Thursday, July 26, 2007

Health Wonk Review for July 26, 2007

This time it's my turn to host Health Wonk Review, a compendium of some of the best health care policy and market posts from the health care blog world.

Joe Paduda seemingly gave up his extra summer time researching the arguments against universal coverage. Joe digs into the logical, philosophical, and political issues; there's also a great summary. With all the recent attention to other nation's systems of care his series of posts is a valuable contribution. And no, Joe's not a socialist.

Richard Eskow is causing trouble again over at "The Sentinel Effect" with his post noting that
the average U.S. physician income was $199,000 while the comparable OECD median physician income was $70,324 in his post. "Doctors Incomes and Universal Coverage: Another Inconvenient Truth."

Colorado Insurance Insider is a relatively new member of our little health policy wonk club. But I'm not so sure we should have let them in. Instead of waxing on the theory of health care, Jay actually went out and road-tested one of the big theories--consumerism and price transparency. As Jay put it in his post, "Dealing with health care providers without the assistance of an insurance company is like dealing with the mafia." His real life experiences should be mandated reading for the rest of us!

David Williams
, at "Health Business Blog," calls attention to the fascinating developments in Singapore. He briefly updates us on the "country’s overall strategy to be a biomedical hub" to strengthen "its position as a medical travel destination, especially for complex procedures and treatments" and links to a more comprehensive podcast.

David Harlow, on "Healthblawg," asks, "Should the potential positive secondary uses of individual health information in EHRs [electronic health records] overcome the privacy concerns around collection and use of the data?" in his contribution.

Adam Fein, on his blog, "Drug Channels," makes clear the significance of the new CMS rule on drug prices that he sees leading to big disruptions in the retail pharmacy marketplace. If you have any interest in how the rules are changing in drug pricing you will want to pay close attention to Adam's very detailed post.

Roy Poses, writing at "Health Care Renewal," gives us his take on efforts to naming a school of public health at the University of Iowa after an insurance company and tells us why he sees it as "a new and very in your face version of institutional conflict of interest."

Hank Stern, over at "Insure Blog," has some fun with the recent Rand Study on the effect of insurance prices and the willingness to buy coverage arguing that "a lot of folks who really don't care how much health insurance (or health care) costs, they ain't buyin.'

Although, I had a different take in my post on the significance of the Rand study.

But if you really want a dissertation on what motivates people to buy health insurance when the government is involved you will enjoy Jason Shafrin's review, on his blog "Healthcare Economist," of a paper on the "political feasibility of different health care systems within a democracy." I give this one a pretty high "Wow" factor.

Daniel Goldberg of Medical Humanities Blog also gives us some quality food for thought. He discusses a new study attributing longevity increases in certain states to access to newer drugs. But he contends, there is good evidence suggesting that public health and prevention medicine are likely to have a much greater effect on health in the aggregate.

Julie Ferguson of Workers Comp Insider discusses the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's increasing concern about the health of the nation's big rig truckers. Recent research shows that severe health issues are a contributing factor in about 10% of the fatalities studied. With trucks involved in 12% of all highway fatalities, it seems to be an issue worth exploring.

The current debate on how to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) is topic number one here in Washington. The Health Affairs Blog does its usual service by giving us the background facts. This time Sarah Dine provides a historical context for the current S-CHIP reauthorization debate

Contributions from the Cato@Liberty Blog give us three perspectives on the same theme--"big government conservatism." David Boaz argues that President Bush's willingness to veto the Senate S-CHIP bill "is in no way a reversal from his stance that big spending is okay as long as Republicans can take credit." Michael Cannon goes on to argue that one conservative proposal for compromise on S-CHIP even goes to far in another post on the topic. Michael Tanner posts on the same "big government" theme but this time telling us that the President's nominee for Surgeon General is, "All in all, a perfect national nanny, and another example of President Bush’s big-government conservatism at work."

Matt Holt on the other hand doesn't have the same problems with more government in our health care system in a post that counters arguments that the veterans health care scandal in no way undermines the notion that the government can do more for the rest of us.


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