Penn’s Second Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Health Equity Symposium drew attention to the importance of inclusion and diversity in medical education and research on both a national and local level. A panel of Penn faculty, including several LDI Senior Fellows, directly confronted the barriers to inclusion at Penn, and Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States, shared a detailed account of his rise from an impoverished Hispanic family in Harlem, New York to the prestigious post as the “doctor for the nation” in the Bush administration.
LDI Senior Fellow Guy David has written an excellent thought-piece on “retainer-based medicine” (RBM) on the Medica Research Institute blog. In it, he reviews the construct and context of this practice model, which includes both concierge medicine and direct primary care. He notes that there is little evidence on key aspects of RBM, and calls for research on its effects on patient outcomes, physician satisfaction, downstream utilization and cost, and communities at large. These answers are sorely needed.
We may be witnessing the death of the Cadillac tax…a slow, Washington, DC style, death. The two-year delay in the tax, included in the end-of-year budget deal, was the first major legislative change to the ACA and the tax’s first figurative “nail in the coffin”.
It is cold outside, but certain health policy debates are hot enough to thaw even snowy Philadelphia. Puns aside, 2016 looks like it will provide no shortage of interesting health policy developments. Here’s what we expect to be talking about in 2016 on Insurance Reform, one of our key research and policy themes.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, providing ACA-related subsidies for individual health insurance was expected to cost $28 billion in 2015, while tax exemptions for employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) cost the federal government approximately $250 billion in lost tax revenue each year. In a recent Health Affairs article, my co-authors and I investigate the economic tradeoffs and potential effects of alternative proposals for reallocating the ESI tax subsidies. Many of the proposals share the goal of “leveling the playing field” between the individual and employer insurance markets, typically by equalizing the subsidy that individuals can receive in the two markets.
Despite decades of calls for increased representation of minorities in the health professions workforce, we ae very far away from a workforce that reflects this nation’s diversity. Underrepresented minorities make up 31% of the general population, but just 15% of medical school students and 13% of dental students. A new study helps us understand the barriers minority college students face in pursuing medical and dental careers.
The question of whether and how much hospitals cross-subsidize unprofitable services with more profitable ones is an important one, especially as wide variation in hospital pricing within and across markets is documented. If prices become more transparent, and a hospital’s revenues from high-margin services drops, will hospitals reduce the amount of less profitable, though socially important, services they provide?
A new study casts doubt on the effectiveness of reducing health insurance premiums as a way to encourage employees to lose weight. LDI Senior Fellow Mitesh Patel and his team, in a randomized controlled trial, test the effectiveness of a $550 incentive on promoting weight loss in obese employees. They found no difference in weight loss over the course of one year between the control group and three different kinds of incentive programs.
2015 was quite a year for the LDI Blog. It got a new name, Health Policy$ense, which reflects our continuing focus on bringing health economics to bear on health policy issues. In its second full year, the blog had 95 posts, with contributions from our expert Senior Fellows and Fellows, experts from elsewhere, super-smart Penn students and of course our great staff. Here are some of my favorites.
Although Section 1557 of the ACA may not be well known to the public, it took center stage at the recent Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) annual conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference educates practitioners and students about the unique health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LBGTQ) individuals and families, and reports on the latest research on LGBTQ health. Here are some of the latest research and policy developments emerging from the conference.
December 2, 2015 [This blog originally appeared on the PolicyLab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia blog. View the original blog post here]
As the number of children publicly insured through the Medicaid and CHIP programs in this country nears 50%, it’s a good time to assess the relative value of these programs to the large number of families who depend on them to ensure the health of their children. In JAMA Pediatrics, our Children's Hospital of Philadelphia research team provides recent data on the relative value of Medicaid, CHIP, and commercial insurance for low- and moderate-income families in this country.
President Obama has challenged 20 cities to decrease the number of uninsured people who have not yet signed up for insurance on the Healthcare.gov Marketplace. Timed with the start of the Marketplace’s third open enrollment period on November 1, the Healthy Communities Challenge pits 20 cities against each other to win bragging rights and a visit from him. Philadelphia is one of the cities. Will the city rise to the occasion? We asked some of our expert Senior Fellows for their recommendations on what it will take to make the Challenge a success.