News and Commentary

Headlines on Deadline February 2008

Sounds like capitation to me. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts is proposing to overhaul the way it pays doctors and hospitals. The plan wants to stop paying doctors and hospitals for each patient visit or treatment, and instead wants to pay a flat sum per patient each year. The fee would be adjusted for age and sickness, and would include a bonus if the providers improve care. . . . Updated rates of uninsured women categorized by state have just been issued by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The rates range from a high of 28 percent of women 18–64 (Texas) to a low of 9 percent (Minnesota). Among low-income women, in the same age group, the uninsured rate ranges from 51 percent (Texas) to 20 percent (Maine and Vermont). . . . The slowdown in health spending growth is not likely to last, according to a report issued by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Government economists report that personal health care spending — the portion of national health care spending that accounts for health care goods and services, grew 6.6 percent in 2006, just a hair below 2005’s 6.8 percent growth.

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