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

Price transparency - or making price information publicly available - is an idea that has gained steam recently as one more way to reduce health costs and improve quality. So far, that has taken the form of online tools to help private health plan enrollees choose providers. But states...
Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles are often talked about as a single type of patient. They have significant levels of disability and chronic disease, and account for a disproportionately large spending in both Medicare and Medicaid budgets. But dual eligibles are a diverse group. A few recent studies into health spending on dual...
Various economists and health care policy experts have tried to explain the recent slowdown in health spending growth. Some say it’s because of the Affordable Care Act, whose major provisions have yet to take effect. Others say it’s because of the economic slowdown, suggesting that the decrease in spending...
Risk adjustment is a key mechanism to ensuring appropriate payments for Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D drug plans, and Medicaid health plans.  Since health plans vary in their mix of healthy and sick enrollees, risk adjustment modifies premium payments to better reflect the projected costs of members served and...
Multi-payor medical home initiatives have many benefits. They can bring Medicare, Medicaid, and private health plans together to promote care coordination, better health outcomes, and lower costs. But they have one potential flaw: Allowing payors to coordinate payment policies could trip federal (or state) anti-trust protections to prevent price-fixing and...
Hospital costs are of keen interest to Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers these days, who pay the vast majority of hospital costs. Which services are the most expensive? Which types of health coverage are responsible for most of the costs? A new statistical brief from the Health Costs...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions to childless adults, through Medicaid and Health Insurance Exchanges, could have broad effects on public health. A recent study gives us one good example of that by showing that pregnant women in Medicaid with tobacco cessation coverage were less likely to smoke...
In the ongoing struggle over wasteful health care spending, geographic cost variation is a veteran hot topic. The fact that public programs and private health plans spend more for providers in some regions, even after accounting for normal differences in costs by location, has irked policymakers and researchers who...
The Department of Defense contracts with more than 11,000 health care professionals, at an annual cost of about $1 billion. A recent Government Accountability Office report says the military could do more to coordinate its contracting duties to save money and avoid duplication. Military Health Spending: The Military Health System provides...
Though most commonly associated with Medicare, Accountable Care Organizations are now making their way into state Medicaid programs. Providers, of course, are an essential part of the ACO model. But many providers don’t yet have the resources to coordinate care, analyze cost and usage data, and adapt to value-based...

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