Reflex: November 10, 2011

In yesterday’s NEJM, Sara Rosenbaum discusses the California Medicaid case recently argued at the Supreme Court (Douglas v. Independent Living Center of S. California).  Kevin’s comment: Professor Rosenbaum clearly discusses the reasons to allow judicial review of these decisions (prior TIE coverage here), but the entire suit may be dismissed as moot now that CMS has approved the California plan.  The Court has ordered new briefing on the mootness issue. 

Hurricane Irene cost tobacco farmers $114 million, reports Martha Quillian. Agriculture accounts for $74 Billion in economic activity in N.C., and the tobacco crop is worth around $589 million. Don’s comment: the cost of Hurricane Irene continues to add up as crop damage losses are tallied. As with flood insurance, the federal government is the only provider of crop insurance. The relative value of tobacco in N.C. has declined over time, but it is still worth nearly $600 million/year. The federal government is involved in all sorts of insurance markets in which  private companies are the conduits of coverage with federal guarantees. Might these be models for LTC insurance?

From Austin: It’s a bit of a slow news day (so far) in health care, from my perspective. Here’s an item of some interest from Igor Volsky’s Morning CheckUp about which I don’t have much to say at the moment.Massachusetts cost control panel releases recommendations: ‘A special commission charged with studying rising health care costs in Massachusetts is recommending the creation of an independent oversight panel to identify acceptable and unacceptable reasons for price variations in care based on which hospital or doctor is used.” [Boston Globe]”

Maryland will increase its primary care workforce by 25%, reports Andrea K. Walker. They will do so ” through a wide range of goals that include increased educational opportunities, financial incentives and tort reform. Maryland and the rest of the country are dealing with a shortage of primary care physicians and fear the problem will worsen when health care reform adds millions more people to the insurance rolls. Nearly 360,000 new people will have access to insurance in Maryland by 2020.” Aaron’s Comment: Maryland is right. I’ll be watching this to see if it works.

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