News & Commentary
Frank Diamond

Twenty-five major U.S. companies have banded together to take on rising health care costs. The Health Transformation Alliance envisions a three-pronged approach, the first of which involves companies examining health data the way they examine sales or operations data. That is, closely.

News & Commentary

Joel Kupersmith, head of the VA’s office of research and development, noted in a recent Health Affairs blog post that the effect so far of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act has been small, but “the nose is in the tent, and the care of veterans may change dramatically.” 

Plan Watch
Frank Diamond

A Blues report points to some of the challenges. New buyers of Blues individual coverage in 2014 and 2015 were almost twice (94% higher) as likely to have diabetes as those who had bought individual Blues coverage prior to 2014 and continued with it through 2015.

Robert Calandra

Sabra Matovsky
IHP

Diagnoses of diabetes go up with an expansion that includes many who’ve not managed their disease well. Optimists see a new chance to prevent expensive complications and help with behavioral issues. Here’s hoping that Medicaid managed care plans will bring their technology and monitoring techniques to the fight.

News & Commentary

A recent study by Spanish researchers posited: With the right diagnostic approach, primary care physicians (PCPs) should be able to get a bead on which of their patients might be most susceptible to major depression, and thereby intercept the problem before it begins. It didn’t quite work out that way, unfortunately.

Original Research
David Gregory, MPA
;
Dennis J. Scotti, PhD, MS, MBA
;
Daniel Buck, MBA, MPH
;
George Triadafilopoulos, MD

A minimally invasive endoscopic treatment that utilizes radiofrequency energy (RFE) can fill the gap between medical and surgical management for GERD. There are cost advantages as well. Payers that the adopt RFE can create notable savings to their plans when compared to surgery or medical management.

News & Commentary

Diabetes has become a problem in poor countries because of the growing number of people who are overweight and obese. Prevalence rose from just over 5% to about 7% in high-income countries. Rates in low-income countries rose from just over 3% to more than 7%.

Frank Diamond

Kenneth Thorpe
Emory University

Details are yet to come, but officials hope to replicate the impressive clinical and cost saving achievements garnered in a program that has been run out of selected YMCAs. Medicare officials estimate that the program saved $2,650 per person enrolled in the program over 15 months.

Legislation & Regulation: Campaign 2016
Richard Mark Kirkner

For presidential candidates, advocating for more drug imports as a way of driving down consumer drug costs can make for a neat campaign sound bite. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have embraced the idea, but the reality of importing drugs—or, rather, importing more drugs—isn’t so neat.