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Massachusetts: A Foreshadow For Healthcare Reform?

Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, suggests we watch Massachusetts for what might be coming with healthcare reform:

Things are playing out just as one might predict in the Massachusetts small business and individual insurance market. The Insurance Commissioner turned down proposed rate increases, the state’s insurers appealed to the courts, and now they can’t write policies.

Perhaps more concerning is what Dennis Byron, a commenter on Mr. Levy’s blog, says about insurance exchanges:

I care because I am one of those who has been cancelled by my insurer (Fallon), solely, I believe, because I am an individual, have been told to go to the exchange, but the exchange does not work. This is a perfect example of why you don’t want the guys that run the registry running your healthcare.

If nothing else, this exposes the risks inherent to mandating unproven policy initiatives on a national scale that have yet to be even worked out in a single state.

*Sigh*

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Healthcare Reform: What We Should Learn From Massachusetts And Indiana

Obamacare is fashioned after the Massachusetts healthcare reform plan. It leaves the administrative services in the hands of the healthcare insurance industry.

Indiana empowers consumers to control their healthcare dollars.

Therein lies the difference between ineffective and effective healthcare reform.

President Obama has even given the State of Massachusetts $8 billion dollars in bailout money to support the failed healthcare reform plan. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Price Variations In Healthcare Are Not Related to Quality

The Massachusetts health reform law, Part II – enacted in 2008 – laid the groundwork for cost control and quality improvement, as a follow-on to the initial legislation’s emphasis on achieving near-universal coverage.  The legislation authorized several studies — including a report published a few months back on global payment strategies — and set the stage for hearings on health care cost containment to be held before the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (DHCFP), which are scheduled to begin March 16, 2010.

Update 2/18/10: Paul Levy posted a series of questions DHCFP would like hospitals to answer at the hearings at Running a Hospital. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at HealthBlawg :: David Harlow's Health Care Law Blog*

Why Price Controls Will Make Healthcare Worse

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced this week he has had enough of rising health care costs.

So he is proposing a novel solution: make them illegal.

Well, it’s not fair to call this idea “novel.”  Governments have tried price controls for 40 centuries.  And even though they don’t work, they keep trying.  The explanation isn’t complicated.  It’s an easy way for a politician to seem to do something about rising prices.  In this case, it won’t do much about the underlying problem, but it is a terrific way for a governor to look like a man of action. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Is Healthcare Reform Dead?

One of my favorite movie scenes is from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” when an unfortunate soul pleads with the designated collector of corpses (this being after the plague, mind you) that “I’m not dead … yet.” The collector responds by whacking him on the head … until he is, in fact, quite dead.

This scene comes to mind as I blog about yesterday’s stunning GOP upset of the seat-that-used-to-be-held-by Ted Kennedy. If the election of Republican Scott Brown didn’t quite kill off health care reform, some Democrats are quite willing to complete the task. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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