Republicans Unveil ACA Alternatives

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As the Republican presidential primary race is heating up, the candidates’ plans to repeal and replace Obamacare are receiving increased attention.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, “The Day One Patient Freedom Plan,” at a factory in Minnesota on Tuesday. His plan includes a number of policy proposals that have long been popular among conservatives, including tort reform, selling health insurance across state lines, and Medicaid block grants for the states. One of ...

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Aetna Poised to Purchase Humana

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Aetna announced plans on Friday to make the largest acquisition ever in the history of the insurance industry. Aetna, the third largest health insurer by revenue, intends to acquire the nation’s fourth largest health insurance company, Humana, for more than $37 billion in stock, cash, and debt. A combined Aetna-Humana would bypass Anthem to become the second largest insurer by revenue and total membership. The deal would also establish Aetna as the largest provider ...

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ACOs Improve Patient Experience

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A study in the October issue of The New England Journal of Medicine found that Accountable Care Organization (ACO) contracts improved patients’ ratings of timely access to care and overall quality of care.

The study examined a group of more than 30,000 Medicare beneficiaries before and after the start of ACO contracts in 2012. Patients reported that their timely access to care improved, as did their primary physicians’ awareness of specialty care. Patients with multiple chronic conditions also reported improved ratings ...

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Healthcare Musings from Jim Mueller

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Baby boomers on Medicare, lower income consumers receiving subsidies for health insurance via the Affordable Care Act, and the expansion of Medicaid means the federal government is more involved in health care than ever.  These massive shifts in health care economics are not new topics for blogs or commentary; however, an article titled “Government Money Often Doesn’t Add Up” in the July 10, 2014 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel compelled me to ask if this is the direction we ...

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Medicare Releases Some of the First Provider Transparency Data

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The federal government released Medicare payment information to the public for the first time this April.  The now public database of Medicare payments covers $77 billion in payments to close to 880,000 health care providers for 2012.  A notable finding within the data is that 2% of the health care providers account for 23% of the Medicare billings.

Providers at the top of the list were quick to dispute their ranking.  Some claimed that multiple practitioners bill under the Medicare number ...

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