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A Value-Based Solution for Medicare
Les Masterson, Senior Editor-Managed Care

Value-based insurance design could cut long-range Medicare costs and improve medication compliance and patient outcomes. Supporters say the federal government could implement the concept today, but can it work in the senior population? [Read More]
  March 18, 2009

 
Editor's Picks
Stimulus Dollars Go to Medicaid, Health Clinics
The feds last week established The Office of Recovery Act Coordination to oversee the stimulus money slated for healthcare and have already funded safety net programs, such as Medicaid and community health centers, with $3 billion. But the lion's share of the money headed to healthcare is still a ways off while officials develop a process to dole out funds. The feds are working on standards for the healthcare information technology portion of the stimulus bill. Those regulations are expected by the end of this year, with the first dollars going to physicians who use "certified" electronic health record products in a "meaningful" way in 2011. [Read More]
Democrats, GOP draw battle lines on healthcare plan
Do you remember the age of bipartisanship and collegiality that supposedly came in with the Obama administration? Well, that era is dead. Healthcare reform is causing fighting between and within both major political parties. One heated debate involves creating a public insurance option that would allow Americans to choose between keeping their employer-based insurance and moving to a public option. In another development, three leading House Democrats, George Miller and Henry A. Waxman, both of California, and Charles B. Rangel of New York, are joining forces to create their own healthcare reform legislation. Though lawmakers are gearing up for reform, major healthcare players, such as doctors, hospitals, and health insurers, have been largely silent. Just wait until those groups start to get active. That's when we'll see the political fireworks. [Read More]
Health insurance industry works on image makeover
The health insurance industry is often seen as the bad guy in healthcare, but industry leaders are promoting themselves as indispensable partners in healthcare reform. Health insurers say they are in a position to help improve quality and eliminate waste in the system. Even former adversaries are acknowledging that the industry is working together to create a healthcare reform plan. Despite insurers' efforts, however, there are still plenty of groups, such as single-payer advocates, who view private insurers as a reason for the country's flawed healthcare system. [Read More]
Obama administration open to taxing health benefits
President Barack Obama may be changing his tune on taxing health benefits. The president opposed the idea during his successful president campaign, and even called the idea "the largest middle-class tax increase in history," but he is now signaling to Congress that he could support taxing some employee health benefits to help pay for healthcare reform. Several Obama advisers say the president won't propose changing the tax-free status of employee health benefits, but he won't oppose it if Congress forwards the proposal either. The Congressional Budget Office says that including health benefits in taxable income could mean $246 billion in additional revenue for a single year. Opponents of the idea say that taxing benefits could cause major disruption to the employer-based system. [Read More]
Massachusetts faces costs of big healthcare plan
When creating its landmark healthcare reform program, Massachusetts officials decided to tackle the uninsured and deal with healthcare cost controls later. Now, three years after the legislation's approval, that decision could cripple the nation's boldest healthcare experiment. The state has created new taxes and fees, but the difficult economy and spiraling healthcare costs could make the near-universal coverage program unsustainable within a decade. As the second part of the state's reform effort, health leaders are developing ways to control costs and create a new payment system that rewards prevention and quality of care. Healthcare spending in the state has grown faster per person than the national average in seven of the last eight years. [Read More]
Managed Care Headlines
Employers see less health coverage in the next decade
Wall Street Journal Health Blog - March 13, 2009
Online records get patients involved in care
Wall Street Journal - March 18, 2009
Kaiser to cut 860 jobs after deal with IBM
San Francisco Chronicle - March 17, 2009
BCBS of Illinois' membership is slipping for first time in 25 years
Chicago Tribune - March 13, 2009
Budget woes cut healthcare for illegal immigrants
AP/Yahoo News - March 16, 2009
Massachusetts wins legal challenge to individual mandate
WBUR CommonHealth blog - March 13, 2009
Massachusetts may not boost healthcare premiums
Boston Globe - March 12, 2009
Low-cost New York City doctor told to increase fees
AP/Philadelphia Inquirer - March 13, 2009
Lawmaker wants Dallas-Fort Worth out of troubled healthcare program
Dallas Morning News - March 16, 2009

Webcasts/Audio conferences
March 20: 5 Ways to Improve the Patient Experience at Your Hospital
April 20: Service Lines Strategies Workshop 2009: Joint Replacement
April 29: Marketing Neurosciences: Service Line Strategies for Marketers
On Demand: Solving Your Nurse Shortage: Long-Term Strategies That Work
On Demand: Form 990H: Act Now to Protect Your Reputation
From HealthLeaders Magazine
A Shifting Burden
High deductibles are spreading beyond the consumer-driven health plan niche—and helping change the way patients relate to providers. Consumer-driven health plans remain a relatively small percentage of the health plan market—but the premise behind CDHPs is spreading. [Read More]
The Big Switch
Many health plans are struggling to retain members who retire or lose group coverage, but there are steps that payers can take to improve conversion. [
Read More]
Listen Up
Squeezing More from Insurers

David Neikrug, chief executive officer of Optimatum Group LLC, talks about how companies are managing to cut their healthcare costs in ways that don't involve shifting costs directly onto employees. [Listen Now]
From HealthLeaders Media
No Debate: Patients = Consumers

Embracing consumerism is becoming one of those "get over it" moments for healthcare professionals. You can resist the notion all you want; the fact is patients more and more see themselves as consumers. [Read More]
Sponsor Health Plan Insider

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at lbrown@healthleadersmedia.com or call 781.639.1872.
Resources From HCPro

Compare your organization against national averages.
Learn how increased collaboration between providers and managed care payers has the potential to reduce costs, improve processes, and enhance patient care.
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