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

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released new Medicaid spending projections, showing a significantly lower rate of growth. Nationally, while federal Medicare costs continue to rise dramatically and far faster than medical inflation, Medicaid spending growth has moderated considerably. Twice each year, OMB releases its latest projections...
The Bush Administration is preparing regulations to cut federal Medicaid funding to states by about $6 billion. In the President's budget for FY 2007, the Bush Administration proposed a series of Medicaid budget cuts. Most of these would require legislation and the House and Senate have shown no desire to...
Using new flexibility created by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), states may restructure Medicaid benefits. States may now customize Medicaid health care benefits to specific populations, model some benefit package after commercial-like health plans, and offer additional benefits as incentives to reward healthier patient behavior. Based on the concept of...
Medicare drug plans will dramatically increase coverage of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in 2007 based on new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In creating Medicare Part D, the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) excluded OTCs from coverage. Taxpayer dollars could not be used to pay for OTC...
Using new benefit design and cost-sharing options created by the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), states are busy restructuring Medicaid programs. With recently announced approvals from HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Idaho are the first states to take advantage of DRA flexibility. With the help of top advisors,...
The world's leading guru of competitive strategy, Michael Porter, Ph.D., has turned his sights on explaining the fundamental cause of high costs, poor quality, consumer dissatisfaction, uneven access, and skyrocketing premiums in American health care. In Redefining Health Care, Porter and innovation expert Elizabeth Teisberg, Ph.D. provide a thoughtful, groundbreaking...
To learn about the Massachusetts health care reform initiative, here are two podcasts on this groundbreaking new program to cover virtually all the uninsured in the Commonwealth. For Sellers, Feinberg and Associates, the lead consultants on the Massachusetts reform project, I host a biweekly podcast on hot issues in Medicaid....
It is an immutable truth of economics. Transparency is an essential ingredient for a market to function with any semblance of efficiency or effectiveness. Lack of transparency - what economists call asynchronous information - leads to rapid inflation, gross inefficiency, gaming and abuse, ignorant consumers, poor quality, rampant error...
The HHS Office of the Inspector (OIG) is studying a long list of issues related to Medicare Part B physician-administered drugs, the new Medicare Part D outpatient prescription drug benefit, and state Medicaid pharmacy benefits. In addition to its investigative and audit function, the talented staff at the HHS...
Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (MA-SNPs) are an important new innovation in the healthcare marketplace. Ultimately, as I reported last fall in the Piper Report, MA-SNPs may evolve to serve an untapped $250 billion market. Here's a quick briefing on Special Needs Plans and how they become integrated Medicaid...

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