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

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...
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...
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...
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...

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