Focus on Health

Focus on Health

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On March 9, the American Journal of Epidemiology announced publication of an article which found that the people of Great Britain are generally in better health than Americans even though the U.S. spends twice as much as a share of GDP on health.

Also on March 9, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on the impact of price transparency for medical procedures in reducing health care costs.

In a March 8 report, took issue with claims by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) that there was $105 billion of secret spending in the Affordable Care Act. The report concludes: “Bachmann is just wrong to characterize the mandated appropriations in the health care law as ‘hidden.’ It was, as the saying goes, hidden in plain sight.” The Washington Post and St. Petersburg Times also took issue with the factuality of Bachmann’s statement.

A March 7 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that mortality rates for patients on Medicare rose after hospital reimbursements for Medicare were cut. The key reason appears to be that hospitals reduced staffing levels; discharging patients early did not appear to be a factor.

On March 2, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on improving efforts to combat heath care fraud. That same day, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the same topic.

Also on March 2, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report on improper payments in the Medicare program that may be as high as $48 billion per year.

A February 28 report from the Center for American Progress examined the cost of providing health services for the military, which has risen 300 percent since 2001 to more than $50 billion. The report suggests reforms that could save $15 billion per year.

A February 21 poll of health professionals by the Commonwealth Fund found strong support for the Affordable Care Act.

A February 18 study by the American Enterprise Institute predicts that the Obama administration’s plans for controlling Medicare costs will fail.

I last posted items on this topic on February 18.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.