12/15/2015 – The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care (The New York Times)

Dec 15, 2015 Comments Off by

New research has looked not only at Medicare but also at a huge, new database drawn from private-insurance plans – the sorts used by most Americans for health care. And it shows that places that spend less on Medicare do not necessarily spend less on health care over all. Grand Junction, as it happens, is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country for the privately insured – despite its unusually low spending on Medicare.Health care researchers who have seen the new findings say they are likely to force a rethinking of some conventional wisdom about health care. In particular, they cast doubt on the wisdom of encouraging mergers among hospitals, as parts of the 2010 health care law did. Larger, integrated hospital systems – like those in Grand Junction – can often spend less money in Medicare, by avoiding duplicative treatments. But those systems also tend to set higher prices in private markets, because they face relatively little local competition. “Price has been ignored in public policy,” said Dr. Robert Berenson, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who was unconnected with the research. Dr. Berenson is a former vice chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commision, which recommends policies to Congress. “That has been counterproductive.”

Read the full article in The New York Times.

Financial Landing 2015

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