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

Regardless where you come down on the issue of contraception and availability of the new Plan B "morning after" pill, the Food and Drug Administration's handing of Plan B provides ample evidence against expanded regulation of the pharmaceutical industry. Plan B, an emergency contraction drug, was approved for sale by...
Medicare Advantage is the new name for voluntary managed care options in Medicare (also know as Medicare Part C and formerly "Medicare+Choice"). Medicare Advantage plans are now available in nearly every area of the country. Beneficiaries who select a MA plan elect to receive all Medicare benefits through the...
In retrospect, will the pharmaceutical industry's support of the Medicare drug benefit be revealed as a modern-day Faustian bargain? Conventional wisdom, particularly inside the Beltway, says that the Bush Administration is in the pocket of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Indeed, this knee-jerk assumption is a virtual article of faith among health policy...
After an avalanche of federal money the past ten years, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is under pressure to show results. This is no small feat given the enormous scientific challenges of cancer, heart disease, HIV, and other killers and disablers. And even though NIH's budget more than...
When enacted in 1996, the federal Medical Health Parity Act (MHPA) was expected to increase health insurance premiums by 3.2% to 8.7%. For employers with 50 or more employees, the Act required parity between annual and lifetime dollar limits for mental health and physical health services. Specifically, the MHPA: 1. Requires...
  1. You get what you pay for. 2. Price is what you pay but value is what you get. 3. You can't fix what you can't see. 4. Incentives matter, whether you intend them to or not. 5. No matter what they say, it's always about money and autonomy. 6. There are no essential...
Rube Goldberg believed there were two ways to do things - the simple way and the hard way. And that, for some inexplicable reason, many people preferred doing things the hard way. His famous cartoons illustrated the tendency of human beings to exert maximum effort to achieve minimal results. Notwithstanding...
While the feds work to fix a series of technical problems plaguing the new Medicare Part D drug benefit, governors are stepping in to help ensure dual eligibles and other vulnerable beneficiaries have access to prescription drugs. As a result, states are incurring millions of dollars of costs. They...
Health care reform is a hot topic again. President Bush is rolling out a series of initiatives to improve health insurance coverage. Congress is poised to approve a 1,000-page budget reconciliation bill with dozens of key changes to Medicaid and Medicare. CMS continues to work hard to implement the...
There's a hot debate over the pros and cons of health savings accounts (HSAs). Like most other health policy issues these days, the debate is based more on differences in political and economic ideology than on facts. While on its face it may appear as a debate between Republicans...

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