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Health Policy Geek Out

Kaiser Health News has great articles, but many are only interesting to serious health care news junkies. If that’s you, here’s a taste of the best from this week:

  • One unintended consequence of Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal— it will expose “the egregious amount of money Medicare wastes in many parts of the country.” For example, in Minneapolis, Medicare spends $7000 per beneficiary, but in McCallen, Texas Medicare spends $16,000. Ryan’s budget would give every senior about $8,000 for private insurance. Taking into account that private plans are more expensive than Medicare for the same coverage, seniors in Minneapolis would still be able to get a decent plan. But the residents of McCallen would be in big, big trouble.
  • Some new programs approved in the health reform law probably won’t go into effect because Republicans are refusing to provide funding. These include things like grants to states to test malpractice reform, grants to test efficient new ways of delivering emergency care, a program to expand access by having health clinics run by nurse practitioners, and programs to improve care in nursing homes.
  • Up to 44 million people might not realize that starting this year, they have the right to an appeal to an independent external review if they’re denied coverage by their insurance company. Err… wait, that’s actually something everyone should know. Spread the word!
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