Health News Review

Here are some links to some things I’ve meant to write about this week.  They caught my eye and I thought readers of this blog might find them interesting.

For The Washington Post, Sarah Kliff writes about something that “could revolutionize health care…a health policy wonk’s dream.”  She explains:

“a new nonprofit called the Health Care Cost Institute will roll out a database of 5 billion health insurance claims (all stripped of the individual health plan’s identity, to address privacy concerns).

Researchers will be able to access that data, largely using it to probe a critical question: What makes health care so expensive?”

At Kaiser Health News, Julie Appleby writes that the Institute’s report found that “higher prices charged by hospitals, outpatient centers and other providers drove up health care spending at double the rate of inflation during the economic downturn– even as patients consumed less medical care overall.”

The Star Tribune reports on early results from “the health care home” experiment in Minnesota, “Team care slicing medical costs.”

And there are many links to health policy news items in this week’s Health Wonk Review, hosted by Jaan Sidorov at the Disease Management Care Blog.



Carol Countryman posted on May 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Having suffered a compound femur fracture a few years ago, along with a compression fracture in my back a few years before that, I read with sinking feelings the new studies that link calcium supplements to heart attacks. But then I stopped myself and thought, “I’ll wait to see what the Health News Review says about it.” Am looking forward to what you and the other experts say, and I thank you for presenting medical news in a quiet, understandable, unbiased way. I’m just a consumer, albeit a rather experienced one, and your newsletter is so welcome.

Aggie posted on May 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Health insurance and care are expensive because we already have a socialized system to a certain extent. Politicians have been lobbied by various groups to force insurance companies to cover so many tests, procedures, and treatment modalities that we are all paying for what others want or need, regardless of what we desire. So, the fact that I will never darken the door of a chiropractor’s office doesn’t matter, because my insurance premiums also cover the bills for those who do.

Whenever government is involved in anything, costs soar and quality and access decline. What we need is a direct relationship between provider and patient. Health insurance should be true insurance like what we have for vehicles and houses. It should cover the truly expenisve treatments and procedures, not every day expenses. A free market will work in health care just as it does in other areas of commerce. Provisions would be made for the indigent, although if doctors were freed from the headaches and extra costs associated with dealing with government programs, many would have the time and inclination to help the poor without charge.