Obamacare’s Accountable Care Organizations Are Too Closed And Inefficient

May 30, 2014

Owing to their complex nature it is very hard for ACOs to be financially and clinically successful. In part this is because the program is largely closed off from the types of innovation and work flows that could hardwire ACOs to bud, evolve and improve. Rather than introducing a good model and letting industry iterate around it in a hundred different ways, the government too tightly defined exactly how an ACO must form and operate.For example, as they stand now, rules require that ACOs be at least 75% provider-controlled, so physicians must do the heavy lifting when starting one. The reality is that, once formed, an ACO requires extensive management, technical resources and granular insight into, and analysis of, patient data. Many of these requirements are beyond the realm or interest of your average physician. That’s made some independent physicians flee to hospitals and large health systems for employment, an avenue they see as their only way into shared savings models. This rampant physician employment trend is not only reducing patient choice in health care, it is also driving up cost–the very opposite of the intended effect of ACOs.

via Obamacare’s Accountable Care Organizations Are Too Closed And Inefficient.

The Political Roots of Health Insurance Benefit Mandates | Mercatus

May 29, 2014

The Political Roots of Health Insurance Benefit MandatesDouglas Webber, James Bailey | May 28, 2014

As of 2011, the average US state had 37 health insurance benefit mandates, laws requiring health insurance plans to cover a specific treatment, condition, provider, or person. This number is a massive increase from less than one mandate per state in 1965, and the topic takes on a new significance now, when the federal government is considering many new mandates as part of the “essential health benefits” required by the Affordable Care Act. A large body of literature has attempted to evaluate the effect of mandates on health, health insurance, and the labor market.

However, previous papers did not consider the political processes behind the passage of mandates. In fact, when they estimate the laws’ effect, almost all papers on the subject assume that mandates are passed at random. We use fixed effects estimation to determine why some states pass more mandates than others. We find that the political strength of health care providers is the strongest determinant of mandates. Our paper opens the way to estimating the causal effect of mandates on health insurance and the labor market using an instrumental variables strategy that incorporates political information about why mandates get passed.


via The Political Roots of Health Insurance Benefit Mandates | Mercatus.

The effect of Medicaid premiums on enrollment: A regression discontinuity approach

May 28, 2014

This paper estimates the effect that premiums in Medicaid have on the length of enrollment of program beneficiaries. Whether and how low income-families will participate in the exchanges and in states’ Medicaid programs depends crucially on the structure and amounts of the premiums they will face. I take advantage of discontinuities in the structure of Wisconsin’s Medicaid program to identify the effects of premiums on enrollment for low-income families. I use a 3-year administrative panel of enrollment data to estimate these effects. I find an increase in the premium from 0 to 10 dollars per month results in 1.4 fewer months enrolled and reduces the probability of remaining enrolled for a full year by 12 percentage points, but other discrete changes in premium amounts do not affect enrollment or have a much smaller effect. I find no evidence of program enrollees intentionally decreasing labor supply in order to avoid the premiums.

via The effect of Medicaid premiums on enrollment: A regression discontinuity approach.

David Hyman on PPACA Implementation | Cato @ Liberty

May 28, 2014

David A. Hyman is the H. Ross & Helen Workman Chair in Law and director of the Epstein Program in Health Law and Policy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as well as an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. Earlier this month, Hyman gave the following erudite presentation on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – which he calls PPACA, not “ObamaCare” or “the Affordable Care Act” – at a faculty seminar hosted by the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

via David Hyman on PPACA Implementation | Cato @ Liberty.

When It Comes to Cost and Quality of Hospital Care, Nurse Tenure and Teamwork Count – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

May 28, 2014

Researchers found that a one-year increase in the average tenure of registered nurses RNs on a hospital unit was associated with a 1.3 percent decrease in the average length of stay.The study also found that patients’ length of stay was longer when a member of a team of experienced RNs was missing or a new member was added to the team. Stone, one of the principal investigators, notes that “when the same team of nurses works together over the years, the nurses develop a rhythm and routine that lead to more efficient care.”

via When It Comes to Cost and Quality of Hospital Care, Nurse Tenure and Teamwork Count – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

PELOSI: How to “fix” Obamacare? SINGLE-PAYER – YouTube

May 27, 2014

PELOSI: How to “fix” Obamacare? SINGLE-PAYER

via PELOSI: How to "fix" Obamacare? SINGLE-PAYER – YouTube.

The Real Problem With Medical Education Isn’t The Residency Matching System

May 27, 2014

Much attention has been recently devoted to changing the first two years, but equal attention must be given to improving the experience during the third and fourth years. Clinical rotations teach medical students to integrate their knowledge and adapt it to the unique circumstances and needs of individual patients. It is this ability that separates physicians from other medical professionals, and as such the cultivation of this ability should be the foremost goal of medical education. Just like medicine itself, changing conditions in the world of medical education lead to the emergence of unanticipated new problems over time, which can only be addressed if we are willing to adapt our practices as we begin to understand the origins of these problems.

via The Real Problem With Medical Education Isn't The Residency Matching System.

Michael Medved: Reconsidering the 2016 Voter Calculus – WSJ.com

May 27, 2014

On Wednesday last week at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Sen. Jay Rockefeller suggested that doubts about the Affordable Care Act stemmed from hostility to President Obama “maybe because he’s of the wrong color.” The West Virginia Democratic was recycling a standard line of his party and their allies in the commentariat—a focus on racism, and not on failed policies and performance, as explanation for Mr. Obama’s unimpressive approval ratings. In the campaign summer of 2012, another challenging moment for the president, Chris Matthews enthused that Mr. Obama represented “the perfect American” and could only conclude that Republicans opposed him because “there’s an ethnic piece to this.”

This focus reflects an absurdly inaccurate reading of public opinion that could prove disastrous to Democrats in 2016 and beyond: it’s actually disproportionate minority support, not disproportionate white opposition, that most significantly characterizes Barack Obama’s political career. For those who blame white racism for disillusionment with Barack Obama, exit polls reveal an inconvenient truth: No Democratic nominee since the Ford-Carter election of 1976 got a higher percentage of white voters than did Mr. Obama in 2008.

via Michael Medved: Reconsidering the 2016 Voter Calculus – WSJ.com.

Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer: The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%’ – WSJ.com

May 27, 2014

the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

via Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer: The Myth of the Climate Change '97%' – WSJ.com.

New Costs From Health Law Snarl Union Contract Talks – WSJ.com

May 27, 2014

Disputes between unions and employers over paying for new costs associated with the Affordable Care Act are roiling labor talks nationwide.

Unions and employers are tussling over who will pick up the tab for new mandates, such as coverage for dependent children to age 26, as well as future costs, such as a tax on premium health plans starting in 2018. The question is poised to become a significant point of tension as tens of thousands of labor contracts covering millions of workers expire in the next several years, with ACA-related cost increases ranging from 5% to 12.5% in current talks.

via New Costs From Health Law Snarl Union Contract Talks – WSJ.com.