Thursday, July 16, 2015

Health Wonk Review: Hot Summer Nights, Cool Summer Drinks

Good morning, fellow Wonkers and Wonkettes, and welcome to the midsummer collection of refreshing blog posts (and, perhaps, an adult beverage or three). In addition to the usual excellent health care policy and polity, you'll find a generous selection of unusual summer quaffs.

A word of caution: If you're going to indulge in the latter, please arrange for a DB (Designated Blogger).

[Note: Cocktail photos/recipes courtesy]

And now to quench our thirst for knowledge (amongst other things):


Joe Paduda, HWR co-founder and all-around nice guy, believes that there is no "Obamacare," and offers some clarification about what PPACA is, and isn't.

Our good friend Louise Norris reports on the Centennial State's health insurance rate environment. She notes that, as always, "premium is king," but that that's always been the case. So what's different now? Click through to find out.

By the way: when you get there, be sure to congratulate hubby Jay on his recent appointment to the Connect for Health Colorado board of directors. Mazel Tov, Jay!

Over at The Hospital Leader, Brad Flansbaum tells us about "super-utilizers," folks who consume a disproportionate amount of health care, and what this means for the rest of us "normal" folks.

Jaan Siderov has always been one of my very favorite bloggers in this corner of the blogosphere, and his submission this week further cements that: we've all heard concern about the various carrier mergers; Jaan offers his own take, with some currently-under-the-radar concerns.

As usual, David Harlow casts an outsized shadow with his unique insights into something that, at first glance, seems so simple: patient reviews of their docs. David asks a simple question ("Where are the metrics to guide rational choice of provider?") and then dives right in.

Uber-wonk Roy Poses takes to task former President WJ Clinton for touting a liver pill (no, not this one) that costs $1,000 a pop, yet shows little evidence of actually, you know, working very well.

Jason Shafrin, my favorite Health Care Economist, also asks a question: "What is the key driver of regional variation in the cost of treating patients with cancer?" Think you know? Well, then, click on through to check your knowledge.

The Health Affairs Blog sends along this post by Donald Light on the risks versus rewards of certain FDA-approved meds, and notes an "epidemic of harm from medications [that] makes our prescription drugs the fourth leading cause of death in the United States." Talk about the cure being worse than the disease!

Another good friend, David Williams, wrestles with the conundrum [ed: what a great use of that term in this context] that capping insured patients' specialty drug co-pays may actually do more financial harm than good, in the form of higher prices. 

Workers Comp maven Tom Lynch has his sights on the alarming fact that injury rates for home health and personal aides is two-and-a-half times that of other workers, and that OSHA's really failing these folks.

Long time HWR contributor Peggy Salvatore introduces us to the 21st Century Cures Act. Overall, she likes it, but is puzzled by the fact that its proposed funding mechanism is revenue not from Big Pharma and the NIH, but the oil industry. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but she wonders why the health care sector is turning to the energy sector for cash.

The folks at offer a post from Amy Lynn Smith extolling the virtues of the ACA as it relates to the LGBT community.

To finish up, I'm going to exercise Host's Privilege and tout this two-parter from my co-blogger Mike Feehan. We spend a lot of time at IB correcting folks who conflate health care with health insurance, but Mike tackles new ground in his posts: despite popular usage, health care and medical care are not the same.

Mike makes a compelling case. Click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

Well, that's it for this week. Hope you enjoyed the good reads and tasty concoctions. Don't forget to drop by Peggy Salvatore's place on August 20th for the next edition.
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