Monday, May 22, 2006

The Health Wonk Review (Lucky #7)

Well, that’ll teach me to volunteer! This week’s putative host has apparently gone AWOL, so HWR honcho Joe Paduda accepted my offer to substitute. Please forgive any mistakes, errors, runs, drips or streaks.
So, a coupla days late, but none the worse for wear (I hope!), here’s this week’s foray into the world of policy, infrastructure, insurance, technology, and managed care bloggers. Enjoy!

■ Politics, Policy, Economics

Jared Rhoads, of The Lucidicus Project, has an interesting article about Massachusetts' new healthcare legislation. Comparing commentary from various members of the free-market community, he concludes that, even as mixed as the free-market folks are, the conservatives are worse. His solution: rights-based capitalism protected by limited government.

Frequent IB foil Jill Quadango posts her presentation to the Democratic Senators Issues Conference on why 46 million Americans lack healthcare. If you haven’t read her book, One Nation Uninsured (which we reviewed last fall), this is a good summary of its contents, and conclusions. While I don’t often agree with Dr Q, she is a compelling and interesting author.

If you follow the Medblogosphere, then you’ve certainly read Marcus Newberry’s great blog about health promotion, healthy lifestyle and disease prevention. In this post, the good doctor tells us about the late Jane Jacobs, author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” He compares her thesis that cities are vibrant living systems with the reality of the current situation in health care. As usual, he brings a refreshing insight.

David Williams, proprietor of the Health Business Blog, has an interesting (and provocative) take on Google Health. He tells us that, although the offering itself is weak, Google is also exploiting the goodwill of volunteers under its so-called "Co-op" program. Problem is, it’s not a co-op at all.

Behind The Wheel, brought to you by the folks who run Marketplace MD, is a fun and engaging blog (I know, because I visit it pretty often). This entry is a virtual survey of Consumer Driven Health Care, covering over two weeks' worth of nuggets from blogs, the media, and academic journals. I was particularly pleased to read that Marketplace’s founder has been published by Health Affairs, twice. Mazel Tov, Doc!

PhD-to-be Jason Shafrin, posts as the “Healthcare Economist.” This week, he tells us that the British government is shifting childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and towards births in the home, and asks if this good policy. His post also raises the point that government dictating where you have to give birth to your child is one of the costs of nationalized healthcare.

HWR founder Joe Paduda has some thoughts about the GOP's efforts to pass Association Health Plan and medical malpractice reform legislation. He wonders if it’s necessarily a bad thing that it “ran into a brick wall.” IB’s Bob Vineyard discussed this a while back, and I’d love to read a debate between them (hint, hint).

The final entry in this category is my own: in many markets, one insurer dominates. Some in the governing class object to this, and have proposed dubious solutions. We explore the situation, and possible resolutions.

■ Business of Healthcare

Tony Chen, one of a group of high-powered bloggers at Hospital Impact, has a thought-provoking post on what the mission of hospitals could be in the future. He looks at how Mayo, Johns Hopkins, the Cleveland Clinic and other A-list facilities operate now, and what their mission might look like in the future. Talk about Future Shock.

■ Technology, IT

Dmitriy Kruglyak at The Medical Blog Network offers a Consumer Health IT report from the 2006 CDHCC (Consumer Directed Health Care Conference and Expo). He says that Intuit's designs on healthcare connectivity are the most notable, and a panel of investment experts discussed how the industry is likely to evolve. It’s quite a full report, with everything from Rules Engines to Data Mining.

■ Miscellaneous

Jon Coppelman, who writes at the Workers Comp Insider, examines a recent ADA case involving Liberty Mutual Insurance. That case should raise red flags for employers: by granting FMLA leave for treatment, the employer was apparently held accountable for making "reasonable accommodations," even though it appears that none were requested. In other words, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Well, that's it for this week's edition of HWR. Tune in on June 1rst when Dmitriy Kruglyak hosts at The Medical Blog Network.
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