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

Special Needs Plans (SNP) are part of the Medicare Advantage program and were created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). There are three types of SNPs, each intended to provide coordinated care for Medicare beneficiaries that meet specific criteria. Institutional SNPs (I-SNP) serve beneficiaries who, for 90 days...
Compounded drugs are a new hot issue in the pharmaceuticals industry and in Congress. There are little data about compounding pharmacies, but a new Congressional Research Service brief gives a comprehensive overview. Compounded Drugs Personalize Drug Treatments: Compounded drugs are created when a physician or pharmacist mixes or changes pharmaceuticals to...
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says it has found a more fair way to set federal matching rates for state spending on social programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Match rates that take into account differences among states in health costs, demand for services,...
The prices of generic drugs vs. brand-name drugs has gathered a lot of attention lately. But buying in bulk and purchasing practices can have as much of an effect on prices as drug patents do.  That’s what the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found when it compared Rx prices paid in prescription...
Fears abound that health insurance premium increases because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will discourage young, healthy people from participating in the Health Insurance Exchanges. But most young people are likely to be eligible for exchange subsidies, softening the sting of so-called premium shock and attracting healthier people to...
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...
Growth in health care spending has slowed recently.  Why?  Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - aka Obamacare - says its due to the controversial law, although most of the ACA's provisions are yet to take effect.  However, new evidence shows that the economy is the cause of...
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 term “post-acute care” (PAC) covers a range of services patients receive after a hospital stay. Skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals all provide post-acute care. PAC providers are an important part of efforts to reduce hospital readmissions, which are a...
The rise of social media has undeniably changed the way we communicate, conduct business, and go about our daily lives.  Social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and YouTube offer rapid, easy, and efficient ways to communicate with large numbers of people.  Recognizing this, Congressmen and Senators (or...

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