California Insurers Lose a Big Court Case In the Health Insurance Policy Rescission Controversy

Friday, December 28, 2007
Here's one for a Harvard Business School case study: A few months before voters in the state are going to decide the future of your industry get into a losing battle about retroactively canceling sick peoples' health insurance policies.A unanimous California Appeals Court decision has decided that California health insurers have a responsibility to check the accuracy of applications for health

The First Year For This Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2007
This month marks the first anniversary for this blog.As of today, folks have visited 95,558 times. From less than a thousand visitors that first month, 14,000 a month now visit and that number continues to grow briskly.As long as you keep reading it, I'll keep writing it.

A November Ballot Initiative Over California Health Reform Would Be The Biggest Thing Ever To Happen In The Debate

With news that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and the Democratic controlled General Assembly have agreed on a health reform proposal we may be on the cusp of a huge referendum on the Democratic version of health care reform.The next step is for the State Senate to approve the plan. The Assembly approved it earlier this month on a party-line vote with Republicans in opposition. The

Why Couldn't CIGNA Make the Right Decision In the First Place?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The Christmas weekend was full of news stories about a 17 year-old girl who was denied a liver transplant by CIGNA.The insurer ultimately reversed its decision but the girl died a short time later.I have no idea if the outcome would have been different had CIGNA made the decision to approve the transplant in the first place.Health insurance contracts--and government plans like Medicare and

"Health Care Quote of the Year"

Brian Klepper joins us again today with his nomination for the "Health Care Quote of the Year."Health Care Quote of the Yearby Brian KlepperI was reading through some other peoples’ blog posts yesterday and came across this straightforward statement by Paul Levy, the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Paul made news by establishing a blog called "Running a Hospital."I think

Washington Post: McCain "Has Some Good Ideas on Health Care"

Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Washington Post is not known for favoring Republican prescriptions for health care reform. That is why their editorial today calling the McCain health care reform proposal, "the most detailed and thoughtful of the Republican proposals," caught my eye.McCain has gone further in some respects than his Republican opponents on health care. Instead of providing people with a tax deduction, McCain

The State of Primary Care--How Much Responsibility Do Specialty Physicians Bear?

Our good friend Brian Klepper, posting over at "The Health Care Blog," has some provocative things to say about the state of primary care and the role the specialties, and even the American Medical Association, have had in getting us to where we are.Among Brian's points:"American primary care is a shambles, and it is now clear that it will not be viable in the future unless significant changes

The Shadegg Bill––A “Health-Insurance Solution” That Is a Waste of Time

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Merrill Mathews, writing on yesterday’s Wall Street Journal op-ed page, asks why Representative John Shadegg’s (R-AZ) “Health Care Choice Act” isn’t a “no-brainer” for the Congress to pass.Shadegg’s proposal would enable consumers to buy a health insurance policy in any state thereby bypassing the states with the most costly benefit mandates. At the top of his costly mandate list are state “

Health Wonk Review Is Up!

David Harlow over at the "HealthBlawg" has a particularly entertaining holiday edition of Health Wonk Review up. It covers some of the best posts in recent weeks from the world of health blogs.

Republican Candidates Wouldn't Have Been Able To Get Coverage Under Their Own Health Reform Plans

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Republican presidential candidates have called for a greater reliance upon the individual health insurance market. But many of these same candidates have had cancer and wouldn't have been able to get individual coverage under their own health reform plans at the time of their treatment.Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar had a great story in the Los Angeles Times recently.Ricardo points out that Rudy

Mike Huckabee's Health Care Plan

Monday, December 10, 2007
Mike Huckabee is now among the front runners for the Republican nomination. So, what is his health care plan?First, he doesn't have a plan so much as a set of principles that would have to be detailed. On the surface he seems to want a lot of it both ways--no more government but lots of new program ideas. For example, he calls for tax credits to help low-income people purchase health insurance

More People Think Health Care Is An Urgent Issue Than Think The Iraq War Is

Thursday, December 6, 2007
A recent Wall Street Journal poll caught my eye.The poll found that 52% said the economy and health care are most important to them in choosing a new president compared to 34% that said terrorism and social and moral issues were most important.That is the opposite of what people thought at the time of the 2004 election.Here's the surprise for me. The poll also showed, "health care eclipsing the

Pete Stark Regrets the Stark "Self-Referral" Laws!

Monday, December 3, 2007
David Whelan was kind to point out a great story he just did at on the Stark anti-kickback laws and the bans on provider "self-referral."David writes, "Yet in an interview today the Congressman lamented that he ever made this legislative intrusion into medical practices."Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) went on to say the laws, "gave every shyster and promoter a loophole" and that he