Health Wonk Review: NBA Playoffs Edition

In honor of the on-going NBA playoffs, the week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review will examine the top 16 health policy posts written over the past two weeks. The worthy authors have shown terrific vision and an ability to make slam dunk arguments (groan). The authors’ raw talents and athletic intellectual abilities are so overwhelming, even my own nominee was relegated to the lottery. You may support the arguments of some authors more than others, but at least we can all agree that the playoff-bound authors are smarter than this guy.

Without further ado, here are your playoff-worthy posts:


  1. The Notwithstanding Blog notes that although many wonks see salary-based physician payment as a happy medium between fee-for-service and capitation payment, these salaried physicians still may maintain significant conflicts of interest.
  2. The Incidental Economist wonders whether the Affordable Care Act is just an excuse for income redistribution.
  3. Will a robot soon replace your therapist? The Health Business Blog cites an article from the New England Journal of Medicine which concludes that Robot-Assisted Therapy may offer moderate improvements in care for stroke victims, but certainly saves cost.
  4. Georgians for a Healthy Future analyzes the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to strip not-for-profit Provena Covenant Medical Center of its exemption from property tax, stating that the hospital did not provide enough charity care to justify that exemption.
  5. When are the provisions of health care reform going to kick in? The Digerati Life presents a Health Care Reform timeline.
  6. John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog claims that Obamacare will increase costs and that health care shortages are “plausible and even probable”.
  7. InsureBlog discusses Aetna’s decision to offer (and then withdraw) its 100%” Health Savings Account (HSA) plan. Insureblog claims that a $2500 deductible for these types of HSAs may, in fact, be too low.
  8. Say Ahhh! ponders over whether offering the poor premium assistance to buy their own health insurance is a better option than compelling poor individuals to use government-run Medicaid insurance.


  1. At Health Beat, Maggie Mahar discusses two related and very interesting points: Is the “fear of cancer can cause even more suffering than cancer itself?and is there an “epidemic of diagnosis” due to excessive cancer screening?
  2. The Health Affairs Blog has a way to add some teeth to the health reform mandate: tying your credit score to whether or not you have health insurance.
  3. If a football player suffers dementia, can it be deemed a work-related injury? Jon Coppelman at Workers Comp Insider looks at a case in California that tests the limits of compensability.
  4. Will the FDA begin regulating medical software? The Health Blawg says the answer may be yes as the FDA has asserted the right to “regulate software as a device, not only in the context of radiology, but also in the context of electronic health records.”
  5. HealthCare Renewal says that fining large health care companies for criminal activities will not change the firms’ behavior. An idea to convince health care executives to follow the rules is to allow for the prosecution of these corporate leaders.
  6. According to the Disease Management Care Blog, the smartphone—not the screen and keyboard—may turn out to be the central hub electronic medical records and digital health care.
  7. One candidate’s has proposed to start paying for medical care with chickens, but Health Access WeBlog writes that these comments underlie a serious debate that must not be overlooked.
  8. For the inside scoop, the Colorado Health Insurance Insider says that health insurance should be regulated. “The idea that health insurance should be strictly a free market, unregulated product is popular among people who are healthy and…among people who have great health insurance provided by an employer.


These posts were of high quality but not sufficiently so to make it to the playoffs:


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  3. Interesting set of posts…

    The concept of linking credit score to having purchased coverage doesn’t seem all that effective a concept either because it won’t stop people from dropping coverage after being approved for the credit they are seeking. The federal government really needs to ensure the pool of insured is large enough by treating the purchase of health insurance as a tax in the sense that enforcement will chase those who do not purchase it.

    Without the large pool of policy holders, the federal government has much less leverage to prevent large increases in insurance costs among health insurers.

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