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Pulling It Together: Keeping the Health Reform Coalition Together

We could be headed for a new schism in the debate about health reform. Not the familiar gulf between advocates of the market and government, or the predictable one between deficit hawks and spenders, but a new one that crosses traditional partisan and ideological lines between advocates of long-term reform of the health care delivery…

Pulling It Together: A Public Opinion Surprise

Medicaid is the nation’s primary health insurance program for low-income people and people with disabilities, covering more than 60 million people this year.  And it’s about to get a lot of attention: it’s likely to be a prime target for spending reductions by “deficit hawks” in debate over the budget;…

Pulling It Together: Medicare, Medicaid, and The Multiplier Effect

We are witnessing a battle in Washington right now about the future of health care’s two big public programs, Medicare and Medicaid. It’s a budget battle, it’s an ideological battle, it’s a partisan political battle, and while it might not always be obvious following the debate, it’s a high stakes…

Pulling It Together: Predictions

I usually don’t make predictions, unless they are backed up by the kind of statistical modeling we often produce.  But here are three predictions I am confident about that form the basis of this latest column. GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS WILL CONTINUE TO RISE AT HISTORICALLY MODERATE LEVELS, AT LEAST…

Pulling it Together: An Actuarial Rorschach Test

Drew Altman, Larry Levitt, Gary Claxton My colleagues have worked on this column with me and I invited them to join me as authors. As with pretty much every other discussion of health care going back to the days of Roosevelt, the great reform debate of 2009 (and now 2010)…

The Flip Side of Higher Premiums: Better Coverage

Time Magazine’s recent cover story on health care – “Bitter Pill” by Steven Brill – has focused attention on hospital prices, especially for people paying out of their own pockets. This is not a new issue, but certainly one that deserves attention. However, what has been lost in the ensuing…

Insurance Brokers and the Medical Loss Ratio

In a close vote, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently adopted a resolution urging Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exempt insurance broker and agent compensation from medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements or otherwise adjust the requirements to ease their effect. HHS last…

May Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Views of Health Reform Law Remain Unchanged

This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll reveals little change in public opinion about the health reform law. Americans remain divided overall, with 42 percent having a favorable opinion of the law and 44 percent viewing it unfavorably. Three in ten continue to want to see the law expanded, while roughly…

The Economy and Medical Care

Various market watchers have reported that the use of health care services has not been growing recently as it had in the past, resulting in lower than expected health care claims for people with private insurance and higher than expected earnings for insurers. A look at physician office visits by…

Health Affairs Issue Focuses on Health Reform

The June 2010 issue of the journal Health Affairs is dedicated to health reform, and “begins to tackle the hundreds of implementation issues inherent in health reform and offers prescriptions for averting trouble,” according to Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer. The issue features an article by Kaiser researchers examining past and present…

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