A commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine reminds us that health care has been a major contributor to the federal deficit and consequently the national debt and that it is likely to continue to add to our financial woes, notwithstanding the recent health act.
States that supposedly led the way on health care reform are finding out it was the bleeding edge that they were on. Insurers are always the easy target, but bashing them won’t solve the underlying cost problem. If the federal bill actually is implemented, the experience of these states will likely be replicated nationally.
A survey examines the bases for patients’ preferences for a site of care, in particular what factors would lead them to chose a retail clinic versus a regular physician office when they have a relatively minor health need.
Two recent pieces of research shed further light on what commonly happens with individuals’ health status near the end of their lives and on the extent to which people are considering what kind of care they want to receive if they reach medical crisis and whether a patient’s preferences are being respected.
For some years researchers have examined the link, if any, between the volume of a certain type of procedure or service at a hospital and outcomes. A new study published in NEJM extends that research, finding that at a certain level volume is associated with lower mortality.
A variety of benefits from expanded use of electronic medical or health records have been advanced by advocates. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine explores whether such electronic records can help limit the number of diagnostic mistakes by physicians and other health professionals.
What is the link, if any, between socio-economic status, health behaviors and health status? Researchers have theorized and pondered whether there is correlation or causation and in which direction. A new study from England provides some additional thoughts on the topic.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s final report on what is driving health care cost increases in Massachusetts confirms the preliminary version’s finding that most of the spending rise is due to nothing more than application of raw provider market power to extract high prices from private payers. Another report also examines hospitals’ pricing practices.
Health Affairs publishes a study with a creative approach to understanding hospital costs, hospital pricing, Medicare payments and market power. The authors’ conclusion is that profitable hospitals have higher expenses because they have more money to spend, and those higher expenses may make them look unprofitable in regard to Medicare payments.
To the delight of some and the dismay of many, the health “reform” bill has passed and been signed. Very few Americans, or Congresspeople, understand what is in the bill and they are going to be very unpleasantly surprised by the taxes, the continued rapid growth in both health costs and insurance premiums and the severe negative consequences for our national finances.