Thursday, May 17, 2007

Health Wonk Review--Recent Posts Worthy of Your Time

Health Wonk Review is a biweekly compendium of the best of the health policy blogs. More than two dozen health policy, infrastructure, insurance, technology, and managed care bloggers participate by contributing their best recent blog postings to a roving digest, with each issue hosted at a different participant's blog. For participants, it's a way to network and share ideas, and for those readers who don't live in this space every day, it's a way to sample some of the latest thinking and the "best of the best."

This time, it's my turn to host and, as usual, our network of health policy bloggers have given us a wide range of their cutting edge thinking.

David Harlow, over at HealthBlawg, starts things off with a post that reminds us that one organization's "good idea" in health care is another's "bad idea" in "Minute Clinics Opening Soon To a CVS Near You."

Not only is there lots of debate about what's a good idea and what isn't, in health care we can also look at the same facts and come away with a very different spin. Hank Stern at INSUREBLOG calls USAToday on their story that the uninsured too often pay retail in his post, "The Amazing, Self-Fisking Gap Report."

The original report on what the uninsured are billed, cited in USAToday, appeared in Health Affairs and Jane Hiebert-White puts a different spin on the same facts in her post on the Health Affairs blog, "Hospitals: "Soak the Poor:" Uninsured Hit With Higher Hospital Bills."

And sometimes, what someone originally thought was a good idea turns out for them to be a bad idea. David Harlow comes back with his post, "IRS gives friendly PCs the cold shoulder" a story about the IRS' change of heart on what constitutes a "friendly" physician practice in the making of an integrated health care system.

Lot's of people think that reforming the existing medical malpractice system is a good idea. Pioneering Ideas, the blog from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, gives us a series of intriguing posts that challenge us with what could be a better idea--fundamentally changing the medical justice system by creating health courts. Their series of short posts is well worth the read.

Worker's having access to benefits--like workers' compensation--is always a good idea. At least I thought so until Jon Coppelman writing at Workers' Comp Insider updated us on the ongoing debate about just who's an independent contractor and who's an employee in his post, "Fleece on Earth, Ill Will to Independent Contractors."

If there are lots of people who would like to either nationalize or heavily regulate your business, it's always a good idea not to give them any more ammunition. Joe Paduda, at Managed Care Matters, points out that recent developments in the insurance industry make you wonder if some insurance executives aren't aware we are about to have another major debate about who should control America's health care dollars in his post, "Private Insurers Aren't Helping Themselves."

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is clearly a stakeholder in the nation's health care debate--both as a union with so many health care workers and a union that wants to preserve its member's benefits. SEIU exec Mary Kay Henry tells us why reaching out to the other stakeholders--even one's that aren't a natural ally--is a good idea so obvious we wonder why others don't do it: "The Service Employees International Union Leads by Example--The Importance of Reaching Out in the Health Care Debate."

Trying to improve on some ideas, Michael Cannon, on Cato@Liberty, takes the recent discussion between John Goodman and Uwe Reinhardt over HSAs on the Health Affairs blog another step forward in, "HSAs: Goodman vs. Reinhardt."

Michael Tanner, also on Cato@Liberty, questions why a self-described conservative like Mitt Romney thinks the Massachusetts health plan is a good idea in, "Romney 'Loves' Government-Run Health Care."

Richard Eskow at The Sentinel Effect takes the time to give us a thoughtful analysis of the controversy over just how good the Veteran's Administration is in providing health care in his post, "VA Played Fast and Loose With the Facts - So, How Good Are They Really?"

And finally, David Williams at the Health Business Blog wonders why we can't see the cost of medical technology drop as it scales up just as it does in the information technology business in his post on, "Amputee Rights."
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