Safeway Inc. has received a great deal attention around its health care plan and apparent cost savings. The essence of the plan is putting employees and their dependents directly at financial risk for improvements in certain key health-related behaviors.
The Wall Street Journal article summarized some research results regarding the potential cost savings of prevention and wellness efforts, particularly for persons with chronic diseases. The overall conclusion is that not much money is likely to be saved by such methods, primarily because the cost of these programs when applied to a large population tends to outweigh the health care cost savings which eventually accrue.
One of the controversial provisions in some health care reform proposals has been creation of a public plan, often analogized to Medicare, which would be an option offered alongside private insurance plans.
A pair of recent announcements by the American Medical Association pique one’s curiousity.
Illumina has announced that for $48,000 a consumer can have their entire DNA sequenced
Several prominent health industry segments have issued a follow-up statement identifying more specifically where they believe health care cost savings can be achieved.
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.
A not-for-profit group that has been a vigorous proponent of health care reform has released a report, Hidden Health Tax, on the costs of the uninsured and who ultimately bears that cost.
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.
An interesting news report on Kaiser Health News gives an indication of why health reform that affects costs will be very difficult. The story details the fight in one New Jersey town over building a new hospital.