America's health care system is characterized by rising costs, increasing numbers of Americans who lack health insurance coverage, and poor quality of health care delivery. The convergence of these factors is adversely affecting not only the health of Americans but also the ability of businesses to compete successfully in a global marketplace. AARP and other nonprofit organizations are collaborating with the private sector to have more people covered by health insurance and to educate them to make behavioral choices that prevent chronic disease and ultimately lower costs.
In the transition from a planned economy to a market-oriented economy, China’s state funding for health care declined and traditional coverage plans collapsed, leaving China’s poor exposed to potentially ruinous health care costs. In reforming health care for the 21st century, equity in health care financing has become a major policy goal. To assess progress towards this goal, this paper examines the equity characteristics of health care financing in a province of northwestern China, comparing the equity performance between urban and rural areas at two different points in time.
Analysis of whether health care financing contributions were progressive according to income were made using the Kakwani index for each of the four health care financing channels of general taxes, public and private health insurance, and out-of-pocket payments. Two rounds of surveys were conducted, the first in 2003 (13,619 individuals in 3946 households) and the second in 2008 (12,973 individuals in 3958 households). Household socio-economic, health care payment, and utilization information were recorded in household interviews.
Low-income households have undertaken a larger share of the health care financing burden in recent years, reflected by negative Kakwani indices, which indicate a regressive system. We found that the indices for general taxation were −0.0024 (urban) and −0.0281 (rural) in 2002, and −0.0177 (urban) and −0.0097 (rural) in 2007. Public health insurance presented different financing distributions in urban and rural areas (urban: 0.0742 in 2002, 0.0661 in 2007; rural: –0.0615 in 2002,–0.1436 in 2007.). Out-of-pocket payments were progressive but not equitable. Public health insurance coverage has expanded but financing equity has decreased.
Health care financing policies in China need ongoing reform. Given the inequity of general consumption taxes, elimination of these would improve financing equity considerably. Optimizing benefit packages in public health insurance is as important as expanding coverage, both for health care financing and for utilization management as well. Although they are progressive, out-of-pocket payments are not equitable in China and have the effect of excluding the poor from health care as they cannot afford to pay for medical care and so withdraw from treatment.
Equity; Chinese health care reform; Financing; Kakwani index
The medical component of workers' compensation programs-now costing over $24 billion annually-and the rest of the nation's medical care system are linked. They share the same patients and providers. They provide similar benefits and services. And they struggle over who should pay for what. Clearly, health care reform and restructuring will have a major impact on the operation and expenditures of the workers' compensation system. For a brief period, during the 1994 national health care reform debate, these two systems were part of the same federal policy development and legislative process. With comprehensive health care reform no longer on the horizon, states now are tackling both workers' compensation and medical system reforms on their own. This paper reviews the major issues federal and state policy makers face as they consider reforms affecting the relationship between workers' compensation and traditional health insurance. What is the relationship of the workers' compensation cost crisis to that in general health care? What strategies are being considered by states involved in reforming the medical component of workers compensation? What are the major policy implications of these strategies?
In this paper, we use publicly available data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey - Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) to investigate the effect of Massachusetts’ health reform plan on employer-sponsored insurance premiums. We tabulate premium growth for private-sector employers in Massachusetts and the United States as a whole for 2004 – 2008. We estimate the effect of the plan as the difference in premium growth between Massachusetts and the United States between 2006 and 2008—that is, before versus after the plan—over and above the difference in premium growth for 2004 to 2006. We find that health reform in Massachusetts increased single-coverage employer-sponsored insurance premiums by about 6 percent, or $262. Although our research design has important limitations, it does suggest that policy makers should be concerned about the consequences of health reform for the cost of private insurance.
The Government of the Republic of Kenya is in the process of implementing health care reforms. However, poor knowledge about costs of health care services is perceived as a major obstacle towards evidence-based, effective and efficient health care reforms. Against this background, the Ministry of Health of Kenya in cooperation with its development partners conducted a comprehensive costing exercise and subsequently developed the Kenya Health Sector Costing Model in order to fill this data gap.
Based on standard methodology of costing of health care services in developing countries, standard questionnaires and analyses were employed in 207 health care facilities representing different trustees (e.g. Government, Faith Based/Nongovernmental, private-for-profit organisations), levels of care and regions (urban, rural). In addition, a total of 1369 patients were randomly selected and asked about their demand-sided costs. A standard step-down costing methodology was applied to calculate the costs per service unit and per diagnosis of the financial year 2006/2007.
The total costs of essential health care services in Kenya were calculated as 690 million Euros or 18.65 Euro per capita. 54% were incurred by public sector facilities, 17% by Faith Based and other Nongovernmental facilities and 23% in the private sector. Some 6% of the total cost is due to the overall administration provided directly by the Ministry and its decentralised organs. Around 37% of this cost is absorbed by salaries and 22% by drugs and medical supplies. Generally, costs of lower levels of care are lower than of higher levels, but health centres are an exemption. They have higher costs per service unit than district hospitals.
The results of this study signify that the costs of health care services are quite high compared with the Kenyan domestic product, but a major share are fixed costs so that an increasing coverage does not necessarily increase the health care costs proportionally. Instead, productivity will rise in particular in under-utilized private health care institutions. The results of this study also show that private-for-profit health care facilities are not only the luxurious providers catering exclusively for the rich but also play an important role in the service provision for the poorer population. The study findings also demonstrated a high degree of cost variability across private providers, suggesting differences in quality and efficiencies.
In Finland, dental services are provided by a public (PDS) and a private sector. In the past, children, young adults and special needs groups were entitled to care and treatment from the public dental services (PDS). A major reform in 2001 – 2002 opened the PDS and extended subsidies for private dental services to all adults. It aimed to increase equity by improving adults' access to oral health care and reducing cost barriers. The aim of this study was to assess the impacts of the reform on the utilization of publicly funded and private dental services, numbers and distribution of personnel and costs in 2000 and in 2004, before and after the oral health care reform. An evaluation was made of how the health political goals of the reform: integrating oral health care into general health care, improving adults' access to care and lowering cost barriers had been fulfilled during the study period.
National registers were used as data sources for the study. Use of dental services, personnel resources and costs in 2000 (before the reform) and in 2004 (after the reform) were compared.
In 2000, when access to publicly subsidised dental services was restricted to those born in 1956 or later, every third adult used the PDS or subsidised private services. By 2004, when subsidies had been extended to the whole adult population, this increased to almost every second adult. The PDS reported having seen 118 076 more adult patients in 2004 than in 2000. The private sector had the same number of patients but 542 656 of them had not previously been entitled to partial reimbursement of fees.
The use of both public and subsidised private services increased most in big cities and urban municipalities where access to the PDS had been poor and the number of private practitioners was high. The PDS employed more dentists (6.5%) and the number of private practitioners fell by 6.9%. The total dental care expenditure (PDS plus private) increased by 21% during the study period. Private patients who had previously not been entitled to reimbursements seemed to gain most from the reform.
The results of this study indicate that implementation of a substantial reform, that changes the traditionally defined tasks of the public and private sectors in an established oral health care provision system, proceeds slowly, is expensive and probably requires more stringent steering than was the case in Finland 2001 – 2004. However, the equity and fairness of the oral health care provision system improved and access to services and cost-sharing improved slightly.
The government of Morocco approved two reforms in 2005 to expand health insurance coverage. The first is a payroll-based mandatory health insurance plan for public-and formal private–sector employees to extend coverage from the current 16 percent of the population to 30 percent. The second creates a publicly financed fund to cover services for the poor. Both reforms aim to improve access to high-quality care and reduce disparities in access and financing between income groups and between rural and urban dwellers. In this paper we analyze these reforms: the pre-reform debate, benefits covered, financing, administration, and oversight. We also examine prospects and future challenges for implementing the reforms.
The use of primary and managed care is likely to increase under proposed federal health care reform. I review the definition of primary care and primary care physicians and show that this delivery model can affect access to medical care, the cost of treatment, and the quality of services. Because the use of primary care is often greater in managed care than in fee-for-service, I compare the two insurance systems to further understand the delivery of primary care. Research suggests that primary care can help meet the goal of providing accessible, cost-effective, and high-quality care, but that changes in medical education and marketplace incentives will be needed to encourage students and trained physicians to enter this field.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) aims to provide affordable health insurance and expanded health care coverage for some 32 million Americans. The PPACA makes provisions for using technology, evidence-based treatments, and integrated, patient-centered care to modernize the delivery of health care services. These changes are designed to ensure effectiveness, efficiency, and cost-savings within the health care system.
To gauge the addiction treatment field’s readiness for health reform, the authors developed a Health Reform Readiness Index (HRRI) survey for addiction treatment agencies. Addiction treatment administrators and providers from around the United States completed the survey located on the http://www.niatx.net website. Respondents self-assessed their agencies based on 13 conditions pertinent to health reform readiness, and received a confidential score and instant feedback.
On a scale of “Needs to Begin,” “Early Stages,” “On the Way,” and “Advanced,” the mean scores for respondents (n = 276) ranked in the Early Stages of health reform preparation for 11 of 13 conditions. Of greater concern was that organizations with budgets of < $5 million (n = 193) were less likely than those with budgets > $5 million to have information technology (patient records, patient health technology, and administrative information technology), evidence-based treatments, quality management systems, a continuum of care, or a board of directors informed about PPACA.
The findings of the HRRI indicate that the addiction field, and in particular smaller organizations, have much to do to prepare for a future environment that has greater expectations for information technology use, a credentialed workforce, accountability for patient care, and an integrated continuum of care.
Health care reform; Addiction treatment; Substance use disorder treatment; SUD; Behavioral health; Organizational change; Care delivery; Health reform readiness index
Accounting for 36% of public spending on health care in Canada, hospitals are a major target for cost reductions through various efficiency initiatives. Some provinces are considering payment reform as a vehicle to achieve this goal. With few exceptions, Canadian provinces have generally relied on global and line-item budgets to contain hospital costs. There is growing interest amongst policy-makers for using activity based funding (ABF) as means of creating financial incentives for hospitals to increase the 'volume' of care, reduce cost, discourage unnecessary activity, and encourage competition. British Columbia (B.C.) is the first province in Canada to implement ABF for partial reimbursement of acute hospitalization. To date, there have been no formal examinations of the effects of ABF policies in Canada.
This study proposal addresses two research questions designed to determine whether ABF policies affect health system costs, access and hospital quality. The first question examines the impact of the hospital funding policy change on internal hospital activity based on expenditures and quality. The second question examines the impact of the change on non-hospital care, including readmission rates, amount of home care provided, and physician expenditures.
A longitudinal study design will be used, incorporating comprehensive population-based datasets of all B.C. residents; hospital, continuing care and physician services datasets will also be used. Data will be linked across sources using anonymized linking variables. Analytic datasets will be created for the period between 2005/2006 and 2012/2013.
With Canadian hospitals unaccustomed to detailed scrutiny of what services are provided, to whom, and with what results, the move toward ABF is significant. This proposed study will provide evidence on the impacts of ABF, including changes in the type, volume, cost, and quality of services provided. Policy- and decision-makers in B.C. and elsewhere in Canada will be able to use this evidence as a basis for policy adaptations and modifications. The significance of this proposed study derives from the fact that the change in hospital funding policy has the potential to affect health system costs, residents' access to care and care quality.
The current proliferation of proposals for health care reform makes it difficult to sort out the differences among plans and the likely outcome of different approaches to reform. The current health care system has two basic features. The first, enrollment and eligibility functions, includes how people get into the system and gain coverage for health care services. We describe 4 models, ranging from an individual, voluntary approach to a universal, tax-based model. The second, the provision of health care, includes how physician services are organized, how they are paid for, what mechanisms are in place for quality assurance, and the degree of organization and oversight of the health care system. We describe 7 models of the organization component, including the current fee-for-service system with no national health budget, managed care, salaried providers under a budget, and managed competition with and without a national health budget. These 2 components provide the building blocks for health care plans, presented as a matrix. We also evaluate several reform proposals by how they combine these 2 elements.
Massachusetts health reform has achieved near-universal insurance coverage, yet little is known about the effects of this legislation on disparities.
Since racial/ethnic minorities and low-income individuals are over-represented among the uninsured, we assessed the effects of health reform on disparities.
Cross-sectional survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), 2006–2008.
Adults from Massachusetts (n = 36,505) and other New England states (n = 63,263).
Self-reported health coverage, inability to obtain care due to cost, access to a personal doctor, and health status. To control for trends unrelated to reform, we compared adults in Massachusetts to those in all other New England states using multivariate logistic regression models to calculate adjusted predicted probabilities.
Overall, the adjusted predicted probability of health coverage in Massachusetts rose from 94.7% in 2006 to 97.7% in 2008, whereas coverage in New England remained around 92% (p < 0.001 for difference-in-difference). While cost-related barriers were reduced in Massachusetts, there were no improvements in access to a personal doctor or health status. Although there were improvements in coverage and cost-related barriers for some disadvantaged groups relative to trends in New England, there was no narrowing of disparities in large part because of comparable or larger improvements among whites and the non-poor.
Achieving equity in health and health care may require additional focused intervention beyond health reform.
health coverage; health care reform; Massachusetts
The Medicare program, the largest health insurance program in the United States, is clearly at a crossroads as it enters its third decade. Historical increases in health care expenditures, plus a changing political and economic landscape, have set the groundwork for policy reform. Two basic reform strategies--reimbursement arrangements and program funding mechanisms--are discussed. In 1983, Congress enacted the Prospective Payment System (PPS) which initiated a fundamental change in the way hospitals are paid for care delivered to Medicare beneficiaries. But the PPS is only a stepping-stone to broader reforms such as capitation and vouchers. In addition, new methods of program funding may be necessary, especially in light of policymakers' considerations of coverage of services such as long term care and organ transplants.
To examine changes in postacute care (PAC) use during the initial Medicare payment reforms enacted by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
We used claims data from the 5 percent Medicare beneficiary sample in 1996, 1998, and 2000. Linked data from the Denominator file, Provider of Service file, and Area Resource File provided additional patient, hospital, and market-area characteristics.
Six disease groups with high PAC use were selected for analysis. We used multinomial logit regression to examine how PAC use differed by year of service, controlling for patient, hospital, and market-area characteristics.
There were major changes in PAC use, and a portion of services shifted to settings where reimbursement remained cost-based. During the first reform, the home health agency interim payment system, home health use decreased consistently across disease groups. This decrease was accompanied by increased use in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Following the implementation of the prospective payment system for SNFs, the use of inpatient rehabilitation facilities increased.
The shift in usage among settings occurred in two stages that corresponded to the timing of payment reforms for home health agencies and SNFs. Evidence strongly suggests the substitutability between PAC settings. Financial incentives, in addition to clinical needs and individual preferences, play a major role in PAC use.
Postacute care; skilled nursing facility; rehabilitation; home health care; Balanced Budget Act
Uganda is proposing introduction of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) in a phased manner with the view to obtaining additional funding for the health sector and promoting financial risk protection. In this paper, we have assessed the proposed NHIS from an equity perspective, exploring the extent to which NHIS would improve existing disparities in the health sector.
We reviewed the proposed design and other relevant documents that enhanced our understanding of contextual issues. We used the Kutzin and fair financing frameworks to critically assess the impact of NHIS on overall equity in financing in Uganda.
The introduction of NHIS is being proposed against the backdrop of inequalities in the distribution of health system inputs between rural and urban areas, different levels of care and geographic areas. In this assessment, we find that gradual implementation of NHIS will result in low coverage initially, which might pose a challenge for effective management of the scheme. The process for accreditation of service providers during the first phase is not explicit on how it will ensure that a two-tier service provision arrangement does not emerge to cater for different types of patients. If the proposed fee-for-service mechanism of reimbursing providers is pursued, utilisation patterns will determine how resources are allocated. This implies that equity in resource allocation will be determined by the distribution of accredited providers, and checks put in place to prohibit frivolous use. The current design does not explicitly mention how these two issues will be tackled. Lastly, there is no clarity on how the NHIS will fit into, and integrate within existing financing mechanisms.
Under the current NHIS design, the initial low coverage in the first years will inhibit optimal achievement of the important equity characteristics of pooling, cross-subsidisation and financial protection. Depending on the distribution of accredited providers and utilisation patterns, the NHIS could worsen existing disparities in access to services, given the fee-for-service reimbursement mechanisms currently proposed. Lastly, if equity in financing and resource allocation are not explicit objectives of the NHIS, it might inadvertently worsen the existing disparities in service provision.
In this article, we examine the financing mechanisms for graduate medical education (GME) in the United States. In so doing, we identify Medicare as the single largest contributor to GME and the most important barrier to producing a physician workforce that is appropriately sized, balanced, and skilled. Until passage of the 1997 Budget Reconciliation Agreement, the structure of Medicare payments promoted overproduction and skewed production toward training specialists in tertiary settings. We then examine the various reform proposals put forward by major health care organizations and policy bodies. These organizations generally agree on seven policy objectives: Remove incentives that promote expanded resident production; Base the GME subsidy on actual costs and distribute it more uniformly; Focus reductions on specialty residency positions; Provide GME payments for training provided in ambulatory, community, and managed care sites; Decouple Medicare GME reimbursement from payments to health maintenance organizations for patient care; Require all health insurers to contribute to GME; and Ensure that reductions in the GME subsidy do not reduce access to care for low-income persons. A myriad of different mechanisms for achieving these objectives have been recommended, many of which could be melded together to form a comprehensive approach to GME reform. The prospects for meaningful GME reform are dim in the absence of broader Medicare reform. The costs to stake-holders are too concentrated while the benefits to the public are too diffuse for GME reform to stand alone. But the political imperative to deal with the federal budget's short-term deficit and Medicare's long-term solvency will likely create an opportunity for GME reform. An addendum has been added that shows how the 1997 Budget Reconciliation Agreement addresses most of the major reform objectives identified but that several important issues remain unresolved.
To analyze the effects of health reform efforts in two large states—New York and Massachusetts.
Data Sources/Study Setting
National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data from 1999 to 2008.
We take advantage of the “natural experiments” that occurred in New York and Massachusetts to compare health insurance coverage and health care access and use for adults before and after the implementation of the health policy changes. To control for underlying trends not related to the reform initiatives, we subtract changes in the outcomes over the same time period for comparison groups of adults who were not affected by the policy changes using a differences-in-differences framework. The analyses are conducted using multiple comparison groups and different time periods as a check on the robustness of the findings.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
Nonelderly adults ages 19–64 in the NHIS.
We find evidence of the success of the initiatives in New York and Massachusetts at expanding insurance coverage, with the greatest gains reported by the initiative that was broadest in scope—the Massachusetts push toward universal coverage. There is no evidence of improvements in access to care in New York, reflecting the small gains in coverage under that state's reform effort and the narrow focus of the initiative. In contrast, there were significant gains in access to care in Massachusetts, where the impact on insurance coverage was greater and a more comprehensive set of reforms were implemented to improve access to a full array of health care services. The estimated gains in coverage and access to care reported here for Massachusetts were achieved in the early period under health reform, before the state's reform initiative was fully implemented.
Comprehensive reform initiatives are more successful at addressing gaps in coverage and access to care than are narrower efforts, highlighting the potential gains under national health reform. Tracking the implications of national health reform will be challenging, as sample sizes and content in existing national surveys are not currently sufficient for in-depth evaluations of the impacts of reform within many states.
Health reform; uninsurance; public coverage; employer-sponsored insurance coverage; crowd-out; health care access and use
Twenty-five years ago, private insurance plans were introduced into the Medicare program with the stated dual aims of (1) giving beneficiaries a choice of health insurance plans beyond the fee-for-service Medicare program and (2) transferring to the Medicare program the efficiencies and cost savings achieved by managed care in the private sector.
In this article we review the economic history of Medicare Part C, known today as Medicare Advantage, focusing on the impact of major changes in the program’s structure and of plan payment methods on trends in the availability of private plans, plan enrollment, and Medicare spending. Additionally, we compare the experience of Medicare Advantage and of employer-sponsored health insurance with managed care over the same time period.
Beneficiaries’ access to private plans has been inconsistent over the program’s history, with higher plan payments resulting in greater choice and enrollment and vice versa. But Medicare Advantage generally has cost more than the traditional Medicare program, an overpayment that has increased in recent years.
Major changes in Medicare Advantage’s payment rules are needed in order to simultaneously encourage the participation of private plan, the provision of high-quality care, and to save Medicare money.
Medicare; managed care; health care costs
The role of defensive medicine in driving up health care costs is hotly contended. Physicians and health policy experts in particular tend to have sharply divergent views on the subject. Physicians argue that defensive medicine is a significant driver of health care cost inflation. Policy analysts, on the other hand, observe that malpractice reform, by itself, will probably not do much to reduce costs. We argue that both answers are incomplete. Ultimately, malpractice reform is a necessary but insufficient component of medical cost containment. The evidence suggests that defensive medicine accounts for a small but non-negligible fraction of health care costs. Yet the traditional medical malpractice reforms that many physicians desire will not assuage the various pressures that lead providers to overprescribe and overtreat. These reforms may, nevertheless, be necessary to persuade physicians to accept necessary changes in their practice patterns as part of the larger changes to the health care payment and delivery systems that cost containment requires.
defensive medicine; medical malpractice; health care costs; health care reform
Increased access to health care, including addiction treatment, has long been a goal of health reform in the U.S. An unanswered question is whether reform will change the way people get to addiction treatment; when treatment is easily accessible, do individuals self-refer, or do they still enter treatment via ultimatums, and if so, from which sources? To begin examining this, we used a single case study of a U.S. health plan that provides access similar to that called for in health reform.
Using a case study method of data from studies conducted in a large, private non-profit, integrated managed care health plan which includes addiction services, we examined the prevalence and source of ultimatums to enter treatment, and the characteristics of those receiving them. The plan is highly representative of changes to U.S. health care and other countries due to health reform.
Many individuals entering addiction treatment had received an ultimatum stemming from employment, legal, medical, and family sources. Having more employment problems, an occupation with public safety concerns, being older, male, and ethnicity predicted an employment ultimatum. Higher legal problem severity predicted a legal ultimatum. More men (and younger people) had family ultimatums, and more women (and older people) had medical ultimatums. Being younger, male, married, having higher employment and family problem severity, and being drug or combined drug/alcohol dependent rather than dependent on alcohol-only predicted an ultimatum from one’s family. On the whole, an ultimatum from one source was not related to having one from another source. Those most likely to receive ultimatums from multiple sources were women, those separated/divorced, and those having higher psychiatric and legal problem severity.
Even in an insured population with good access to addiction treatment, individuals often receive ultimatums to enter treatment rather than being self-referred. Understanding the treatment entry process, and how it is affected by health care systems, could benefit from international and other comparative research.
alcohol and drug treatment systems; treatment entry; coercion
Canada could slash public-health expenditures by 15% with no reduction in Canadians' health status by substituting less costly types of delivery and forms of treatment in more appropriate settings, says the recently released report of the Queen's-University of Ottawa Project on Cost-effectiveness of the Canadian Health Care System. Sustainable Health Care for Canada concludes that the system could be made more efficient by reducing the number of acute-care beds and cutting patients' length of stay in hospital. It also suggests substituting continuing care for acute care and relying less on institutionalization of the elderly and more on alternatives such as residential or community care. The report also suggests that as Canada experiments with decentralization, it may be time to look at other regulatory models for health care, including the mixed-market approach.
Indian health system is characterized by a vast public health infrastructure which lies underutilized, and a largely unregulated private market which caters to greater need for curative treatment. High out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenditures poses barrier to access for healthcare. Among those who get hospitalized, nearly 25% are pushed below poverty line by catastrophic impact of OOP healthcare expenditure. Moreover, healthcare costs are spiraling due to epidemiologic, demographic, and social transition. Hence, the need for risk pooling is imperative. The present article applies economic theories to various possibilities for providing risk pooling mechanism with the objective of ensuring equity, efficiency, and quality care. Asymmetry of information leads to failure of actuarially administered private health insurance (PHI). Large proportion of informal sector labor in India's workforce prevents major upscaling of social health insurance (SHI). Community health insurance schemes are difficult to replicate on a large scale. We strongly recommend institutionalization of tax-funded Universal Health Insurance Scheme (UHIS), with complementary role of PHI. The contextual factors for development of UHIS are favorable. SHI schemes should be merged with UHIS. Benefit package of this scheme should include preventive and in-patient curative care to begin with, and gradually include out-patient care. State-specific priorities should be incorporated in benefit package. Application of such an insurance system besides being essential to the goals of an effective health system provides opportunity to regulate private market, negotiate costs, and plan health services efficiently. Purchaser-provider split provides an opportunity to strengthen public sector by allowing providers to compete.
Equity; health insurance; health financing; India; universal healthcare
To examine the impact of a Wisconsin health care reform enacted in early 2008 on public insurance enrollment and retention.
Administrative data covering the period January 2007 to November 2009.
We calculate unadjusted enrollment trends and exit rates stratified by age, income group, and enrollment mode. Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards models are estimated to assess the impact of the reform on program exits.
Overall enrollment increased by approximately one-third and exit rates decreased by approximately one-fifth. The majority of new enrollment came from the previously income eligible.
Wisconsin's enactment of eligibility expansions coupled with administrative simplification and targeted marketing and outreach efforts were successful in enrolling and retaining low-income children and families in public coverage.
Medicaid expansions; health care reform; health insurance
To estimate the effect of growth in health care costs that outpaces gross domestic product (GDP) growth (“excess” growth in health care costs) on employment, gross output, and value added to GDP of U.S. industries.
We analyzed data from 38 U.S. industries for the period 1987–2005. All data are publicly available from various government agencies.
We estimated bivariate and multivariate regressions. To develop the regression models, we assumed that rapid growth in health care costs has a larger effect on economic performance for industries where large percentages of workers receive employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI). We used the estimated regression coefficients to simulate economic outcomes under alternative scenarios of health care cost inflation.
Faster growth in health care costs had greater adverse effects on economic outcomes for industries with larger percentages of workers who had ESI. We found that a 10 percent increase in excess growth in health care costs would have resulted in 120,803 fewer jobs, US$28,022 million in lost gross output, and US$14,082 million in lost value added in 2005. These declines represent 0.17 to 0.18 percent of employment, gross output, and value added in 2005.
Excess growth in health care costs is adversely affecting the economic performance of U.S. industries.
Health care costs; economy; employment; industry; employer-sponsored health insurance
National health insurance reform will pose considerable challenges to the core missions of safety net organizations that serve the uninsured. Those who currently donate money or time will, rightly or wrongly, view uninsured recipients as less deserving on the whole. Nevertheless, safety net organizations can serve several critical functions that continue to justify their existence and support.
One important mission is to maintain access for low-income uninsured until all elements of insurance reform are fully in place. Second, once the reform is implemented, people will need a great deal of assistance and encouragement to determine what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to sign up. Third, substantial portions of the remaining uninsured will continue to lack affordable insurance options, and large numbers of people eligible for coverage will unavoidably undergo temporary gaps in coverage as their family and financial circumstances change. Finally, not all people with insurance will have affordable access to all needed care. Market conditions will continue pushing higher levels of patient cost-sharing through deductibles and co-payments.
To serve these multiple needs, safety net organizations should consider adapting their missions and business models so that they accept both insured and uninsured patients under a sliding fee scale that varies charges according to ability to pay.
uninsured; safety net; insurance reform