There is No Free Lunch and There is No Free Contraception

Robert Laszewski

Posted 2/10/12 on Health Policy and Marketplace Review

The otherworldy Obama Administration solution to the contraception firestorm might work politically but it makes no sense in the real world. The President, hoping to quell a growing political firestorm, today announced a new policy that no longer requires religiously affiliated organizations to provide employees with contraception coverage in health-insurance plans. Under the new policy, insurance companies will be required to offer free contraception for their employees and dependents. The administration’s idea is to shift the onus for the coverage from the employer to the insurer. Catholic leaders, and lots of other people, had objected to the requirement, which exempted churches but not hospitals, charities and universities with religious affiliations. So, let’s just play a game here. The religious organization just pretends that it has nothing to do with it but the insurance company pays for it anyway. Hey, the insurance companies are rich. Continue reading “There is No Free Lunch and There is No Free Contraception”

My Minute With Andy Rooney

Michael Millenson

Posted 11/22/11 on The Health Care Blog

Pat Mastors, a patient safety advocate, has written aclever blog post called, “A Few More Minutes with Andy Rooney.” Channeling the curmudgeonly tones of a 60 Minutes commentary, it begins:

I died last week, just a month after I said goodbye to you all from this very desk. I had a long and happy life – well, as happy as a cranky old guy could ever be. 92. Not bad. And gotta say, seeing my Margie, and Walter, and all my old friends again is great.

But then I read what killed me: “serious complications following minor surgery.”

Now what the heck is that?

The blog goes on to have Rooney ask for someone to find out what actually killed him. This has offended some respondents who, blinded by their own biases, think a writer using a celebrity’s death to push for information that could be used to improve care is the same thing as accusing his physicians of negligence or hauling Rooney’s family into court to publicly disclose private details.

Don’t you hate people like that?

Continue reading “My Minute With Andy Rooney”

Essential Health Benefits: Balancing Costs, Coverage and Necessity

Kavita Patel

Posted 10/14/11 on the Health Affairs Blog

Copyright ©2011 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

The much anticipated Institute of Medicine Report on essential health benefits (EHB) was released last week with a series of recommendations that answered some questions and raised many more. The report offers a very important opportunity for researchers, policymakers, providers and patients to fill in some of the white space between the recommendations.

Background on EHB in the Affordable Care Act and some Legislative History

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) tasked the IOM to make recommendations on the methods for determining and updating the essential health benefits that must be offered by qualified health plans seeking to participate in exchanges as defined in section 1301 of the statute. The ACA identified ten categories of items and services that must be included in a package of benefits:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Continue reading “Essential Health Benefits: Balancing Costs, Coverage and Necessity”

IOM Calls For Overhaul of Device Regulation

Merrill Goozner

First posted 7/29/11 on Gooz News

The Institute of Medicine committee that’s been reviewing medical device regulation for the past two years called this morning for a sweeping overhaul of Food and Drug Administration rules that allow some implanted devices to enter the market without adequate safety and effectiveness testing. The process — known as 510(k) — provides for minimal testing of devices if they are deemed “substantially equivalent” to a device that is already on the market.

Continue reading “IOM Calls For Overhaul of Device Regulation”