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

Hospital readmissions are costly but largely preventable. Reducing inpatient readmissions are a top priority for Medicare, state Medicaid programs, and private health plans.  The opportunities to lower costs and improve patient outcomes are considerable.  Therefore, healthcare purchasers are realigning hospital payment methods to reward hospitals for fewer readmissions and...
To control rising health care costs and improve outcomes, health care purchasers - Medicare, state Medicaid programs, and large employers - and health plans are eager to entirely replace traditional, inefficient, volume-based fee-for-service (FFS) physician and hospital reimbursement with value-based payment models.  Value-based payment comes in various flavors but...
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...
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...
Various economists and health care policy experts have tried to explain the recent slowdown in health spending growth. Some say it’s because of the Affordable Care Act, whose major provisions have yet to take effect. Others say it’s because of the economic slowdown, suggesting that the decrease in spending...
Risk adjustment is a key mechanism to ensuring appropriate payments for Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D drug plans, and Medicaid health plans.  Since health plans vary in their mix of healthy and sick enrollees, risk adjustment modifies premium payments to better reflect the projected costs of members served and...
Multi-payor medical home initiatives have many benefits. They can bring Medicare, Medicaid, and private health plans together to promote care coordination, better health outcomes, and lower costs. But they have one potential flaw: Allowing payors to coordinate payment policies could trip federal (or state) anti-trust protections to prevent price-fixing and...
Hospital costs are of keen interest to Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers these days, who pay the vast majority of hospital costs. Which services are the most expensive? Which types of health coverage are responsible for most of the costs? A new statistical brief from the Health Costs...
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...

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