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Top Five Publications of 2013

December 23, 2013 - In 2013, The Commonwealth Fund offered an analysis of how to stabilize health spending growth; reported on state health system performance for low-income Americans; conducted international comparisons; tracked insurance trends; and explained potential health system reforms. To that end, here are our five most-popular publications of 2013.


Improving Value in Medicare with an SGR Fix

December 20, 2013 - While the current bipartisan attempts to fixing the way Medicare providers are paid hold promise, "the devil is in the details, and those have yet to be spelled out," author Gail Wilensky writes in this New England Journal of Medicine article.

In Brief

What's Behind Health Insurance Rate Increases? An Examination of What Insurers Reported to the Federal Government in 2012–2013

December 19, 2013 - This issue brief analyzes filings for rate increases of 10 percent or more that took effect between July 2012 and June 2013, and were for products covering at least 150 people. The findings indicate that medical costs were the main drivers of these larger increases, based both on increasing use of medical services and higher unit prices.

Issue Brief

What States Are Doing to Simplify Health Plan Choice in the Insurance Marketplaces

December 18, 2013 - This issue brief examines the policies set by some state-based marketplaces to simplify plan choices: adopting a meaningful difference standard, limiting the number of plans or benefit designs insurers
may offer, or requiring standardized benefit designs.

Issue Brief

How Are State Insurance Marketplaces Shaping Health Plan Design?

December 17, 2013 - Part of states' roles in administering the new health insurance marketplaces is to certify the health plans available for purchase. This analysis focuses on how state-based and state partnership marketplaces are using their flexibility in setting certification standards to shape plan design in the individual market.

Issue Brief

Developing a Viable Alternative to Medicare's Physician Payment Strategy

December 11, 2013 - This Commonnwealth Fund–supported study in Health Affairs looks at proposals to replace the way Medicare pays provider, as well as pilot programs that are experimenting with new ways to organize or pay physicians—like patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, and bundled payment.

In Brief

Bending the Cost Curve? Results from a Comprehensive Primary Care Payment Pilot

December 9, 2013 - This Commonwealth Fund–supported study of three upstate New York physician practices found it is possible for patient-centered medical homes to achieve reduced health care spending by emphasizing prevention and coordinated care and changing provider incentives through the use of bundled payments.

In Brief

How States Stand to Gain or Lose Federal Funds by Opting In or Out of the Medicaid Expansion

December 5, 2013 - The 20 states choosing not to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study.

Issue Brief

Better Care at Lower Cost: Is It Possible?

November 21, 2013 - This brief examines the sources of high costs in the United States, the obstacles to getting them under control, and the promising public and private efforts under way to uncover the secret to high-value health care.

Health Reform and You

Assessing Progress Toward Becoming a Patient-Centered Medical Home: An Assessment Tool for Practice Transformation

November 18, 2013 - The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative, sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund, helped 65 safety-net clinics become PCMHs. To help monitor progress and identify additional opportunities for improvement, researchers developed the Patient-Centered Medical Home Assessment. This study sought to test the tool’s validity in measuring progress in the PCMH transformation process.

In Brief

Nurse Aide Decision Making in Nursing Homes: Factors Affecting Empowerment

November 18, 2013 - This study aimed to determine which factors affect decision-making by nurse aides—the caregivers with the most firsthand knowledge of residents.

In Brief

International Profiles of Health Care Systems, 2013: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States

November 14, 2013 - This publication presents overviews of the health care systems of Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.

Fund Report

Access, Affordability, and Insurance Complexity Are Often Worse in the United States Compared to 10 Other Countries

November 13, 2013 - Our new international survey finds that adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other high-income industrialized nations to go without health care because of the cost, encounter difficulties paying medical bills, and deal with time-consuming health insurance paperwork or disputes, including claims that were unexpectedly not paid.

In the Literature

Clinical Management Apps: Creating Partnerships Between Providers and Patients

November 6, 2013 - Health applications, or apps, on mobile devices may serve as a catalyst to stimulate the transformation of health care generally and target low-income populations to expand access to care and help reduce health disparities.

Issue Brief

The Impact of Health Information Technology and e-Health on the Future Demand for Physician Services

November 4, 2013 - A new Health Affairs study finds that health information technology will substantially lessen the burden on primary care physicians, through gains in efficiency, greater reliance on nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and greater emphasis on remotely provided care.

In the Literature