CBO Director Elmendorf Presents Stark Challenges of Reducing Health Care Costs

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 - 9:20
Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 08:22
Ever since the administration's quest for health reform began, the talk has been about "bending the cost curve." The phrase encapsulates the challenges that lay ahead in reducing the nation's rapidly increasing expenditures on health care.

HHS Announces $1 Billion Patient Safety Initiative

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 - 11:54
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - 11:30
The Department of Health and Human Services annouced today the Partnership for Patients, an effort to create public-private cooperation in reducing health care mistakes and promoting better transitions in care from acute settings in hospitals to nursing homes and home-based care settings. The initiative will use up to $1 billion in funding from the health reform law.

More Details On Accountable Care Organizations

Friday, April 1st, 2011 - 9:56
Friday, April 1, 2011 - 09:35
Now that everyone has had more time to digest the hundreds of pages of proposed rules for accountable care organizations, here are some of the highlights. The public will have two months to comment on the proposal, and final rules will be issued by HHS later this year.

Would Accountable Care Organizations Be Adequate Without Patient Incentives?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 - 9:49
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 09:24
As regulators move toward releasing rules governing the formation of accountable care organizations, Mark Lutes and Joel Brill are asking for the inclusion of patient incentives to drive a trend toward cheaper and more efficient care. They suggest that personal responsibility -- or maybe just interest -- among patients is an important factor in lowering costs.

Tough Road Ahead for Medicare Payment Board and Cost-cutting Efforts

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 - 9:26
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 08:04
One of the few cost-cutting provisions in the health reform law has also become one of the main targets for repeal or defunding as implementation of the law moves forward. The Independent Payment Advisory Board is tasked with recommending cuts, starting in 2015, to Medicare spending, which must be adopted or matched in amount by Congress.

The "Doc Fix" Passes the Senate; Federal Regulators Ramping up on Health Care Rules

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 - 9:44
Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 08:26
The Senate, bolstered by support from the Obama administration, has approved another temporary "doc fix" to keep Medicare reimbursement rates from increasing 25 percent for another year, Politico reports. Lawmakers tapped into money set aside for health insurance subsidies under health reform to find the $19 billion required for the "doc fix."

Tentative Medicare Doc Fix Deal Dips into Health Reform Subsidies

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 - 12:09
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 10:45
Politico reports that Senate leaders have reached a "tentative" deal on a Medicare "doc fix" to delay a scheduled reduction in Medicare payments to physicians for one year. Staunch supporters of health reform may view the deal as robbing Peter to pay Paul, however.

How Do You Find A Trillion Dollars?

Monday, October 25th, 2010 - 8:28
Monday, October 25, 2010 - 08:24
Let’s put that savings number in perspective.  The Federal Government spends about $4 trillion every year.  To save $1 trillion over ten years, the Federal government needs to reduce its spending by $100 billion each year, which is 2.5 percent percent of its total spending.  That does not strike us a particularly high hurdle to jump.

Proposals to Address the Deficit

Monday, October 18th, 2010 - 1:22
Friday, October 15, 2010 - 08:18
CBO’s estimates suggest that the government is running a structural deficit of between $500-700 billion each year.  The International Monetary Fund estimates that the annual structural deficit may even reach $1 trillion by 2015 under current policies.  The scale of this fiscal challenge is historically unprecedented. 

The Medicare Report: Are the "Caveats" More Than Caveats?

Monday, August 9th, 2010 - 16:32
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 15:57
Austin Frakt has an interesting commentary today ( in the Kaiser Health News report that asks whether health care cost cutting solutions are more likely to come from the private sector than the government that ushered in health reform.