KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Recent Studies And Surveys

Georgetown Policy Report: Long-Term Care in Health Care Reform: Policy Options to Improve Both – Policy – Long-term care reform belongs in health care reform -- "The well-being and financial security of families depend not only on access to affordable medical services, but also on access to affordable, reliable long-term care – the daily assistance and supports that many individuals need because of serious medical conditions or disabilities." This policy brief presents four policy options that merit serious consideration in the current health care reform discussion. ... The first two options would improve long-term care for people with low incomes and limited financial resources. These options would modernize Medicaid in important ways, tailoring services better to individual needs and using resources more effectively. The third and fourth options aim to strengthen long-term care protections for the broader population; one with better coordination of medical and long-term care for Medicare enrollees; the other by establishing insurance protection for people of all ages and incomes" (Komisar, Tumlinson, Feder, Burke, 7/16). (Note: KHN's coverage of aging and long term care issues is supported by a grant from The SCAN Foundation.)

Health Affairs: Effects Of Childhood Obesity On Hospital Care And Costs, 1999–2005 -- "Childhood obesity is increasingly recognized as an epidemic, but the economic consequences have not been well quantified," write the authors of a Health Affairs study that examines "trends in obesity-associated hospitalizations, charges, and costs using 1999–2005 data from a nationally representative sample of admissions to U.S. hospitals." The authors report "a near-doubling in hospitalizations with a diagnosis of obesity between 1999 and 2005 and an increase in costs from $125.9 million to 237.6 million (in 2005 dollars) between 2001 and 2005." The study revealed that while Medicaid bears "a large burden of hospitalizations for conditions that occur along with obesity," "private payers pay a greater portion of hospitalization costs to treat obesity itself" (Trasande, Liu, Fryer and Weitzman, 7/9).

Commonwealth Fund: How Health Care Reform Can Lower the Costs of Insurance Administration -- The U.S. could save "as much as $265 billion in administrative costs from 2010 to 2020" by "including both private and public insurance choices in a new insurance exchange," according to Commonwealth Fund description of the report. "A Commonwealth Fund analysis of three paths to reform found that an approach that includes a public plan in the exchange that would pay providers at Medicare rates would save about $265 billion in administrative costs over 2010-2020" compared to "an insurance exchange that provided a choice of private plans," resulting in an "increase in administrative costs by $32 billion over the same period" (Collins, Nuzum, Rustgi, Mika, Schoen and Davis, 7/16).


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