Health Wonk Review

This week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review is overflowing with useful information. Can there be too much of a good thing, you ask? Well for those of you who don’t have the time to read every article in this week’s HWR edition, I’ve narrowed the posts into a few, easy-to-use categories.

  • Politics: S-CHIP, the Candidates and Conservative Health Scientists
  • From Aspen to San Francisco to México
  • Health Insurance and WTC Safety
  • Microsoft’s Health Vault
  • Money’s Influence on Physicians: Comments on physician profit motive, the NIH, and managed care.
  • Health care Effectiveness: Preventive Care, Midwives and Comparing American and European Health
  • Who are you?



Is P4P is really just a CMS (Medicare/Medicaid) scheme to save money, wrapped in the flag of quality? 79% of physicians believe so. This and other interesting commentary on P4P can be found at Wachter’s World blog by Bob Wachter.

The gold standard for Health Economics is the RAND experiment. But what if the conclusions from RAND were wrong? This is the question posed by John McDonough of A Healthy Blog. McDonough reviews an October 2007 article by John Nyman, stating that differential attrition rates between those assigned to the free plan and those assigned to the cost-sharing plan may be a cause for concern.

Politics: SCHIP, the Candidates and Conservative Health Scientists

Jon Swift: SCHIP will “turn more of our kids into little welfare princes and princesses.â€?

Michael Cannon of the Cato@Liberty Blog on SCHIP: “Expansion of access to care through insurance coverage, which is the focus of national health care policy related to children, will not, by itself, eliminate the deficits in the quality of care.â€?

Rob Cunningham of Health Affairs: while “children, on average, receive recommended treatment in only 46.5 percent of their ambulatory care encounters,â€?… “the current SCHIP reauthorization process offers the opportunity to make amends on this frontâ€?

Lisa Emrich at Brass and Ivory gives her thoughts on government (taxpayer-funded) programs from a patient’s perspective.

Jimmy Atkinson of NOEDb reviews how the 2008 presidential candidates propose to reform the health care system.

Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters says the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health08 site compares all the Presidential candidates’ health care platform planks.

Robert Laszewski of Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review takes an in depth look at Hilary Clinton’s health plan proposal.

Health Access California looks at the Govern-ator’s latest revisions to his health proposal.

Although academics tend to be more liberal than the population in general, Greg Laden at the Evolution blog says that “Health Scientistsâ€? preferred Bush to Kerry in 2004.

From Aspen to San Francisco to México
Alvaro Fernandez presents 10 Highlights from the 2007 Aspen Health Forum posted at Brain Fitness Blog.

The Health 2.0 conference recently took place in San Francisco. Brian Keppler of The Health Care Blog gives his take on Health 2.0, a concept of Web-based platforms that allow users to reformulate data for their own purposes.

Need cheap medical care? In San Diego, many residents go to Tijuana for lower priced pharmaceuticals and physicians visits. David Williams of the Health Business Blog recently released a white paper analyzing the future of medical tourism in the U.S.

Health Insurance and the WTC Saftey

Bill Halper of InsureBlog may be developing a split personality. One the one hand, he sympathizes with the difficultly people have trying to purchase health insurance after a serious medical problem arose. On the other hand, “a substantial percentage…had made a conscience (and retrospectively stupid) decision to gamble [by not purchasing some insurance] and they lost that bet.â€?

It seems that there is an “appalling lack of any attention to safety in the mammoth WTC cleanup,â€? according to Julie Ferguson at Worker’s Comp Insider

Microsoft’s Health Vault

David Harlow of the Health Care Law Blog is skeptical of Microsoft’s HealthVault. It may just be “a band-aid for a problem that needs a more fundamental solution.â€?

Vince Kuraitis of e-CareManagement blog gives us “Four Misconceptions” about Microsoft’s Health Vault.

Money’s Influence on Physicians: Comments on physician profit motive, the NIH, and managed care.

Zagreus Ammon of the Physician Executive believes “The profit motive in medicine, while causing significant unanticipated problems (costs, insurance etc.), has been able to deliver some significant improvements in survival, lifespan and quality of life.â€? In particular, he examines declining cancer death rates.

In “The rise and fall of the NIH,â€? ScienceZoo believes that the NIH’s decision to increase funding for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at the expense of basic research will decrease the number of revolutionary discoveries made in the U.S.

Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal explains why physicians have not been able to resist threats to their core values from ever more dominant health care organizations.

Health care Effectiveness: Preventive Care, Midwives and Comparing American and European Health

Daniel Goldberg of the Medical Humanities Blog laments that “tiny percentages of both care and research dollars going to preventive medicine and public health even while there is little dispute that such measures are far more likely to have a significant impact on population health than what we allocate the lion’s share of resources to (acute care and development of new technologies and biologics)â€?

My own post on Healthcare Economist examines whether or not Midwives provide higher quality care during pregnancy than physicians.

Ian Welsh of The Agonist analyzes why older Europeans are healthier than older Americans.

Who are you?

Author “Dr. J. C.â€? of Brain Blogger blog anonymously for fears of malpractice lawsuits and to protect his patients confidentiality.