We asked our policy experts to share their picks for 2014’s must-read—or, in some cases, must-see—articles, reports, videos, and more. Today, Caitlin Morris of our Health System Transformation team kicks off the series. See more best of” lists from our teams working on marketplace health insurance and enrollment.
In large part, 2014 was about demonstrating that a commitment to transparency and good medical evidence can improve health care. Part of that involves acknowledging our own shortcomings as we seek to transform the health care system.
For today’s health care consumers, the lack of side-by-side information on the price and quality of health care services can be exasperating. Without this information, making an informed decision about which provider to choose for a particular service—such as a surgery, screening, or care for an illness—can be nearly impossible. Providing this information up front is an important step toward the goal of creating a health care system that provides higher-quality health care while controlling costs.
Today, we’re kicking off an occasional series of posts about the State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative. Over the coming months, we’ll use the SIM Initiative to explore how states are engaging in innovative reforms geared at improving the quality and delivery of care and reducing costs.
In this first post, we’ll provide a brief backgrounder on the initiative. In future posts we’ll delve into what’s happening on the ground, talk to health care stakeholders about how SIM is playing out in their states, highlight best practices, and flag key issues for advocates.
In this first installment of our “Two Takes” column occasional series, two of our experts who come from different perspectives—Caitlin Morris, who focuses on health system improvement, and Claire McAndrew, who focuses on private insurance reform and consumer protections—take on the tough questions surrounding this issue. How can we stop the unsustainable growth in health care costs if we allow consumers to continue receiving care from providers who don’t deliver good value? And on the other hand, how can we ensure that consumers can obtain adequate, timely, geographically accessible care if we further restrict their networks?
There is a growing childhood epidemic in this country: Tooth decay is now the most common chronic illness among children. The effects of this epidemic are wide-ranging. Children lose 51 million school hours each year due to dental-related illness. And a study in southern California found that untreated dental disease may also interfere with children’s ability to learn: The study found that children with reported tooth pain were four times more likely than their peers to have lower than average grades.
A recent, high-profile hospital acquisition in Massachusetts has sparked new debate about the continued trend toward consolidation among U.S. hospitals. Boston-based Partners HealthCare, already the largest health provider system in the state, made a bid earlier this year to acquire South Shore Hospital and its affiliated physician groups. An analysis of the proposed acquisition by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission found that the merger could result in reduced market competition in the affected areas, leading to an increase in hospital charges of an estimated $23-26 million.
Consumers, employers, and policymakers all need greater transparency in health care pricing. Learn what federal and state policymakers can do to improve access to health care price information.
Early last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced a new initiative designed to support state efforts to improve the health of Medicaid beneficiaries and the care they receive.
As part of the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP), the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) will develop new resources for and provide technical assistance to states engaged in efforts to reform their Medicaid programs. The IAP seeks to achieve the triple aim of better care, better health outcomes, and lower costs.
New Survey Finds That Most Consumers Oppose Penalties in Employee Health Insurance Wellness Programs
Earlier today, the Kaiser Family Foundation released findings from a new survey on consumer sentiment around the role of employee wellness programs. The poll found that, while 76 percent of the public supports employers offering wellness programs that promote healthy behaviors, the majority of consumers (75 percent) are opposed to employers charging higher premiums if workers don’t meet the health goals of their workplace wellness program.