Prices And Health Care Quality: Many Consumers Don’t See A Link

April 8, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews- Most consumers don’t believe the adage that “you get what you pay for” in health care, according to a new study. The report in this month’s issue of the journal Health Affairs analyzed the responses of 2,010 adults to four questions about the relationship between health care prices and quality, such as “Would you say higher prices are typically a sign of better quality medical care or not?” and “If one doctor charged less than another doctor for the same service, would you think that the less expensive doctor is providing lower quality care or would you not think that?”

UnitedHealth Quitting Obamacare Markets in Georgia, Arkansas

April 8, 2016, Bloomberg, Zachery Tracer- UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer, has decided to call it quits in two state Obamacare markets, in the latest challenge to President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul. The insurer won’t sell plans for next year in Georgia and Arkansas, according to state insurance regulators. Tyler Mason, a UnitedHealth spokesman, confirmed the exits and declined to say whether the company would drop out of additional states. Many insurers have found it difficult to turn a profit in the new markets created by the Affordable Care Act, where individuals turned out to be more costly to care for than the companies expected.

Study: More Collaboration Aids Health Care For At-Risk Populations

April 7, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Lisa Gillespie- By teaming with community organizations, doctors and hospitals can deliver high-quality care at good value to disadvantaged people at risk for poor health, according to a new report from a panel of experts. The report released Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine was produced to aid Medicare officials studying how to fairly pay hospitals that disproportionately serve patients with social risk factors for health problems. Those factors include low income, social isolation, disadvantaged neighborhoods and limited health literacy. The report is the second of five commissioned for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Why that woman who yelled at Florida Gov. Rick Scott should be your hero

April 8, 2016, The Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik- The career of Rick Scott, Florida’s Republican governor, has long been one of the outstanding mysteries of the nation’s statehouses. He won his first race for governor in 2010, even though the hospital company he ran until being forced out in 1997, Columbia/HCA, had been accused of defrauding federal healthcare programs and paid $1.7 billion in fines, damages, and penalties, then the largest healthcare fraud settlement in U.S. history. He won reelection in 2014, despite amassing a politically retrograde position on healthcare issues at odds with his supposed expertise in the field.

Despite Fears, Affordable Care Act Has Not Uprooted Employer Coverage

April 4, 2016, The New York Times, Reed Abelson- The Affordable Care Act was aimed mainly at giving people better options for buying health insurance on their own. There were widespread predictions that employers would leap at the chance to drop coverage and send workers to fend for themselves. But those predictions were largely wrong. Most companies, and particularly large employers, that offered coverage before the law have stayed committed to providing health insurance.

By Not Discussing Cost Issues, Doctors, Patients May Miss Chances To Lower Out-Of-Pocket Expenses

April 4, 2016, Kaiser Health News, Shefali Luthra- Talking about money is never easy. But when doctors are reluctant to talk about medical costs, a patient’s health can be undermined. A study published in Monday’s Health Affairs explores the dynamics that can trigger that scenario. Patients are increasingly responsible for shouldering more of their own health costs. In theory, that’s supposed to make them sharper consumers and empower them to trim unnecessary health spending. But previous work has shown it often leads them to skimp on both valuable preventive care and superfluous services alike.