Posts tagged Medicaid

State police are also investigating a voicemail left for Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, a Phoenix Republican who supports the Medicaid expansion. She appeared visibly shaken Thursday as she described the message on the House floor and asked lawmakers to tell their constituents to be civil.

"The voice was a male who left a long rambling message with derogatory remarks aimed at Governor Brewer for Representative McGee," Bart Graves, a spokesman with the Department of Public Safety, said in an email Friday. "She felt there was a threatening undertone."

Lawmakers said they have received dozens of messages from supporters and opponents of the proposed expansion containing varying layers of vitriol.

"Sadly, the tone has been quite intense. People are emotional," said Republican Rep. Ethan Orr, of Tucson, who supports the Medicaid plan and received the email but said it did not make him feel threatened. "I wish people would have a more civil and respectful tone, but I understand why this is so important to them

…because when you’re a right-wing extremist, with more pride than sense, dignity or compassion, you threaten the gubmint wit guns when the dang gubmint doesn’t do what you want it to

Johnathon Ross and Don McCanne on lessons from the Oregon experiment

The Effects of Medicaid Coverage — Learning from the Oregon Experiment

By Katherine Baicker, Ph.D., and Amy Finkelstein, Ph.D.
The New England Journal of Medicine, July 20, 2011

We now have evidence of the effects of the first year of Medicaid coverage after the lottery. These results are based on administrative data from hospital discharges, credit reports, and death records, in addition to mail surveys we conducted. We found that Medicaid coverage increases the use of health care.

Government is runaway victor over private sector in obtaining lower drug prices

Higher Rebates for Brand-Name Drugs Result in Lower Costs for Medicaid Compared to Medicare Part D

Office of the Inspector General
Department of Health and Human Services, August 2011

We are inundated with nonsense about how private health insurance competition in the marketplace brings us higher quality at lower costs when compared with government-administered programs. This study by the Inspector General of Health and Human Services provides an enlightening test of that theory by controlling for quality while measuring the differences in cost. Both Medicaid (government) and Medicare Part D (private) use the same brand-name drugs with identical quality, so cost becomes the sole variable.

Our government-run Medicaid program has been able to negotiate a 45 percent discount on these brand-name drugs, whereas the private Medicare Part D sponsors or contractors have been able to extract only a 19 percent discount on these same drugs. Clearly, when quality is controlled, the private sector brings us much higher prices than does the government.

Under a single payer national health program – an improved Medicare for All – these highly wasteful middlemen would be eliminated and the government would use its monopsonistic buying power to get the prices right. Payment would be based on actual costs, including legitimate research, plus fair profits.

Having to change the rhetorical framing of the dialog from “markets and competition” to “social solidarity” is a small price to pay for achieving the efficient use of our health care dollars. Thinking about that, being able to dump the ideology behind the intrusive, wasteful middlemen is not a price that we would be paying, but a superb benefit that we would be gaining.

Facebook and the pharmaceutical industry have had an uneasy partnership in recent years. Many drug companies didn’t even join the site until Facebook gave them a privilege that others do not have — blocking the public’s ability to openly comment on a page Wall.

But that’s about to change.

In a reversal by Facebook, most drug company pages will have to have open Walls starting Monday.

Companies are worried that open Walls mean open risks, and many are reconsidering their engagement on Facebook. AstraZeneca told viewers in several postings this week that on Friday it will shut down a page devoted to depression — the company sells the antidepressant Seroquel. Johnson & Johnson said it will close four of its pages on Monday. Other companies said they will monitor their pages more closely once the changes take effect.

The industry is concerned that users might write about bad side effects, promote off-label use or make inappropriate statements about a product. Aside from poor word of mouth, the comments could raise concerns from government regulators.

That’s completely understandable. I’d have half a mind to ask Big Pharma how they think that they are helping people by gouging them if I knew about the pages being open to comments.

GAO report on difficulty with Medicaid and CHIP referrals

MEDICAID AND CHIP: Most Physicians Serve Covered Children but Have Difficulty Referring Them for Specialty Care

June 2011

Report to Congressional Committees

Physicians experience much greater difficulty referring children in Medicaid and CHIP to specialty care, compared to privately insured children. On the basis of the physician survey, more than three times as many participating physicians — 84 percent — experience difficulty referring Medicaid and CHIP children to specialty care as experience difficulty referring privately insured children — 26 percent.

Medicaid maintenance-of-effort

GOP Pushes To Let States Reduce Medicaid Rolls

By Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz
Kaiser Health News, May 23, 2011

Medicaid covers about 56 million Americans, with states sharing the costs with the federal government. States have been barred from cutting eligibility for the program since 2009 when economic stimulus legislation gave states billions to prop up their Medicaid program on the condition they didn’t tighten eligibility standards. The 2010 health law extended this requirement until 2014.