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

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is related to several major chronic diseases. Obesity and diabetes raise your chance of developing high blood pressure, which in turn makes you more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure also becomes more prevalent with age. Those factors make high...
Much of the story about rising health costs and spending has to do with relatively small groups of people with expensive health needs. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions accounted for 93 percent of Medicare spending...
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has answered some questions about how Arkansas’s creative plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plan, which Gov. Mike Beebe put forward, would use federal Medicaid expansion money to give premium subsidies for Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll...
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...
Love it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act is unprecedented in size, scope, complexity, and uncertainty.  To project its impact, numerous policy, economic, competitive, and behavioral factors must be considered and assumptions made.  From an analytical perspective, the ACA is a simultaneous, non-linear equation from hell. A number of...
What's the impact on patient care, particularly prescription drug utilization, as Medicaid beneficiaries move from fee-for-service to Medicaid health plans?  This year, state Medicaid programs will spend over $22.1 billion on pharmacy benefits. This will grow to about $50 billion by 2020, according the CMS actuaries. Nearly half of Medicaid prescriptions...
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....
The qualified health plan contracting process in Health Insurance Exchanges present many opportunities and challenges for states and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Success in implementing the Exchanges - one of the Affordable Care Act's most complex and ambitious features - will require comprehensive, well-structured strategies,...
Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles are often held up as a prime case for the need for better care management to reduce health costs and spending while improving quality.  But doing so can be challenging.  Most dual eligibles have multiple health conditions, whether a chronic disease, severe cognitive or physical disabilities,...
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...

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