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Health Reform

Meaningful Use Stage 3: The Buzz About APIs

March 26, 2015 by David Harlow

The Meaningful Use - Stage 3 proposed rule has been released, with official publication due on March 30. Key to these rules, which lay the foundation for a post-Meaningful Use incentive-driven Health IT ecosystem, is the use of APIs - for the uninitiated, "application programming interfaces" - or simplified connectors that allow for easier transfer of data.[read more]

Medical Malpractice Reform Just Won’t Go Away

March 26, 2015 by Brad Wright

medical malpractice / shutterstock

We’re continuing along in our section-by-section analysis of the Burr-Hatch-Upton Proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and today’s topic is reforming the medical malpractice system. The goal, as is made evident by using the phrase 4 times in the course of 3 paragraphs, is the elimination of “junk lawsuits.”[read more]

A Medicaid Block Grant by Any Other Name Would Stink

March 24, 2015 by Brad Wright

Medicaid / shutterstock

The Burr-Hatch-Upton proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for a “transition to capped allotment to provide states with predictable funding and flexibility.” How do they propose to do this? By rolling back the Medicaid expansion and converting the Medicaid program to a block grant.[read more]

HIPAA Audits: The Latest Oracular Prognostications

March 21, 2015 by David Harlow

OMB cleared the HIPAA pre-audit survey late last week. That is one crucial prerequisite to OCR's initiation of the new round of HIPAA audits that have been the subject of all the Delphic prophecies we keep hearing (the survey is required to collect information about covered entities and their business associates).[read more]

Problem for Women Who Can't Afford Care

March 19, 2015 by Christine Kapsa, NP, DNP

Childbirth is the leading cause of hospital admission. Almost four million women were admitted to American hospitals to deliver babies in 2010 (latest available data). Good, safe obstetrical care is not precision medicine. The principles of maternity care are straightforward and can be practiced successfully worldwide. Even here.[read more]

Will Accountable Care Be a Game Changer?

March 17, 2015 by Tim Kilpatrick

accountable care

Accountable Care is the third transformational wave of trying to improve health care outcomes and costs since the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966. Accountable Care dominates the healthcare industry discussion while ACA dominates the mainstream discussion.[read more]

Health Wonk Review: Spring Forward Edition

March 16, 2015 by Brad Wright

It’s been a volatile time in the world of health policy–and the ACA in particular. We’ve had the second open enrollment period come and go, the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments around the provision of federal subsidies to health insurance exchanges not run by the states, and Republicans have come out with a proposal to replace Obamacare.[read more]

Consumer-Directed Tax Shelters

March 12, 2015 by Brad Wright

tax shelter / shutterstock

You may be familiar with health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), Archer medical savings accounts (MSAs), or flexible spending accounts (FSAs). These are different types of tax-advantaged accounts a person can have that help them to pay for health care costs.[read more]

Giving Power to the States, But at Whose Expense?

March 6, 2015 by Brad Wright

state power / shutterstock

The Burr-Hatch-Upton plan says: “States have a key role to play in expanding access to coverage and helping to lower costs.” The ACA established health insurance exchanges and the (now optional) Medicaid expansion at the state level. So, what does the GOP plan do differently? For starters, I think it does more to harm individual liberty than the ACA.[read more]

The Supreme Court and the Subsidy in the Bathwater

March 5, 2015 by Brad Wright

Supreme Court / shutterstock

What happens if the Court makes federal health insurance subsidies illegal? Well, barring any corrective action on the part of Congress, the White House, and/or the many states with federally-run exchanges, the results are rather bleak: On average, the price of health insurance premiums would increase by 255% nationwide.[read more]

The GOP Strategy for Increasing Purchasing Power: Subsidies in Reverse

March 4, 2015 by Brad Wright

GOP's plan / shutterstock

In this section of the GOP’s ACA replacement proposal, they state that they “would provide a targeted tax credit to certain individuals that could solely be used for the purpose of helping to buy health care.” This credit would be available to any employee of a small business, which the proposal defines as an entity with 100 or fewer employees.[read more]

Are Epiphanies the Key to Fixing Healthcare?

March 2, 2015 by Michael Dermer

epiphany / shutterstock

Perhaps epiphanies are the key to fixing the healthcare system. In an ideal world consumers would engage in healthy behaviors without any need for extrinsic rewards or other engagement tools and behavioral economic levers. Unfortunately, for many reasons, most consumers simply do not.[read more]