Health Wonk Review

Is Massachusetts’ Universal Coverage plan working? Is it better to compensate physicians on a fee-for-service or capitation basis? What happened to the £72 million the UK intended to use to fund the NHS University and what is the history of capitation payments? Expert answers to all these questions and more are just a few clicks away in this edition of the Health Wonk Review. Let’s begin…


In the Health Affairs blog, Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt takes A closer look at HSAs. Reinhardt writes that HSAs coupled with high-deductible insurance plans amount to “rationing by income class.â€?

Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters comes out in favor of United Healthcare’s decision to penalize contracted docs who don’t refer to UHC’s lab partner, LabCorp in his post Hooray for United Healthcare. His point? Physicians should be thinking about costs when they order tests.

Henry Stern, LUTCF of InsureBlog presents Sauce for Goose, Gander and Other… The article investigates how insurance companies treat domestic partnerships—both homosexual and heterosexual.

While health plans and physicians have traditionally had adversarial relationships, according to Vince Kuratis, it’s time to lay down arms. In his post Doctors and Health Plans: Can Care Management Opportunities Reconcile the Hatfields and the McCoys?, Kruatis’s e-Care Management blog states that Health plans need to rethink financial management practices that damage opportunities for collaboration.


In Two kinds of value: Revolution Health, what people want and what people need David Harlow of HealthBlawg is skeptical that social networking websites, such as Revolution Health, will create much health care information improvement.

Rita Schwab of MSSPNexus Blog presents a post about HCQIA Immunity for an Iowa Hospital posted.

GrrlScientist authors Insect Cells Can Grow Influenza Vaccine at Living the Scientific Life, saying, “One of the biggest challenges to producing flu vaccine lies in the fact that so far, scientists have had to grow it in hens’ eggs.”


The bloggers from the Cato-at-Liberty have contributed a number of articles to this edition of the health Wonk Review. Sigrid Fry-Revere speaks about the possibility of federal stem cell funding, Michael F. Cannon wonders whether expanding health insurance will affect health and David Boaz presents Romney Embarrassed about His Health Plan?

Leif Wellington Haase of The Century Foundation sees the Massachusetts Universal Coverage Plan as a success story.

On the other hand, Robert Laszewski of Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review claims that “the only place there are more victories being declared than in Iraq these days is in Massachusetts.â€? This is due to the fact that new rules were established to exempt an estimated 20% of the uninsured from a state legal requirement to purchase health insurance.

At The Health Care Blog Mathew Holt is concerned that the arguments over US vs. European health care systems are stuck on the wrong issue. He asks Insurance–Huh! What is it good for? Holt’s comments on single payer systems continue on the TPM Cafe Book Club with his post Social insurance is the key–but it can handle competition, just not the type you’re used to!

In Increased Demand = Better Health, Louise Norris of Colorado Health Insurance Insider believes increasing the ranks of the insureds will lead to overall better health and a lower long term burden on the healthcare system.

What happened to the £72 million the UK’s NHS spent to fund the NHS University? The Informaticopia blog from Rod Ward quotes a government report stating that “the Department of Health is exposed to significant embarrassment if the value for money delivered by the NHSU were to be probed.â€?

David Williams of the Health Business Blog believes that we should regulate the prices of biotech drugs once their patents expire.


Among other news items, Julie Ferguson of Workers Comp Insider reminds us that Worker Memorial Day will be observed on April 28. This is a day of commemoration and mourning for workers who suffered on-the-job fatalities.


There is a supremely interesting post from Richard Eskow of The Sentinel Effect which gives A Brief History of Capitation, From Medieval Days to 21st Century Reform.

In Medical Schools to Faculty: “Show Me the Money,” Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal blog notes how the main criterion for judging faculty is their production of “external” money, that is, money from clinical practice or external research grants.

What’s Happening? blog investigates a Health System Run Down By Doctors. The post claims that “The surgeons are using the public health system as a feeder into their private practice.â€?

Jason Shafrin (that’s me) of reveals his latest working paper “Operating on Commission.â€? The research examines how financial incentives affect the level of specialist service provision by comparing surgery rates between specialists compensated on a fee-for-service and capitation/salaried basis.