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The War of the Charts

In 2009, Rep. Kevin Brady made the rounds at Fox TV, ABC News and The Drudge Report as a newly minted internet star. The source of the Texas Republican's fame was a stunningly impenetrable graphic created by his staff—65 boxes in six garish colors, interlinked in uncountable ways. The title: “Organizational Chart of the House Democrats' Health Plan.” Within hours, it was available for purchase on a T-shirt with the caption, “Where is MY doctor?” The infographic wasn't exactly explanatory. In fact, ... Read more

Value Based Reimbursement: The Rock Thrown Into The Health Care Pond

By Bruce Merlin Fried and Jeremy David Sherer Value-based reimbursement (VBR), it seems to be everywhere. Launched by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a multitude of new payment models and organizations are rapidly reshaping the health care system in ways that are known and, as the ripples of change radiate out from the ACA, in ways that are yet to be understood. For too many years, the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) payment mechanism created incentives to over treat, over prescribe, and over ... Read more

Health Expenditure Projections: When Does ‘New’ Become ‘Normal’?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its latest forecast of medical spending for the next decade. The headline number is that medical care as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase from its current 17.5 percent of GDP to 20.1 percent by 2025, resuming an upward increase after a several year slowdown. Forecasting is an inexact science. To make guesses about the future, analysts typically examine the past. The history of medical spending can ... Read more

The average hospital stay now costs more than average rent — and that’s after insurance

Think your health insurance will always protect you from sky-high medical bills? Think again. The average privately insured American paid $1,013 for a hospital stay in 2013, a new study of millions of insurance claims shows. To put that figure in perspective, that’s more than the average person’s monthly rent in 2013 — and more than three times the average family’s monthly grocery bill. It wasn’t always this way. The same study, published earlier this month in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, shows that out-of-pocket ... Read more