talked about as a single type of patient. They have significant levels of disability and chronic disease, and account for a disproportionately large spending in both Medicare and Medicaid budgets. But dual eligibles are a diverse group. A few recent studies into health spending on dual...
Debate about whether consumers will pay more for insurance under health reform has become political, with conservative organizations saying Obamacare will increase premiums and liberals saying it won't, at least not when you take into account taxpayer-funded subsidies for health coverage. In a new study, RAND Corporation joins the latter group....
Health insurance in America has changed dramatically in the past few years, changes that will speed up once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) major provisions take effect in 2014. It’s easy to be sucked into the details of policy change, from payment reforms, to Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), to...

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