Posts Tagged ‘Health Wonk Review’

Your monthly dose of health wonkery

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Despite vacations, graduations, weddings and all the usual seasonal distractions, the Health Wonks are on the job. The June compendium of health policy news is freshly posted by long-time wonk Hank Stern at InsureBlog — and speaking of weddings, he’s posted A Midsummer Night’s Health Wonk Review. There are many great entries from the usual suspects so grab a coffee and check it out.

Happy holiday Health Wonk Review

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Santa reading Health Wonk Review

First, let us go on record for saying that there is no sly political motive to our use of the term “holiday” in the title of this post. Admittedly, we have a bit of a liberal slant, but we have no aversion to using the phrase “Merry Christmas.” But ho, ho, ho, we do have an inordinate fondness for alliteration. Of course, we might have called it the Happy Hanukkah Health Wonk Review instead, but we wanted to encompass Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, New Year’s, and even the dubious Festivus. Whatever your flavor or inclination, we wish you a merry, happy, joyful one. Pentatonix says it better than we ever could, so a bit of a seasonal interlude before we get to this week’s entries.

The Happy Holiday Health Wonk Review

*** First up, at Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda is never one to shy away from calling it as he sees it and this week his submission takes on the GOP tax bill, which he describes as “a mess, riddled with math errors, contradictory language, and un-implementable directives.” Congressional leaders say they have reached some agreement and will vote before the end of the year, so Joe’s post will give context.

*** Roy Poses proves once again that the devil is in the details and he consistently makes it his blogging business to dig through the details to hold feet to the fire. At Heath Care Renewal, he tracks down more about a barely-reported Pfizer settlement for “alleged” anti-competitive behavior that nearly slipped through the radar. He says that the lack of negative consequences suggests that the impunity of top health care leaders is is worsening. Check out his post One Barely Noticed Settlement by Pfizer Suggests the Futility of Polite Protests about Health Policy.

*** How will the CVS purchase of Aetna affect the healthcare landscape? Jason Shafrin aka The Healthcare Economist weighs in with his informed observations.  And another of our regular wonks weighs in on the merger. David Williams of Health Business Blog posts CVS + Aetna. Are we sure this adds up? Despite talksthat this combo will lead to a revolution in care delivery, he remains a skeptic and talks about why.

*** Acknowledging that the individual market for health insurance has become unaffordable for many of the unsubsidized — particularly older would-be enrollees — Andrew Sprung outlines various ways to keep Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) below the subsidy line. Check out his post Steering clear of the subsidy cliff in the ACA marketplace at xpostfactoid.

***  Vincent Grippi of CareCentrix submitted a fun #CareTalk video podcast, featuring HWR regular David Williams teaming with John Driscoll of CareCentrix. In a point-counterpoint format, they spar about the implications of 2017 elections on healthcare (think Maine), move on to value-based healthcare and they close the 10 minute segment with a lightning round.

*** Brad Flansbaum of The Hospital Leader has an interesting post about Locums vs F/T Hospitalists, posing the question, do temps stack up? He reports on a JAMA study, adding his perspective. Now I must confess that the term “locums” was a new to me, but Brad gives it good context. But if you are curious to the origins, as I was, Wikipedia is your friend.

*** In his post The Positive Side of Sharing, InsureBlog’s Henry Stern has the latest on a reader’s experience with a Health Care Sharing Ministry. (He offers this spoiler alert: it’s actually been pretty good).

*** Shopping for individual health insurance or know someone who is? If your state uses, you have until December 15 to enroll, but in other states, you may be able to enroll as late as January 31. Victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey may also have extensions. Louise Norris has all the details in her  guide to buying individual health insurance at For more, see Timothy Jost’s post on Health Affairs Blog: Open Enrollment Ends Friday—Except For Those Qualifying For Special Enrollment Periods.

*** For our post, we’re delving into our archives for an expose of a mysterious employer. Many have nothing but good to say about him, but others think he is not a good employer. Judge for yourself:

Santa’s workshop: “OSHA problems galore” say whistleblowers
The risks of being Santa
Is Santa Claus a bad employer?


Health Wonk Review on AHCA and other health policy matters

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

The secret Senate Republican gang of 12 finally came out from behind closed doors and Joe Paduda is on the case to help analyze the legislation that will have a profound impact on one-sixth of the nation’s economy. Joe’s posted a Double Edition of Health Wonk Review at Managed Care Matters, which includes a great roundup of health policy issues from our usual wonks, as well as a selection of posts and articles related to yesterday’s repeal & replace for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If you’re trying to make sense out of the AHCA and its potential impact, this post will help. If Republican leaders stick to their aggressive schedule of passing things before the July Fourth holiday, there’s not a lot of time to get up to speed!

A fresh Health Wonk Review for your perusal

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Jason Shafrin, our favorite Healthcare Economist, has posted a fresh collection of health policy punditry, the “I will build a great Health Wonk Review . . . and nobody builds Health Wonk Reviews better than me, believe me”  edition. Want the scoop on AHCA, national drug policy, pharma, bundled payments or other current topics in the policy arena? Check out this post. If you don’t follow the health arena on a daily basis, Heath Wonk Review is a great way to keep up with the important news.

If you are feeling particularly wonky or would like to follow back issues, got to Health Wonk Review’s home page.


Freshly posted Health Wonk Review at InsureBlog

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Start your Friday with your morning beverage of choice and a fresh edition of Heath Wonk Review. Over at InsureBlog, Hank Stern has posted the Health Wonk Review: Pre-Passover edition. In his Twitter promo for this edition, he promises “Everything from horseradish to opioids” – you are probably not going to find too many insurance-related posts quite that eclectic!

In addition to wonks weighing in on RyanCare and the future of the ACA, other topics include opioids, physician burnout, the physician mission, price transparency, “the coding swindle” and more. Check it out!

We bring one post in particular to your attention – a post by HWR regular Brad Wright at his Wright on Health blog. He relates an up-close-and-personal encounter with the health care system, and reflects on his experience in the larger context of healthcare availability and accessibility.  Wonkery is all well and fine, but there is nothing quite like a personal testimonial to make a powerful impact. (Wishing you the best as you recover, Brad!)



Fresh Health Wonk Review posted at Joe’s place

Friday, January 27th, 2017

As we embark on the second week of a new administration, Joe Paduda has posted Health Wonk Review’s Inauguration Edition at Managed Care Matters. Rather unsurprisingly, the Affordable Care Act is much on the minds of the wonks, so there’s quite a few posts dealing with various aspects of repeal and replace.

Related to the topic of this week’s health wonkery, Joe also has a post on his blog about how the demise of the ACA would impact workers comp, specifically. A key quote:

“If ACA is repealed without a simultaneous and credible replacement, we may well see a rise in the number of workers without health insurance. The key issue to track is a cutoff of funding for Medicaid expansion – ACA added about 13 million more employed people to the insured rolls; if they lose coverage they’ll need a different payer to cover their injuries. Bad news for workers’ comp.”

And we’d point you to one other not-to-miss post at Managed Care Matters – Beware of Astroturf, the infuriating story of the American Pain Foundation, an pharma industry sponsored opioid-peddling outfit masquerading as a patient advocacy organization.

Check out a fresh Health Wonk Review at HealthBlawg

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

David Harlow has posted Health Wonk Review Is Bustin’ Out All Over at HealthBlawg. It’s a packed issue – don’t miss out on what all the health wonks are opining about.

This is part of David’s month long Festschrift of the Blogosphere, in celebration of his blog’s 10th Blogiversary. Ten years is an eternity in blog years, so kudos to David for being a consistent health policy voice in the independent blog world – and a smart and influential one at that!

Please join us for a HWR Blab (video conversation / text chat), Health Wonk Review On Air With HealthBlawg Tuesday, 06/7/2016 at 1:00 pm ET for half an hour. You can watch from here or sign in to Twitter account to log in.

Fresh Health Wonk Review posted at Health Business Blog; WCRI recap

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Grab a coffee and head over to David Williams’ Health Business Blog for this week’s dose of health wonkery:  Health Wonk Review: Tales of the Trump. And while there, don’t miss David’s 11th blog birthday roundup of best posts from the prior year.

Tom Lynch is at WCRI conference yesterday and today – you can see some of his recaps here on the blog. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

If you didn’t make it to the conference, no worries. You can follow along with a list of people who are live tweeting the conference.

Other folks blogging the WCRI conference

Freshly posted Health Wonk Review: Healthcare Reform: The Path Forward

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Over at Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise Norris has posted an excellent edition of Health Wonk Review: Healthcare Reform: The Path Forward.

In her post introduction, Louise notes that:

It’s been nearly six years since the ACA was signed into law. And although most aspects of the law have now been implemented, the debate over its merits have not let up. In this election year, healthcare reform continues to be a hot topic, even dividing Democrats in terms of the best path forward.

She notes that many of this week’s contributors focused on what we can do – including small tweaks as well as major changes – to build on what we’ve already got and make it better – thus “the path forward” theme.

We’re 270 days away from the election – which you may view as an eternity or the flick of an eye, depending on your perspective.  As the primaries unfold, we are at a critical juncture. What the path forward will be is up to every one of us in the choices that we make! Look to the Health Wonk crew to keep you informed about healthcare issues and policies.

Health Wonk Review: the heatwave edition

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

fan.jpgGiven the time of the year and the weather, you wouldn’t blame our health wonks if there were all lazing around at the beach, but judging by this week’s submission, they are all braving the heat and hard at work. And it is hot. It’s sizzling outside and on fire in DC as the budget battle heats up and the debt ceiling deadline looms ever closer.
Our wonks are hot too. We kick off this week’s edition with Health Wonk Review founder Joe Paduda jumping into the fray. In who passed Part D and why you should care posted at Managed Care Matters, Joe holds some feet to the fire for the deficit.
And before the budget cutting cuts too close to the bone, DC policy makers might consider posts from two of our wonks: At California Healthline, Dan Diamond reports on the recently released Oregon Health Study on Medicaid which some have called the “Most Important Study in Decades” and asks about its potential effect on health reform/health policy discussion. And in the first of a two-part series posted at The John A. Hartford Foundation blog’s Health AGEnda, Chris Langston posts his concerns that in the current budget-cutting environment, we may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater with the recent focus on Medicare hospice costs.
While we’re dealing with heated issues related to reform, next stop is Health Beat for a post in Maggie Mahar’s series on myths surrounding medical malpractice. She deconstructs 7 “myths” which are used to support caps on malpractice awards and looks at the political underpinnings for the push for malpractice reform. She makes the case for meaningful reform under the Affordable Care Act that will achieve a balance of financial carrots and sticks designed to enhance patient safety.
The devil is in the details
As we move deeper into the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many of our wonks have opinions on its progress. As would be expected on a complex initiative that continues to draw heat, not everyone would characterize the changes as progress.
To start, it can be helpful to look at the way the debate has been framed. Joseph White looks The Mixed (De)Merits Of ‘Bending The Cost Curve’ at Health Affairs Blog, tracing the development of the phrase. He argues the risks of this now ubiquitous metaphor outweigh its benefits – particularly in how it reflects the dominance of the debate by budgetary perspectives, favoring the interests that benefit from high costs now by devaluing approaches that would reduce costs more quickly.
And in another post at Health Affairs Blog, Tim Jost tackles the proposed regulations for Health Insurance Exchanges in the first of a three part-series of posts. Part 1 introduces the regulation and deals with the exchanges themselves; Upcoming posts will analyze the provisions of the regulations addressing qualified health plans (QHPs) and health insurance issuers (part 2) and the reinsurance, risk corridor and reinsurance regulations issued the same day (part 3).
At The Apothecary, Roy Avik offers a play-by-play replete with video clips of a recent congressional hearing on Independent Payment Advisory Boards (IPAB). Avik’s take: “I thought that we had a fairly productive discussion about the ins and outs of Medicare’s problems, and IPAB’s role in addressing them.”
At InsureBlog, Bob Vineyard looks at the numbers for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) and finds them lacking.
Jaan Sidorov of The Disease Management Care Blog suggests that there is one question any hospital board should ask management about participating as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which are risk-bearing arrangements.
The Affordable Care Act contains requirements and deadlines for the implementation of electronic medical records, collectively known as Meaningful Use (MU). At Healthcare Talent Transformation, David Scher breaks down the truths and common fallacies associated with Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records: A Practical Overview.
At John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog, John takes a look at the difference that RomneyCare has made. He says that most conservative critics of Massachusetts health reform have focused on any piece of bad news about the program they can find. The thinking has been that if this is the model for the federal legislation everyone calls “ObamaCare” it’s got to have a lot of defects, right? But he notes that “The real story coming out of Massachusetts is that the whole thing is a yawner.”
Anthony Wright of Health Access Blog says that the real work of health reform is in setting up the Exchanges, and he reports on progress and milestones in the California Health Benefits Exchange.
At Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise Norris tell us that in Colorado, the rules are changing for employer funding of individual health insurance. The Division of Insurance’s stance regarding the use of Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) funds has changed again, with rules appearing to to have has both relaxed and tightened.
Docs and dollars
Many of our wonks have been looking at the issue of how physicians get paid.
At Health Care Renewal, Roy Poses observes that having the former CEO of a health care corporation that paid more than $1 billion to settle fraud charges as Governor of Florida seems to have led to some interesting investigative reporting. In his post Would You Like Fries With That? – The Fast Food Model for the Corporate Physician he cites a story about the health care corporation with which Rick Scott was most recently associated as an example of what happens when the distinction between physicians and hamburger flippers is blurred.
Do physicians make more money when they treat more complex patients? Jason Shafrin, The Healthcare Economist, examines a recent study in Denmark to see whether this has proven true.
At Health Business Blog, David Williams helps us to understand the economics of health care credit cards for elective procedures: Why do doctors offer credit cards? It helps them avoid discounting
Over at the e-CareManagement blog Vince Kuraitis teams up with Jaan Sidorov to discuss the 100 year shift, in which they see the potential for “a tectonic realignment among physicians, hospitals and payers.” In the first of a seven part series, they offer an overview of trends – noting that physicians’ economic interests are increasingly aligning WITH payers and AWAY FROM hospitals. Will this result in doctors and payers eventually sitting on the same side of the negotiating table?
Consumer care
At The New Health Dialogue, director Shannon Brownlee makes the case that less is more when it comes to angiograms, the imaging test that precedes an angioplasty or stent. She discusses a report by Grace Lin and Rita Redberg, cardiologists at the University of California, on three focus groups with groups of cardiologists who talked about three hypothetical patients. If your cardiologist recommends you undergo an angiogram, this paper will likely give you a reason to question that recommendation closely.
At HealthNewsReview Blog, Gary Schwitzer has a pair of posts that raise questions about the proliferation of robotic surgery despite questions about evidence for benefits, harms – and costs. One talks about how Wisconsin hospitals with robots double prostate removals within 3 months and a second on the dearth of studies on the effectiveness of robotic surgery – a case of enthusiasm which has not been matched by comparative studies.
At Pizaazz Glenn Laffel makes the case that EMRs can help reduce racial disparities in health care. He discusses why and how Electronic Medical Records can help narrow the digital divide, and calls attention to some vendors who are offering tools to help providers enhance care for medically underserved communities.
At the Improving Population Health blog, David Kindig talks about environmental issues as a factor in public heath in the post Population Health and the Physical Environment: Beyond Air and Water.
Tinker Ready reports and interesting case study of ADA accessibility adaptations that go well beyond Braille and ramps in her post Universal design: The science of access at the Museum of Science at Nature Network Boston – a refreshing story of progress.
Occupational health
Here at Workers’ Comp Insider, our focus is generally on the occupational health arena, and we recently looked at whether OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is broken. A recent study points out that several program participants have had multiple fatalities – should they retain their status that allows exemption from programmed OSHA inspections?
That concludes this issue of Health Wonk Review. Our next issue – and final issue of the summer season — will be hosted at Joe Paduda’s Managed Care Matters on August 4.