Healthcare Topic: Health Policy

Wednesday, May 5, 2009
As we begin again to consider health care reform in this nation, the issue of childhood obesity should not be ignored.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The campaign to create a National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NAS) for the United States has been a remarkable success so far. Over the last two years, the concept has won support from hundreds of organizations and more than 1,000 individuals. They all endorsed a Call to Action demanding a more coordinated, accountable, and results-oriented response to AIDS in our country.
Monday, August 8, 2009
Four years ago this week – August 28, 2005 to be precise – Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast region, killing more than 1,800 people and causing more than $81 billion in damages. The devastating storm left the region’s public health and health care systems in shambles from which they are still trying to recover years later.
Monday, September 9, 2009
Because “prevention accounts for only two to three percent of health care expenditures,” we could achieve significant savings in future health care costs by devoting more money to preventive measures. Unfortunately, this argument is flawed.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Sen. Max Baucus’s America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 has received a tepid reception from Democrats and Republicans alike. That’s precisely because Sen. Baucus’s bill embodies compromise, mutual conciliation, and moderation. While pragmatism and expediency are laudable goals, they are apt to produce uninspiring results, and that’s what we’ve gotten in the Healthy Future Act.
Tuesday, November 11, 2009
As the House and Senate move toward the final outlines of health care reform legislation, they confront important questions about how proposals might apply to immigrants
Monday, January 1, 2010
It’s no secret that childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese children has tripled since 1980.
Monday, February 2, 2010
In the U.S., private-sector insurers hold a powerful monopoly in insurance markets, and this hinders progress. Conversely, in the U.K., it has historically been the government-run hospitals’ monopoly power that was hampering improvements.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
One perverse side effect of the stalled national health reform legislation is that popular, commonsense provisions tucked in the bills get stuck too. That includes the restaurant menu labeling requirement, which has support from Democrats; Republicans; the public health community; and, more recently, even the fast-food industry.
Tuesday, March 3, 2010
Health care reform is testing the United State’s capacity to address big issues and has highlighted glaring flaws in the legislative process. What’s clear by now is that it’s tough to boil health care policy down into concise talking points and it’s nearly impossible to sell sensible reforms politically.
Tuesday, March 3, 2010
There’s no doubt Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move campaign has re-energized public health officials, community health workers, and advocates who have been fighting the childhood obesity epidemic for years. But the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show just what a challenge solving the problem will be
Tuesday, March 3, 2010
What do we know about the levels of population health and the state of medical care and the many other determinants of health across the United States? Despite years of data collection, it has been difficult to gain a comprehensive view of population health.
Tuesday, April 4, 2010
On March 23, President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care for America Act. This legislation will go down as one of the most significant pieces of social policy legislation that Congress has ever passed. Sure, the legislation isn’t perfect—no law ever is—but it expands coverage to 32 million Americans
Tuesday, April 4, 2010
Our country recently took an historic and long overdue step toward health system reform. While the new law is not perfect and more still needs to be done, this sweeping reform package will greatly benefit America’s patients and their physicians.
Tuesday, April 4, 2010
Health care reform is now the law of the land, and the rollout has begun. If the law stands without major revision, only time will tell how it ultimately affects health care costs, coverage, and quality. Like everyone else, I have my own thoughts, but opinion and forecast must give way to reality.
Tuesday, May 5, 2010
Right now in both countries, there’s a push among most politicians to exhort the necessity of reining in our respective national deficits. Politicians in the U.S. and U.K. have hit the stump and said to anyone who will listen that unless deficits are reduced, the consequences for the economy will be dramatic.
Tuesday, June 6, 2010
Certainly now that health reform has been signed into law, most of us are looking toward the future, focusing on the daunting task of implementing this major piece of legislation—perhaps the most significant and wide-reaching piece of social legislation to pass in the last several decades.
Tuesday, July 7, 2010
In the four years since a significant package of health care reforms was enacted in the Netherlands, the Dutch have emerged with a health system that’s innovative, dynamic, and widely viewed by many health policy experts as a blueprint for a high functioning 21st century health care system.
Friday, July 7, 2010
While plans are only truly useful once successfully implemented, it is a significant accomplishment and newsworthy that the United States now has a plan in place to guide its efforts in combating HIV/AIDS.
Tuesday, August 8, 2010
Unlike in the U.S., where it’s exceedingly difficult to pass health care legislation, sweeping health care reforms are commonplace in Britain. Because of their parliamentary, winner-takes-all political system, when each new government arrives in power, they almost always introduce broad changes to the National Health Service.
Tuesday, September 9, 2010
Terminal illness is one of the most difficult issues in medicine and health policy. Terminal illness forces us to address end of life care, death, quality of life, and the limits of modern medicine. Terminal illness is also hugely expensive.
Tuesday, September 9, 2010
Year after year Americans are exposed to contaminated foods that enter the nation’s food supply due to an antiquated set of food safety laws that don’t provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the tools and authorities it needs to protect public health. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Tuesday, September 9, 2010
Innovation requires several things. Certainly, it needs new discovery, but in business it also implies market adoption. In most U.S. industries, this happens through pressure from one (or both) of the following dimensions: 1) improved quality or utility of a product and 2) the price of the product.
Tuesday, October 10, 2010
Prior to the passage of health reform legislation, the U.S. health care system was already anticipating a shortage of primary care physicians as older physicians retired and fewer medical students appeared ready to take their place. Now, with the potential influx of millions of newly insured patients in 2014 when the full effects of health reform take effect, this potential shortage has become more urgent than ever.
Tuesday, November 11, 2010
A recent joint project between the London School of Economics and McKinsey & Company had a powerful central finding: good hospital management leads to good patient outcomes.
Monday, December 12, 2010
Ultimately, the central lesson emerging from Europe at the moment is that within hospital and insurance markets, it often takes more regulation and a more active state in order to create meaningful competition and productive incentives.
Thursday, January 1, 2011
"Junior, do your homework so you can grow up to be big and strong". There is an undeniable link between education and health, even as we age.
Tuesday, January 1, 2011
Over the last six months, a new government in the U.K. has proposed a series of sweeping reforms for the English NHS, many of which I support, including expanding patient choice, increasing quality transparency, and increasing competition. However, the type of competition the new government wants to introduce—simultaneous price and quality competition—has me worried.
Tuesday, January 1, 2011
The Republicans pledged to “repeal and replace” health reform, but some political observers are now concerned that the result could be little more than “repeal and confuse.”
Thursday, January 1, 2011
January 1st each year millions of us resolve to improve our health—to eat less, exercise more, quit smoking, and so on. Seems simple enough. Sounds like basic willpower. But if staying healthy was that easy—we’d all keep our resolutions.
Tuesday, February 2, 2011
These days, the most hotly contested element of the health care reform law is the mandate that requires every American to purchase insurance coverage come 2014. The mandate is a lightning rod for criticism and many have expressed hope that the Supreme Court will deem it unconstitutional
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Imagine that you decided to run an Accountable Car-Care Organization. The government announces that you would no longer be paid on repairs alone, but for keeping cars on the road and out of the garage.
Tuesday, March 3, 2011
Prevention is one of those things that everyone can agree on, the health policy world’s equivalent of apple pie (minus the fat and sodium). Except that nowadays, health care is so politicized that no one can agree on anything.
Tuesday, May 5, 2011
As of this writing, since taking control of the House in January, Republicans have tried to repeal the ACA, strike out large portions of the law, defund it, and weaken some of the regulations of health reform. Some were willing to shut down the government over health reform.
Wednesday, May 5, 2011
In my last Altarum Health Policy blog, I discussed how to recognize a bent health care cost curve. This curve was defined in terms of health spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), a measure that is closely watched by health economists and policymakers who are concerned with the share of national income needed to fund health care.
Thursday, June 6, 2011
Addressing three dilemmas: Who defines value and how? How can value be measured? Can a value-based system also respect choice?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Did you know that doctors make different treatment choices for themselves than they recommend to their patients? A recent study found that doctors are more likely to take on the risk of death to avoid serious complications than they recommend to patients.
Tuesday, July 7, 2011
“Granny” is in the health policy crosshairs yet again. This time, it’s IPAB – the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the topic of two separate House hearings this week – that will theoretically unplug her, ration her, or sink her with the Titanic.
Tuesday, September 9, 2011
He finally said it. “Obama cares,” President Barack Obama told a town hall over the summer, turning the Republican “Obamacare” phrase on its head. I was wondering what took him so long
Tuesday, September 9, 2011
Since last March when we began tracking national health expenditures (NHE) on a monthly basis, we have been wondering when the health spending share of GDP would hit the 18 percent threshold. The recent downward revision of historical GDP estimates has provided the answer – it already happened — back in the summer of 2009, around the time when the recession was declared officially over.
Tuesday, September 9, 2011
Providers deliver care of ever-increasing complexity within brief, often-rushed encounters, leaving limited time for dialog. So, why invest resources and attention on an individual’s preferences about treatment?
Thursday, October 10, 2011
Because consumers don’t realize that the price of health care products and services is set very differently than prices in other markets, it leads to perceptions and behaviors that can be expensive and even dangerous.
Thursday, January 1, 2012

There is a massive untapped resource in health care: consumers. Like a sleeping giant, unaware of its size and power, consumers have yet to realize what effect they could have on the system simply by asking questions or making choices. It’s not certain when, or if, consumers will awaken.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

By Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News

Tuesday, February 2, 2012

Innovation in health care products, services, delivery models and processes has emerged as a popular solution to spiraling U.S. health care costs as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launches its $1 billion challenge to the public and private sectors to demonstrate and scale value-driven innovations that reduce health care costs while maintaining or improving quality. Innovations proven in pilot and demonstration projects offer the potential for improvements in health care efficiency, effectiveness and affordability.

Thursday, March 3, 2012

It is often difficult to discern what is happening on the fringe of things and then decide whether any of it matters. In the last year, the center of health care has bulged with inevitably growing and demoralizing statistics of illness and costs, predictably warmed by the heat of presidential campaign rhetoric. But at its edge, centrifugal forces have been at work, tilting some usually obscure elements into the light.

Tuesday, March 3, 2012

The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income, pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional-risk. Based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, the foods available to participants in the WIC program underwent a significant overhaul in 2009 to better align nutrient intake among WIC participants with the latest dietary guidelines.

Thursday, March 3, 2012
The world’s largest—and most important—conference for bringing together service providers, advocates, policymakers and scientific and social science researchers to learn about and share advances in prevention, treatment, care and policy for an epidemic that counts 34 million living with HIV/AIDS worldwide takes place in Washington, D.C., from July 22 - 27. However, not everyone who could benefit from this conference will be able to enter the U.S. to attend, and it's worrisome that many people here in the U.S. who most need to hear its messages might not pay attention.
Thursday, March 3, 2012

By Stuart Taylor, Jr. for Kaiser Health News

How big is the constitutional challenge to the Obama health care law, which the Supreme Court will hear on March 26-28?

For starters, it's big enough for the justices to schedule six hours of arguments—more time than given to any case since 1966. After all, the Affordable Care Act is arguably the most consequential domestic legislation since the creation of Medicare in 1965.

Tuesday, April 4, 2012

For small business, the 2010 health reform law means higher costs, more red-tape and fewer choices. Some provisions are already in effect (e.g., coverage expansions, drug tax, FSA limits). Others start in 2013 (e.g., medical device tax, increased “Medicare” taxes on business owners’ wages, a new “Medicare” tax on owners’ investments).

Thursday, April 4, 2012

After a decade of conflict in Iraq, our troops have come home, producing the largest increase in the number of American veterans since the 1970s. After Vietnam, an America tired of war and consumed with political angst neglected its veterans. Fortunately, the veterans of today are receiving the homecoming they deserve. To make that homecoming complete, America needs to ensure that our returning warriors have access to one of the most important benefits they have earned: health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tuesday, May 5, 2012

“I’m thinking of getting a full-body CT scan,” Jane said. “What do you think?” Here was a healthy, active 72-year-old with no specific symptoms considering an expensive screening test. When asked for a reason, she shared that strokes run in her family and a doctor told her that she might be able to see if there was a possible bulge in a blood vessel in her brain. Plus, while they were looking, the scan could see if there was some other problem.

Tuesday, May 5, 2012

Mini-Sentinel is the Food & Drug Administration’s new tool to assist in monitoring the safety of drugs and medical products after FDA approval. It is a pilot program for FDA’s larger sentinel system, a multifaceted effort by the FDA to develop a national electronic system that will complement existing methods of safety surveillance, which is currently under development.(1) (2)

Thursday, May 5, 2012

Where does “health care transformation” exist? Google finds us 70,600,000 hits on the subject. Good luck with that. Is it out there in parts? On the horizon: in accountable care organizations; patient-centered medical homes? In gene therapy and epigenetics? In HIPPA-compliant health information networks? In our National Prevention Strategy? In diet therapies approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for cardiovascular disease?

Tuesday, May 5, 2012

Readers of this blog are familiar with—and mostly supportive of—these two claims: (1) that social and environmental factors are stronger than health care services in shaping the population’s health, but (2) those factors are weaker than health care services in securing funding and public attention. Most of us are convinced that sending more funds and public support toward healthy food and exercise would do more to improve health than sending those funds toward high-cost medications or surgeries,

Thursday, May 5, 2012

Overuse of health care is moving into the policy spotlight as a critical—and addressable—cost and quality issue. Overuse—providing care that is not medically warranted or expensive services that don’t add value over less costly ones—contributes to our high national health care costs. Strategies to address overuse are critical to improving quality, reducing health care costs and eliminating “waste” in the health care system.

Tuesday, June 6, 2012

By Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News.

Angela Wenger calls herself a self-reliant “German Midwesterner” who hates to complain. But the Wisconsin mom was dismayed when husband Dan’s employer switched to an insurance plan that increased the family’s medical expenses tenfold.

Thursday, June 6, 2012

This is my fourth blog on the topic of sustainable health spending (others are here: 1, 2, 3).  I have argued that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), long-run sustainability in health spending is largely determined by the federal government’s ability to meet its Medi

Thursday, June 6, 2012

For more than 40 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has served as America’s nutrition safety net. In fiscal year 2011, SNAP served nearly 45 million people, about one in seven Americans nationwide. SNAP promotes optimal health and the well-being of low-income individuals through improved nutrition and nutrition education.