Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hump Day Headlines

 The Institute of Medicine issued a report saying there's a TON of waste and opportunity for savings in the health care system.  The big recommendation is payment for quality outcomes rather than for each individual service.  We have to do something -- that much, we all agree on.

Indeed, health care costs nearly doubled for workers since 2002.  In what industry can you double your prices every 10 years without changing the product, or even cutting back on it?  And you don't think we have to do something to regulate insurance companies?  Indeed, increased rate regulation and tools like the medical loss ratio slowed the growth in premium prices to about 4% -- well below last year's increase and well below the decade's average of 8%.

Figures on the number of uninsured Americans should be released today.  The 2010 figures were right about 50 million.  Today will be the 2011 figures.  There should be a reduction, at least for the young Americans on their parents' policies to age 26.  We'll see.

One of the delivery system reforms in the health reform law is Accountable Care Organizations -- groups of hospitals, doctors, other providers to come together to provide complete care that is coordinated and patient-centered -- and, hopefully, saves money.  Previously, this was done as a pilot program, and the results will be published today.  The main finding is that Accountable Care Organizations save money.

Last week-end, Mitt Romney said he would keep the good parts of the health reform law, like coverage of people with pre-existing conditions.  However, apparently, this only applies to people who have not had a gap in coverage.  If you have had a gap, or if you've never had insurance, your option would be a high risk pool.  Twice as expensive, lifetime limits -- high risk pools are no answer for us.  Please, people.  Read and think for yourselves.

Fish oil pills don't prevent cancer.

The top 10 finalists in a scientific photography contest -- don't miss this.  These are stunningly beautiful. 

And that's it for this morning.  Have a great day!  Jennifer

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