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What’s happening in the UK? And, what’s it got to do with us?

In the midst of all the focus on election day in the U.S., there was a much overlooked article the same day on changes in the British health care system. The article is about what is called in Great Britain “NICE.” NICE is an acronym that stands for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. NICE was established in 1999 …

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What Now? Health Care Reform after the Midterms

During the campaign, there was a great deal of talk about “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act if the Republicans won in Congress. Well, the Republicans won the House and made significant gains in the Senate. So, what now? Is a repeal of health care reform a likely outcome in the near future? There is very little that is …

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The Safety Net and Health Care Reform

On October 29, CHRT sponsored a symposium to look at issues surrounding the safety net and the future of health care after the Affordable Care Act takes effect. While there are some who believe that getting to (or close to) universal coverage would mean the end of the safety net, our panelists came to the opposite conclusion. That is, we …

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Choices Ahead

The run up to the midterm elections says a lot about American ambivalence about reforming the health care system. The rhetoric about health reform – and the public’s reaction to that rhetoric – underlines why it has been so difficult to reform the health care system for the past 100 years– and, why it still might fail. In general, whenever …

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Can ACOs Create a High Performing Healthcare System in America?

The idea of the “Accountable Care Organization” (ACO) appears to have taken hold well in advance of a clear understanding of what these organizations might be or how they will fit into the overall health care system. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, we’ve been using the term “Organized Systems of Care” (OSC) since 2005, when we began transforming …

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The Hidden Story Behind the Development of Evidence Based Guidelines or, Why It is So Hard to Reduce Health Care Spending Trends

Almost a year ago now, new guidelines on mammography screening were released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The new guidelines updated 2002 recommendations, and based on recent research recommended against routine screening of women ages 40-49. Instead of routine screening, the USPSTF concluded that the decision about screening women 40-49 should be left up to individual women and …

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Health Care Reform – The Six Month Mark

September 23, 2010 may well prove to be a particularly important day in the health care reform journey. On that day, six months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, several key provisions went into effect that were designed to help people see some immediate benefits in advance of the full blown implementation of the law starting in …

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National Health Care Reforms Are Already Beginning

September 23, 2010 marks six months since our new national health care reform law, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), became effective. It remains a controversial undertaking for some, yet a positive step for others. The law’s implementation is a long and complex journey. Much of the spotlight has been on PPACA reforms that begin …

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Actuarial Projections and the ACA: The Good News Story You Never Heard

This week, the esteemed journal Health Affairs published the latest findings from the office of the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), with new estimates on the cost impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS actuaries are now projecting that annual growth in health spending for 2010-2019 will be 0.2 percent higher than projections …

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