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

Fraud in the health care system is a significant and growing threat.  The FBI estimates that between 3% and 10% of all health care expenditures are lost to fraud each year - up to $280 billion annually.  Health care fraud not only raises costs for consumers and employers -...
Health information technology, care coordination, and cost containment have increasingly become entwined in health care policy. Medicare and Medicaid both have electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs to encourage physicians, hospitals, and other providers to use them. Electronic patient communication also is part of care coordination models, such as...
Medicare Part D, the Medicare drug benefit, served roughly 31 million seniors last year. Medicare Part D is more similar to Medicare Advantage than to traditional Medicare in that enrollees can choose among several private health plans for drug coverage. The lists of which drugs Part D plans cover -...
Independent pharmacies play a central role in the U.S. prescription drug market, distributing almost one in five drugs sold in the country. But small pharmacies often do not have the resources to handle the administrative burden of filing claims with health plans or purchasing stock from prescription drug wholesalers....
Poor quality of care and preventable medical errors are a major cause of high costs and patient suffering.  The opportunities for improvement are considerable. In addition, as states and health plans gear up for Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX), they will count quality and patient safety among their key considerations.  For...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...

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