Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Drug Channels News Roundup: January 2012

This month’s selection of noteworthy news stories looks at broader health care cost containment debate.
  • Depressing news on disease management
  • A fascinating debate on ACOs
  • The sad realities of U.S healthcare spending
Plus, watch The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart lob softball questions at Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who does some major pre-State of the Union spinning.

P.S. Reminder: The launch discount for the 2011-12 Economic Report on Retail and Specialty Pharmacies ends today!

Lessons from Medicare’s Demonstration Projects on Disease Management, Care Coordination, and Value-Based Payment
Here’s some very depressing news about controlling health care costs: nothing works. This CBO report reviews 10 Medicare demonstration programs designed to improve quality or efficiency. The bottom line? “In nearly every program involving disease management and care coordination, spending was either unchanged or increased relative to the spending that would have occurred in the absence of the program, when the fees paid to the participating organizations were considered.” Ouch.

Can Accountable-Care Organizations Improve Health Care While Reducing Costs?
I enjoyed this fascinating back-and-forth about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) featuring two ex-CMS administrators and a health care consultant. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Berwick is an unabashed fan of ACOS, while the other two panelists are much more skeptical. How you feel about ACOs is probably correlated with how you feel about Britney Spears' upcoming third marriage—a new beginning, or the triumph of hope over experience? Dr. Berwick’s arguments are most convincing if you ignore the CBO report mentioned above.

Is U.S. Health Spending Finally Under Control?
Probably not, although I enjoyed the wonky charts in this article. You can see corresponding charts for drug spending in Healthcare Reform Hits U.S. Drug Spending in 2010 and Who Will Pay for Prescription Drugs in 2020?

Kathleen Sebelius stops by The Daily Show
Your enjoyment of this interview will be directly proportional to your tolerance for Obama Administration-supporting spin. You have been warned!


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