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

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...
There's a hot debate over the pros and cons of health savings accounts (HSAs). Like most other health policy issues these days, the debate is based more on differences in political and economic ideology than on facts. While on its face it may appear as a debate between Republicans...
While the feds work to fix a series of technical problems plaguing the new Medicare Part D drug benefit, governors are stepping in to help ensure dual eligibles and other vulnerable beneficiaries have access to prescription drugs. As a result, states are incurring millions of dollars of costs. They...
Rube Goldberg believed there were two ways to do things - the simple way and the hard way. And that, for some inexplicable reason, many people preferred doing things the hard way. His famous cartoons illustrated the tendency of human beings to exert maximum effort to achieve minimal results. Notwithstanding...
  1. You get what you pay for. 2. Price is what you pay but value is what you get. 3. You can't fix what you can't see. 4. Incentives matter, whether you intend them to or not. 5. No matter what they say, it's always about money and autonomy. 6. There are no essential...
As promised, here's my list of likely losers under the new Medicare prescription drug benefit: ● Dual Eligibles: These 6.5 million highly vulnerable beneficiaries will lose their Medicaid drug benefit and be enrolled in the less generous, slightly more expensive, far more complex Medicare drug benefit. They also face the...
The new Medicare prescription drug benefit presents major marketing challenges for both the competing drug plans and officials at CMS and SSA. While the feds must conduct a massive outreach campaign to educate 43 million Medicare beneficiaries about the complex program, the drug plan sponsors must market their plan...
In retrospect, will the pharmaceutical industry's support of the Medicare drug benefit be revealed as a modern-day Faustian bargain? Conventional wisdom, particularly inside the Beltway, says that the Bush Administration is in the pocket of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Indeed, this knee-jerk assumption is a virtual article of faith among health policy...
Sophisticated health care purchasers and health plans know the value of prescription drug data. When analyzed with paid claims data from physicians and hospitals, data from pharmacy claims can be used to identify, understand, and track a wide range of issues. Starting January 2006, when the 6.5 million dual eligibles...

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