Eye of Newt

Ever wonder what Newt Gingrich is up to?  You may be surprised to learn that he’s working to change healthcare in the U.S.  Mr. Gingrich has founded the Center for Health Transformation.  On the Consumer Health World Blog, Gingrich proposes dividing Medicaid into 3 different programs. Capabilities Program – This program would help both Americans…

Medicare Fraud: $630 million

Why is publicly provided health care so expensive?  One reason is the the fraud which is bound to occur.  The New York Times reports (“Hospital Grew…“) that New Jersey’s largest health care provider–St. Barnabas Health Care System–bilked $630 million from the federal government between 1995 to 2003.  Medicare pays extra cash to hospitals for the…

PPS and Competition

Prospective Payment Systems (PPS) and competition go hand in hand.  Without competition, a PPS gives hospitals and physicians the incentive to minimize health care outlays.  A competitive fee-for-service (FFS) system-to which most Americans were accustomed to in the 1980s-can lead to severe cost increases due to the problem of moral hazard.  Combining PPS and competition…

Medicare’s (true) Administrative Costs

A common justification for Medicare is that the public health insurance system has an overhead cost which is about 2% of claims, while the private sector has administrative costs between 20%-25% of claims.  This tells us that Medicare is the best system for America…right? Merrill Mathew’s of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAFI) summarizes…

Medicaid and IT

The National Governors Association (“Florida Invests $308 Million in New Medicaid Computer System“) reports that Electronic Data Systems (EDS) has won a contract to “develop a new Medicaid computer system beginning March 1, 2008” for the state of Florida. The system is supposed to help participants navigate Florida’s Medicaid system, file claims, and report fraud.…

Reshaping Medicaid

Medicaid currently covers 55 million poor and disabled Americans; these 55 million individuals have much change to look forward to.  In February of this year, the President signed the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA)of 2005.  According the Kaiser Family Foundation, the act will reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $39 billion between 2006 and 2010, while giving states…

‘Price Check, Neurology Wing’

“People generally don’t have a clue about what the health care they are consuming costs,” Michael O. Leavitt, the Secretary of Health and Human Services told reporters in a WebMD article (“Gov’t releases hospital prices“).  With a new initiative in hand, Mr. Leavitt hopes that consumer ignorance will soon dissipate. Yesterday, officials at the Centers…

SCHIP expansion in Minnesota and New York

Under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the Federal government established the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was aimed at reducing the number of uninsured children in the United States. States were given a variety of options of how to implement this program. Nineteen states decided to operate the SCHIP program as an…