Posts Tagged ‘public policy’
By Henry Moss (original at American Society on Aging)
Caregiver burden is emotional and subjective. We try to measure it by looking at rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the caregiver population, and at the seriousness of these disorders. We know the highest rates of emotional burden and the deepest levels of depression are felt by caregivers who experience entrapment—a sense of powerlessness, aloneness and suffering associated with long periods of caregiving for the most difficult elders, especially those with dementia. We are aware of the many studies showing how excess stress and emotional burden can impact a caregiver’s health, finances and family life, creating even more anxiety and depression.
We already know that the 45- to 64-year-old population will grow only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, while the age 80 and older baby boomer population increases by 79 percent. As the age 80 and older baby boomer cohort grows, the number of family caregivers available to assist them drops dramatically, from 7.5 in 2010 to 2.9 in 2050, a more than 50 percent decline. Alarm bells have been going off and researchers and advocates have been busy estimating the impact on the long-term-care system. Read the rest of this entry »
EDITOR: Opinions of Obamacare, and whether it’s a glass half empty or half full, depend largely on one’s political viewpoint and sources of your information. Opponents of the law, including many in the medical industrial complex with lots to lose if health reform cuts costs, often cite articles hinting that it’s a failure, while proponents cite articles highlighting successes and progress. The mainstream media, in efforts to generate buzz and attention, seem to stoke the fires of controversy by avoiding the hard task of investigative journalism and simply publishing inflammatory stories fed to them by either political party without checking the facts. Then again, the official government numbers, which you can believe or not based on your politics, present a moving target. So, I’m more interested in the trends and the long-term implications and publish today’s byline article with some editorial comments added.
A Checkup on the Health of the Affordable Care Act Thus Far
By Paisley Hansen
What will be the ultimate impact–for good or bad–of the Affordable Care Act on Americans? Although it’s still too early to tell, a January 13 article by the Associated Press posted on AOL sheds some light on the health status of Obamacare thus far [2.2M through December, 2013]. Read the rest of this entry »
BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina produced the following infographic about the high cost of health care, and I added the following comment.
The key to getting costs under control is to get the incentives right all along the health care continuum.
PAYERS — Where insurance companies once were able to control profits by selecting only the healthiest customers and cutting off those who became too expensive, that’s no longer the case under Obamacare, so they’re finding new ways to stay profitable, including extending wellness programs, which were initially developed for self-insured corporations, to their other customers. They’re also offering deep discounts on premiums to customers willing to accept higher deductibles and copays, giving them more skin in the game. Some are even starting to pay for medical tourism and home health care with telehealth video consultations and the necessary medical devices and home modifications when the costs are less and outcomes better. That’s promising. Read the rest of this entry »
We have well over 700 health care infographics on Pinterest and are in process of manually indexing them HERE. This one is especially interesting. Using data from the World Health Organization, it shows that Americans spend well over twice as much per person on health care than other developed nations, yet we tend to live sicker and die younger.
Summary for screen readers:
Demographic & Social Economic Statistics – The chart shows 2011 population size with China first with 1.35 billion people, followed by India with 1.24 billion, and the US third with 313 million.
Gross National Income per Capita – Singapore came in first even though it has one of the smaller populations with just over 5 million people, followed by the US at number two and Germany at number three. Read the rest of this entry »
By Wayne Caswell, Modern Health Talk founder
An NPR story this week described a Congressional Budget Office report that tied health care to recent and future increases in the federal deficit, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act was a start but that we need much more to rein in health care costs by 2020, due to the aging baby boomers.
“A fairly accurate summary of the federal budget is that the U.S. does not have a deficit problem — it has a health care problem,” said Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler.
I responded with my own ideas on reducing health care costs.
13 ways to reign in health care
1. First, understand the economic benefits of a healthy and productive workforce, and realize that Americans spend twice as much on health care but still live sicker and die younger, per the World Health Organization. Read the rest of this entry »
Dan Munro wrote that annual U.S. healthcare spending will hit $3.8 trillion this year (~21% of GDP). There’s good info in his Forbes article and the referenced Deloitte report, but it should not be taken politically one way or another. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data shows a slow bending of the cost curve, where the increases in health care expenditures are slowing slightly, the increase is slower than the economy, and it’s slightly slower than in previous years. Still, many of us hope to see costs decline outright, and by a lot.
To me, the real value is recognizing that there are hidden costs not captured in the official 2012 estimate of $2.8 trillion/year. Read the rest of this entry »
By Wayne Caswell
Modern Health Talk strongly endorses telehealth and efforts to break down barriers to wider adoption nationwide. The TELE-MED Act of 2013 (HR 3077) is still not out of committee but is intended to start breaking down barriers related to licensure and payment when medical care is given online across state lines, starting with Medicare providers. Hopefully Congress will pass this bill and then start extending telehealth to all insurance carriers. Read the rest of this entry »
The FFS payment model was created long ago, during a time when physicians treated less-complex problems and offered only a few inexpensive therapeutic interventions. It worked back then but a significant percentage of patients today have multiple chronic conditions. Meanwhile, the number of complex and very expensive tests, medications and interventions available are practically unlimited.
Economics 101 teaches that as supply goes up, costs should come down. But this tenant doesn’t hold true in medical care – not when the supplier also controls demand.
In health care, doctors can stimulate demand because (a) health insurance blinds most patients to the costs of services and (b) patients often don’t know whether a complex procedure is as necessary as a non-invasive one.
As a result, we have seen a major increase in utilization of complex services over the past 20 years.
That’s a short extract from an important FORBES article, The High Cost Of American Health Care: You Asked For It. Everything in the article is consistent with my understanding of economics and long-held view that the problem with our healthcare system is perverse incentives in the payment model. I highly recommend it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Wayne Caswell
The rapid and accelerating pace of tech innovation has profound implications for healthcare delivery & payment, aging, and disability employment, but regulations that support that are spotty or nonexistent.
The good news
“Durable medical equipment” is a class of assistive technology that can be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans. Motorized wheel chairs most often fall into this category. Read the rest of this entry »
The PCMH and Home Care Data: An Interview with Melissa McCormack is a byline article by Melody Wilding
The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Model is a new approach which seeks to enhance care coordination and community-based care.
To learn more about how health care data fits into the PCMH model and how the new approach will helps seniors, we spoke with PCMH specialist Melissa McCormack of Software Advice, a source for medical systems reviews.
How does home care fit into the PCMH model?
The PCMH model is all about putting the patient at the center of care. Under traditional fee-for-service models, doctors have no incentive to follow their patient’s health outside of the office, because they receive no compensation for doing so. But the PCMH model rewards doctors for keeping their patients healthy, which incentivizes them to monitor their patients’ health not just in the office, but at home, too.