Archive for February, 2017


Comparing “Repeal and Replace” Proposals

How can you keep score while Congress considers multiple proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act?

The Kaiser Family Foundation has just created a new tool that enables users to compare and contrast all of the current repeal and replace proposals:  you pick the proposals you want to compare and you select the aspects of those proposals that interest you.

Find this new interactive tool here, on the web site of the Kaiser Family Foundation.…

Changing Medicaid

With policy-makers in Washington considering some changes, and possibly major changes, in the state/federal Medicaid partnership, the Health Affairs Blog has taken a look at some of the options those policy-makers might consider.

Among them are:

  • giving states greater flexibility in the design and implementation of their own Medicaid programs
  • requiring cost-sharing by some or all beneficiaries, such as through premiums and co-payments
  • limiting benefits
  • employing incentives to encourage healthy behaviors

The article also considers the manner in which individuals enroll in Medicaid and how that has evolved over the years.

Learn more about some of the options Congress will have as it looks at possible Medicaid reform in the Health Affairs Blog article “The Future Of Medicaid: When Improving Upon The Wheel, Start With Something Round,” which can be found here.…

New Study Finds Bundled Payments Reduces Costs, Improves Care

A new study has concluded that the bundled payments programs being tested by Medicare reduce health care costs while improving the quality of care.

The study covered Medicare Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) results for the past four years and includes the Medicare hip and knee replacement bundled care program.

And contrary to another recent study, this report did not find any increase in the volume of procedures during the study period.

To learn more about the study’s methodology and findings, go here to read “Debunking the Argument that the Bundled Payment for Care Improvement Program (BPCI) Contributed to Higher Procedure Volumes.”…

Group Seeks Preservation, Reform of Federal Innovation Efforts

A coalition of 35 patient, physician, and hospital groups has written to new Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and asked him to continue the federal government’s exploration of new ways to deliver and pay for Medicare services but to seek certain improvements in how those efforts are undertaken.

The coalition Healthcare Leaders for Accountable Innovation in Medicare asked Secretary Price for a reformed Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation so that it operates with

… appropriately-scaled, time-limited demonstration projects, greater transparency, improved data-sharing, and broader collaboration with the private sector.

The coalition also called for CMMI to operate under six guiding principles:

  • foster strong, scientifically valid testing prior to expansion
  • respect Congress’s role in making health policy changes
  • consistently provide transparency and meaningful stakeholder engagement
  • improve data sharing from CMMI testing
  • strengthen beneficiary safeguards
  • collaborate with the private sector

Read the coalition’s entire letter, including a list of the group’s members, here on the web site of the Healthcare Leadership Council.…

Medicaid Directors Look at Value-Based Purchasing

One of the tools many states are using to attempt to reduce their Medicaid costs and improve the quality of the care delivered to their Medicaid beneficiaries is value-based purchasing.

In a new issue brief, the National Association of Medicaid Directors takes a closer look at Medicaid value-based purchasing:  what it is, how it works, why it is attractive to state Medicaid programs, what alternative payment models the states are employing as part of their value-based purchasing efforts, and what state Medicaid programs need from the federal government to continue such efforts.

For a closer look at Medicaid value-based purchasing, go here to read the National Association of Medicaid Directors’ issue brief “Medicaid Value-based Purchasing:  What Is It & Why Does It Matter?”…