Blog Entries: December 2011

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Essential Health Benefits: Balancing State Flexibility with Consumer Protections

December 20, 2011 - In a new blog post on the HHS's proposed approach to minimum coverage standards, Sara Collins says it will be critical that HHS balance the desire of states and health insurers to determine what benefits are included with the law’s intended goal of providing consumers and employers with comprehensive health insurance coverage options.

Blog Post

Going Mobile: Integrating Texting and Online Tools into Health Care Delivery

December 14, 2011 - Innovative uses of information technology in public health campaigns can expand access to preventive and chronic care for underserved populations and may even improve health outcomes while reducing costs. Programs in New Zealand and the Netherlands may offer lessons for the United States.

Blog Post

The Aftermath of the Super Committee: What Will It Take to Reduce Federal Health Spending?

December 12, 2011 - At the December 2 Alliance for Health Reform briefing, "Inside Deficit Reduction: What Now?," a panel of experts with diverse perspectives discussed the potential impact on health policy of the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach agreement on a plan to reduce the federal deficit.

Blog Post

Final Regulation on Medical Loss Ratio Reporting and Rebates: Good for Consumers

December 08, 2011 - Last week HHS issued final regulations governing the Affordable Care Act’s medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements on the percentage of enrollees' premiums that health plans spend on medical care versus administration and profits. This post addreses where the rule came down on the MLR calculation, rebates, exceptions, and more.

Blog Post

Zooming in on Health System Performance: The Interactive Map

December 07, 2011 - The Commonwealth Fund's benchmarking and quality improvement tool,, has just launched a new version of its interactive map that displays comparative performance information—on health care quality and safety, outcomes, and patient experiences—at the national, state, hospital referral region, and county levels.

Blog Post

Controlling Costs Across Health Systems: The Commonwealth Fund 2011 International Symposium on Health Care Policy

December 05, 2011 - The Commonwealth Fund's Robin Osborn reports on international symposium, which brought together health ministers and leading policy thinkers from across the industrialized world to explore ways of achieving a sustainable high-performing health care system.

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