Employees will absorb higher health care costs
” Most employees don’t consider an increase in the cost of their health-care coverage reason enough to look for another job, according to the latest WSJ Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll (subscription required). And as employees grow older and earn more, they’re less likely to change employers. ‘“Holding onto health care of some sort seems like a critical thing to most people,”’ said Bob Leitman, group president for health care, education and public policy at Harris Interactive. ‘“It suggests there’s some room for employers to pass on some costs for insurance to employees without people making a lot of noise about it.”’
Aetna trying to understand disparities in care given minorities
The Wall Street Journal reports that “Aetna Is Collecting Racial Data To Monitor Medical Disparities” because its CEO says it would be racist to not try to understand the troubling disparities in serving minority patients. The Journal’s Ron Winslow reports in the Mar. 5 paper:
Bush’s Medicare drug benefit plan gets cool reception; move in right direction?
President Bush’s American Medical Assn. speech on his Medicare plan created some hope in Congress that a prescription drug plan can be enacted this year, reports the Miami Herald.
Heritage, Kaiser links offer Medicare backgrounders
This Medicare reform checkup by the Heritage Foundation answers critics of President Bush’s general approach to Medicare reform and providing health benefits. And it includes links to articles about Medicare reform going back into the 1990s. The Kaiser Family Foundation offers reports and articles about Medicare nationally and in the states.
Vets wait 7 months for primary care
American war veterans wait an average of seven months for primary care in a system run and financed by the same politicians who want to add drug benefits to the Medicare program; looks a lot like the Canadian health care system.
Medicare drug benefits proposed by Bush and Democrats
President Bush will reveal more of his proposed Medicare reforms Tuesday in a speech scheduled for an American Medical Assn. meeting, according to this AP report. Democrats will criticize the Bush plan for forcing Medicare beneficiaries to choose Medicare HMOs to get drug benefits over getting to choose or keep their family doctors. That’s silly.
Canadian single-payer health care system is in big trouble
The New York Times reports long waits for health care services in Canada are tarnishing the image of the country’s single-payer system, which seems to be going multi-payer and still leaves 18% of the population without access to health care services.
Colorado fight over small business health insurance and community rating continues
Colorado’s legislators are doing a better job of sorting out a raft of poorly conceived health care reform measures than the editorial page of The Rocky Mountain News, which appears totally confused in this editorial, “Small-group insurance market still ill.”
Colorado • Legislation • Health insurance • Community Rating • Health Insurance Reform • Small Groups • Small Business • Read More
J.D. Power and Health Grades will rank health care providers
Health policy makers and believes in freerer health care markets will applaud the efforts of Denver-based Health Grades and Westlake Village, CA-based J.D. Power and Associates to give buyers more information about the quality of services delivered by hospitals and other providers. Free markets, even regulated free markets, depend on well-informed consumers to make the markets work. Thanks to the Internet, consumers are 500% better informed than they were five years ago, but they still need more and better information. Small businesses interested in containing health care costs should advise their employees to check out how providers are rated by these organizations.
Atlantic Monthly not worried about health policy impact on small businesses
Health care costs and attempts at health care reform have been popular topics at the Atlantic Monthly, but the magazine’s contributors haven’t been very small business oriented. Here’s what a search “health care” turned up on the magazine’s Web site.
States prob associaton health insurance plans for deceptive sales practices
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that Colorado and other states are investigating association-sponsored health insurance plans for small businesses and small employers for deceptive sales practices.
Hospitals seeing increasing demand for beds in New York
Hospitals in New York are seeing a reversal of years of declines in hospital stays as patients age, according to a study by the United Hospital Fund of New York City. The news release follows.
Health plan administrative costs rise slower than health insurance premiums
Health plan administrative costs generated by Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and other insurers are not rising as fast as health insurance premiums, according to a study sponsored by Blue Cross. A press release follows:
Will better educated small business owners buy health insurance?
The Healthcare Leadership Council and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are conducting a one-year pilot program to determine whether there are ways to give owners of small businesses better information about health insurance costs. Press release follows:
Seniors want Medicare drug benefits
Medicare beneficiares want taxpayers to cover the costs of their prescriptions, according to an article in the business section of the Sunday Denver Post. While Marsha Austin’s article reports on some people having trouble paying for their prescriptions and some who are in Medicare HMOs or have retired with generous health benefits, it doesn’t report on the projected costs of drug benefits for Medicare beneficiaries. It doesn’t speculate about how much Medicare payroll taxes would have to rise to pay for drug benefits and how that would affect the take-home pay of workers struggling to feed their kids.