KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Linking Doctors’ Pay To Quality Measures May Improve Health Care For Low-Income Patients

A study in Health Affairs finds that one insurer's decision to link doctors' reimbursements to measures of quality showed improved care for all patients but the gains were greater for poorer patients. Another study looks at how small doctor practices and small insurers are being squeezed by their larger competitors.

Boston Globe: New Study Suggests Changing Way Doctors, Hospitals Are Paid Could Narrow Health Disparities 
A Harvard Medical School study suggests that changing the way doctors are paid could narrow some of the health disparities between poorer and wealthier patients. Poverty has long been linked to poorer health, an intractable problem that health care experts have long sought to address. The study suggests that one solution may lie in the way health care providers are compensated by insurers. ... The contract links what physicians are paid to dozens of health care quality measures. When patients score high on those measures and doctors stay under budget, they earn more money. (Dayal McCluskey, 1/9)

The Washington Post: It’s Hard To Be A Small-Time Family Doctor These Days, New Data Shows
The price of health insurance just keeps going up. Until recently, though, a crucial part of how those prices are set was invisible to the public: the negotiations between doctors and insurance companies that determine how much patients are charged. The story of that contest, carried on fiercely behind closed doors for decades, is now partially in public view, and the new data contains tantalizing clues about where prices for health care really come from. ... A survey of the numbers, published this week in Health Affairs, shows that small-time doctor's offices and insurance companies are getting squeezed by their larger competitors. (Ehrenfreund, 1/9)

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