State Options to Control Health Care Costs and Improve Quality

The innovations that some states are implementing to reduce costs while maintaining or improving quality can and should be replicated by other states. This report lays out a comprehensive summary of options that states can choose from to improve the quality and sustainability of their health care systems.

Diabetes Cases Have Quadrupled in Just Over 3 Decades

The WHO says that between 1980 and 2014, the percentage of adults with diabetes increased from 4.7% of the global population to 8.5% (from 108 million to 422 million). The rise, it says, mirrors “the global increase in the number of people who are overweight or obese.”

Legislature Approves Staffing Boost at Western State Hospital

A state budget deal contains enough money to add 51 nurses at Western State Hospital, where thin staffing has factored into unsafe conditions. It’s one of several steps the Legislature took to grapple with problems in the mental health system just before adjourning its work 19 days late.

Hold the Obamacare Celebrations

The drop in the number of Americans without insurance is the biggest accomplishment. But that decline has not been as large as originally estimated. Other people have seen their financial security reduced because of Obamacare.

Report Offers a Mixed View of Health Care Law Costs

More people will be enrolled in Medicaid than predicted a year ago, fewer will be covered through the new public insurance marketplaces and the overall cost of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be higher than expected last year, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.

The Unfinished Work of Obamacare

Obamacare, which turned six on Wednesday, has reduced the share of Americans without health insurance by half, provided people without job-based coverage access to affordable high-quality options, and prevented people from being denied insurance because of preexisting health conditions. Meanwhile, health-care costs have grown more slowly than they did before the law was passed.

Obamacare Was Going to Lower Health Care Costs. What Actually Happened

Obamacare cannot deliver the impossible (even if it were good public policy­— and it isn’t). In their operations to date, only about half of the Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) have yielded savings. The best that can be said, thus far, is that the jury is still out on the Affordable Care Act delivery reforms.

Ban Drug Ads on TV? Some Positive Outcomes Would Be Lost

Not all prescribing that drug ads promote is valuable, yet they encourage some helpful and appropriate care. Collectively, every $28 spent by drug companies per year on ads resulted in one more visit to a doctor that led to a prescription. When it comes to depression, a randomized controlled trial showed that drug requests led to more appropriate care, though not always with pharmaceuticals. Another way drug ads can help patients is by encouraging them to continue with medication they’ve already been prescribed.