'Details' on the $2 trillion health cost savings plan

The trade groups and unions who last month pledged to cut billions in health care costs in coming years have rolled out a fleshed-out plan. But one commentator is oh-so skeptical.
To me the common thread though each of the 28 pages is pretty clear — "We are on track to make America's health care system more efficient and better in quality. Leave us alone. And, if you'd like to send us another $100 billion a year without a lot of strings attached that would be fine too."
Jun 1, 2009 5:58 PM

HCA exec to chair HHS committee

Jonathan Perlin, chief medical officer at the nation's largest hospital chain, will oversee the U.S. Health and Human Services Department's Health IT Standards Committee, which will make recommendations to national health IT coordinator David Blumenthal on standards for a future electronic health record. Before joining HCA in 2006, Perlin was under secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
May 22, 2009 1:15 AM

Insurers look to get an early leg up in cost-cutting debate

The health care sector's internal power struggle over where to find $2 billion in savings has begun. Health Net CEO Jay Gellert says insurers want to more closely link physician pay to measurable health standards.
I presume the reference to "mandatory" changes is there so that they'll be "scoreable" under the Congressional budget rules. I wonder, did the insurance trade association make that clear to the AHA and the AMA before they took them into the West Wing?
SEE ALSO: More of our posts on national health care reform
May 18, 2009 10:42 PM

Docs: Give us legal cover to cut costs

The American Medical Association president-elect tells the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog that the fear of being sued is a big factor in many physicians ordering that extra test someone eventually has to pay for.
Rohack cited the decades of Dartmouth research that has shown there are wide variations in care in different parts of the country, and more isn’t necessarily better — basically, doctors do lots more tests and procedures in some places than in others. The research suggests that where there are more specialists, and more fancy equipment, patients get more tests and procedures.
SEE ALSO: Coming up with $2 trillion
May 11, 2009 11:10 PM

Coming up with $2 trillion

That's what a coalition of health care industry groups say they will seek to do over the next decade. The push to cut costs out of the health sector has even united the American Hospital Association and the SEIU, which has been pushing nurses to organize around the country.
On a Sunday conference call, senior administration officials hailed the effort as "a game changer" in the health care debate. "I don't think there can be a more significant step to helping struggling families and to help the federal budget," said one aide. "It just makes it even clearer than ever that health reform is going to happen this year in the Congress," added another. The effort, which those familiar with the plan say will aim for greater care coordination, lower administrative costs and the bundling of payments among health care providers and recipients, could result in a three percent reduction of gross domestic product by the year 2019. That year alone, the industry could save $700 billion. On a more personal level, White House aides project that after five years a family of four could be saving $2,500 a year.
SEE ALSO: From the Journal, a look at the first major obstacle to the plan. And via change:healthcare's blog, a myopic, in-the-trenches debate about incentivizing patients to help cut costs.
May 11, 2009 8:34 AM

Rick Scott's still spending

The advocacy group headed by the former Columbia/HCA chief is planning to saturate the CNN and Fox News airwaves with a series of ads chronicling the supposed U.S. slide toward government-run health care. SEE ALSO: Thanks for the support, but no so loud, Rick
Apr 27, 2009 11:14 PM

Docs without a plan

And how they could thwart the effectiveness of any plan to institute universal care.
Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, says that 11% of the doctors at his medical center don’t participate in Aetna or Blue Cross, which means some of his patients can’t afford to go to the top specialists in the NYU system.
Apr 17, 2009 3:05 PM

The world according to Cigarran

Healthways founder and chairman Tom Cigarran talks through his ideas on a possible fix for the U.S. health care system in an article from Roll Call. Put simply, with universal coverage will come rationing, but what the country can provide is basic care for everyone, he asserts. Unfortunately, the public is being built up for something else.
"Politicians considering health reform, Cigarran said, are indulging Americans' "unrealistic expectations" that they can have it all - the highest quality medical care and the latest technology, all conveniently supplied and delivered perfectly. And, paid for by someone else."
As he says earlier in the article,
"The country owes a basic level of care to its citizens, but not everything-for-everyone Cadillac coverage."
A great deal more detail is provided in the full article.
Apr 7, 2009 3:48 PM

A Tennessee-bred health care reform blueprint

A group led by veteran investor Clayton McWhorter has formulated what it says is a budget-neutral plan to reshape the U.S. health care system. Among its features: A Federal Health Reserve that will be the linchpin of the health insurance system and various subsidies for lower-income people.
Apr 6, 2009 12:09 PM

Thanks for the support, but not so loud, Rick

Former Columbia/HCA CEO Rick Scott has come back into the public eye as a vocal critic of President Obama's as-yet undefined healthcare reforms.

So far, he has spent millions sending camera crews to countries with socialized medicine to record the pitfalls, buying up television ad time a la T. Boone Pickens, and generally agitating about the nebulous reforms allegedly on the way.

Liberals however, seem unperturbed:

Liberal groups planning to defend the administration’s health care plan, whatever form it takes, are seizing on Mr. Scott’s background through Web videos, fact sheets, blog postings and unflattering additions to his Wikipedia entry, which until recently did not mention his ouster from Columbia.

“He’s a great symbol from our point of view,” said Richard J. Kirsch, the national campaign manager for Health Care for America Now. “We cannot have a better first person to attack health care reform than someone who ran a company that ripped off the government of hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Scott, for those of you who don't remember, was ousted from Columbia/HCA back in the late 1990s following a $1.7 billion misunderstanding with the government.

Apr 2, 2009 10:14 AM