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

For over a decade, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) has been a source of financial worry for physicians who serve Medicare patients. Medicare’s physician payment rate is based on a composite measure of the cost of care, multiplied by a factor derived from the SGR formula. Every year since...
The term “post-acute care” (PAC) covers a range of services patients receive after a hospital stay. Skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals all provide post-acute care. PAC providers are an important part of efforts to reduce hospital readmissions, which are a...
State Medicaid programs will spend about $175 billion this year on health care for dual eligibles - low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid.  State spending on dual eligibles falls primarily in three areas:  long term services and supports (nursing home, home...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a trade-off for providers, particularly hospitals: On the one hand, Medicare fee-for-service hospital payments will be cut by $260 billion over 10 years. Some people newly eligible for Medicaid will switch from private insurance, which pays much higher provider rates than Medicaid does....
Primary care is shifting to payment based on providing higher quality, lower cost health care. New payment models - such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) - replace or supplement traditional fee-for-service payments with per-member per-month payments, and emphasize coordinated care, quality measurement, and accountability. Some models offer cost-sharing, as...
Coordinated primary care models have shown great potential to reduce health care costs while improving care, a goal that will become even more important after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansion provisions take full effect next year. The models typically involve communication among providers, a focus on patients...
For the past several years, major payers in U.S. health care have experimented with new payment models that create incentives to control unnecessary health care spending. The traditional fee-for-service model for health insurance does not give providers a reason to control health costs: The more services they provide, the...
A painful fact about the U.S. health system is that roughly one third of health costs and spending are wasted. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that wasted health spending could reach from about $500 billion to almost $1 trillion each year. And...
Here is a summary of the Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care related provisions of H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, as passed by House and Senate as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.  President Obama is expected to sign the law shortly. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)...
Medicare premiums, deductibles, and co-payments are updated each calendar year based on formulas set by Congress in statute. For 2013, the new Medicare deductible, coinsurance, and monthly premium rates for Part A and Part B are described below. These apply to most but not all Medicare beneficiaries.  Full-benefit dual eligibles -...

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