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

In recent testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, Gary Cohen of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gave an update of progress on Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) implementation, now called Health Insurance Marketplaces. There is plenty to do, as shown in the timeline CMS presented that day,...
Policy circles are abuzz with news about Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe’s creative plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  While details are sketchy and there's no official federal approval yet, the basic idea is to use the federal funding for Medicaid expansion (100% in 2014-2016, no less...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law is apparently here to stay, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in NFIB v. Sebelius and the reelection of President Barack Obama. But health care is not a bygone subject. States this year must determine how they want to handle Health...
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program is tiny compared to better-known public health coverage programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Only about 500,000 Americans in 2010 were eligible for the HCTC program, which pays 72.5 percent of private health plan premiums for workers whose jobs were cut...
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...
State insurance commissioners typically bear most of the responsibility for enforcing health insurance consumer protections. In theory, that will remain the case after broad new consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect. States are expected to be the first-line of enforcement, and the federal...
The federal budget has been in the news more than usual lately. Congress early in 2013 postponed a 2 percent across-the-board cut in Medicare payments, 8 percent cuts for certain domestic spending, and 10 percent cuts in non-military personnel defense spending, using a measure called sequestration. But the deadline...
Prevention and wellness care are widely recognized as means to reduce health costs and spending, while also improving outcomes for patients. Preventive services typically include screenings for diseases, such as cancer, or harmful conditions, such as obesity. They also include immunizations. For example: someone gets a flu shot costing...
Presidential Executive Orders have long required cost estimates and impact analyses for every major proposed or final rule.  However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), perhaps under direction from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has apparently stopped providing cost estimates for rules implementing the...
A common story during the health reform debate was that of an uninsured person who went to the hospital for treatment and left behind a mountain of unpaid medical bills.  Uninsured and under-insured patients account for billions of dollars in uncompensated health care each year, which reached a total $57.4...

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