New Health Affairs Article Looks at Building on a Strong Foundation

In a new Health Affairs article published today, Lydia Ogden, Chief of Staff of the Center for Entitlement Reform at Emory University, and I provide an in-depth analysis of how key provisions of the recent health reform law address payment, integrated care delivery and prevention and provide a strong foundation for further reforms

White House Report on Childhood Obesity

Last fall, I wrote about the need to put our obesity epidemic at the top of the health care agenda. The release of a landmark report by the White House Childhood Obesity Task Force earlier this week moves this issue closer to the forefront of the discussion.

Prevention is not just disease detection

More discussion about what prevention really is:

"Prevention is not just disease detection," by Ken Thorpe, National Journal, 12 May 2010

New finds on costs related to cancer

CDC and others have come out with an interesting study on costs related to cancer. The study was published in Cancer, the American Cancer Society's medical journal and you can read about it here. In a nutshell, the study found that the cost of treating cancer has nearly doubled over the past two decades, and that these rising costs are mainly driven by prevalence. It also found that cancer accounts for only 5 percent of total U.S. medical costs, which has not changed in the last few decades.

Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?

Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? A resounding YES is the correct answer, but unfortunately some still look at the idea of prevention with blinders on.

Mathematica, a public policy think tank, is conducting a series of briefings that summarizes existing research on the cost-effectiveness of preventive health services.

Increasing Obesity Incidence

Health advocates, including the PFCD, have been sounding the horn for years for policymakers to take up the mantle and aggressively address our nation’s high child and adult obesity rates.

A new study from the University of Michigan Health System demonstrates the need for immediate action, even in light of inclusion of obesity-related provisions in the health care bill. The study found that young people are becoming obese at younger ages than members of earlier generations did—putting them at risk for chronic illnesses earlier in life.

Response to BusinessWeek’s “Take Your Meds, Exercise—and Spend Billions”

Several days ago, BusinessWeek’s Chad Terhune and Arlene Weintraub argued in an online article that when it comes to “so-called disease management, [there’s] scant evidence that it works.” I was surprised to read this, as when I spoke to Terhune before he wrote the article, I provided him with a number of examples of widely-regarded published studies, including randomized controlled trials, showing that well-designed disease management programs save money and improve health.

Real Health Care Reform

Health reform had a tough day. But we are not giving up yet. As we go forward we must focus on two facts that shape the expectations about health care reform. First 85% of Americans have health insurance and second 96% of voters in the last election had health insurance—their expectation is that reform would make insurance less expensive.  By refocusing the attention on insurance reforms, and affordability those with insurance would have a major stake in the bill.

Common Sense Health Care Reforms

Much of the health care reform debate has focused on a couple of controversial provisions: what role, if any, for a public plan; abortion and federal funding in the exchanges; can illegal immigrants buy insurance with their own money; and how to pay for the coverage expansions. With these more controversial elements assuming center stage, it has been easy to lose focus of what the reforms were trying to accomplish.

Response to WJS op-ed on cost containment

Interesting Wall Street Journal op-ed today questioning whether there is enough cost containment in the current Congressional health care bills. A legitimate question, to be sure. Wherever you come down on answering this question, however, their prescribed approach will not only not slow the rise in spending, but in some cases could make the problem worse.

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