Value-based payment has produced little value. It needs a time-out

“The concept of value-based payment became widespread among U.S. health policymakers and analysts during the 2000s. It collectively refers to interventions that offer doctors and hospitals financial incentives that, in theory, induce them to improve both components of health-care value — cost and quality — without generating the hostility provoked by managed care insurance companies during the HMO [health maintenance organization] backlash of the late 1990s. [The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation reviewed 54 models of value-based payment. Only four were certified to be expanded:] The Home Health Value-based Purchasing Model demonstration cut Medicare spending by 1% with mixed … Read More

Value-based drug pricing: When does it work best?

“while the U.S. lags behind in adopting value-based agreements, many policymakers are realizing that value-based pricing can be an important, viable solution to the high and rising expenditures that payers lay out for prescription drugs. Developing value-based agreements has never been easier. A large number of value-based agreements are now available and can be used to help payers, manufacturers, and providers develop new ones appropriate to their specific situations. [..] Here are four scenarios for which I believe value-based pricing is appropriate. When expected outcomes for a new treatment are clear and objectively measurable. [..] Treatments with clearly defined, meaningful, … Read More

Health Care Spending Effectiveness: Estimates Suggest That Spending Improved US Health From 1996 To 2016

“US data from the period 1996–2016 are now available on health care spending by cause from the Disease Expenditure Project (DEX) and on DALYs [disability-adjusted life-years] by cause from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2017. DALYs are the sum of years of life lost due to premature mortality, as well as years lived with disability among people living with a given cause. Intuitively, DALYs are a measure of burden, and therefore the goal of health systems is to avert DALYs. A decrease in DALYs is a measure of health gain referred to as DALYs averted. [..] We estimated … Read More

Society of Family Planning interim clinical recommendations: Self-managed abortion

“While the medical risks of SMA [self-managed] may be few, the legal risks for people attempting SMA may be significant. Although only three states currently have laws explicitly criminalizing SMA, almost half of U.S. states have at least one law in place that could be used to prosecute people attempting or assisting with SMA. These policies include legislation explicitly banning SMA, criminalizing harm to the fetus, and criminalizing abortion. For those who have been targeted with criminalization for SMA, many came into contact with law enforcement following interactions with healthcare professionals. However, to date, legal experts are unaware of any … Read More

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A Conversation with Peter Lee on What’s Next for the ACA

“[Kaiser Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner:] So Covered California operates very differently from most of the other state-based marketplaces. And, as a result, it has done a better job covering more people at lower premiums than I think any other state, right? [Executive Director of Covered California, the largest state-run ACA marketplace, Peter Lee:] Absolutely. Well, lower premiums relative to where we start. California’s an expensive state, but our premiums in California in the last seven years went up about 45%. Nationally, they went up about 80%. So we’ve seen premiums increase dramatically. But you’re right, we’ve done … Read More

Metric Myopia — Trading Away Our Clinical Judgment

Excerpt – The perception that practice variation signals quality deficiencies remains foundational to the pursuit of “high value” care. But if value is defined as quality divided by cost, measuring value faces all the same problems as measuring quality — flawed risk adjustment, metric gaming, omission of the many aspects of quality that defy measurement. So why do we continue to embrace these flawed constructs, particularly when it’s not clear that the current regulatory approach serves patients or clinicians? [president of the Commonwealth Fund David] Blumenthal offers international context: “The French, the Brits, the Swedes — they don’t torture their … Read More

Don’t Look Up? Medicare Advantage’s Trajectory And the Future of Medicare

“short of comprehensive reform by Congress, CMS may find it challenging to build value in Medicare over this decade if TM’s [traditional Medicare] scaffolding erodes [due to the rise of Medicare Advantage (MA)]. Much can be done under CMS’s existing authorities to promote efficiency and equity, but, under Medicare’s present configuration, that requires preservation of TM. Without substantive legislative reform on the horizon, regulatory policy will thus need to keep the long view in mind, lest several years of inertia set in motion an unalterable course to a lesser outcome. [..] MA has been clearly successful in managing utilization more … Read More

Where Americans Die – Is There Really “No Place Like Home”?

“In 2017, a total of 31% of Americans died at home, making it the most common site of death for the first time in decades. In the United States, we tend to believe that someone who died “peacefully at home, surrounded by family” (as the obituaries put it) has had a good death. Yet reality frequently diverges from this scenario. Unprepared family caregivers are routinely tasked with managing distressing symptoms (including pain, agitation, and dyspnea), administering medications, and providing intimate personal care (including bathing and toileting assistance) to bedbound patients. In other care settings, these tasks are performed by trained … Read More

How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal?

“The United States reported more deaths from COVID-19 last Friday than deaths from Hurricane Katrina, more on any two recent weekdays than deaths during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more last month than deaths from flu in a bad season, and more in two years than deaths from HIV during the four decades of the AIDS epidemic. At least 953,000 Americans have died from COVID, and the true toll is likely even higher because many deaths went uncounted. COVID is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after only heart disease and cancer, which are both catchall terms … Read More

The Biden Administration Killed America’s Collective Pandemic Approach

“Coronavirus case numbers are in free fall; vaccines and, to a lesser degree, viral infections have built up a wall of immunity that can blunt the virus’s impact overall. Several experts stressed that certain aspects of the CDC’s new guidelines are genuinely improving on the framework the country was using before. “The timing feels right to make some kind of change,” Whitney Robinson, an epidemiologist at Duke University, told me. But protection against SARS-CoV-2 isn’t spread equally. Millions of kids under 5 are still ineligible for shots. Vaccine effectiveness declines faster in older individuals and is patchy to begin with … Read More