The work of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is always worth reading carefully. (Medpac website) It is one of the government groups that seems to do its job with a high degree of professionalism. MEDPAC’s reports contain useful data and it often provide unvarnished analysis and insight into America’s health care cost issues.
The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, in conjunction with a number of physician specialty organizations, have each released statements regarding proposals to help control health care costs by changing, even reducing payments to providers.
Several of the country’s largest health plans have recently issued reports or statements relating to health care reform. While the source needs to be considered in reading any discussion of health reform, these plans do have a significant body of experience regarding coverage, cost and quality issues and they retain formidable lobbying weight.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (“AHRQ”) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project released a report in April 2009 outlining hospitalizations that might have been preventable had the patients been receiving appropriate ambulatory care.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has been at the forefront of efforts to re-emphasize the role of primary care physicians in the health system; and has participated in development of the patient-centered medical home as a method for revitalizing primary care.
A recent story in the Boston Globe raises intriguing questions about the effect of health coverage expansions on physician visits and other services and consequently, costs.
In informal responses to inquiries about the use of health risk assessments and wellness incentives, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has indicated that it will use the Americans with Disabilities Act and its general powers to limit the ability of employers to enact programs designed to improve the health of employee populations and control health care costs.
The Los Angeles Times ran an article on May 17, 2009, regarding Cesarean births. Birth services are a microcosm of the problems in the broader health system.