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Paying Medicare Advantage by Competitive Bidding: How Much Competition Is There?

August 12, 2009 - Private health plans that enroll Medicare beneficiaries—known as Medicare Advantage (MA) plans—are being paid $11 billion more in 2009 than it would cost to cover these beneficiaries in regular fee-for-service Medicare. The Obama Administration has proposed eliminating these extra payments to private insurers and instituting a competitive bidding system. This study questions the degree to which firms offering MA plans actually face competition.

Issue Brief

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care: Germany

July 22, 2009 - The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) was established in 2004 to provide Germany's Federal Joint Committee with evidence-based evaluations of the benefits and cost benefits of health services, and functions in an advisory role.

Issue Brief

Comparative Effectiveness Review Within the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

July 22, 2009 - This Commonwealth Fund issue brief examins the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which was established to perform three core functions: 1) reduce unwarranted variation in practice across the United Kingdom through the development and dissemination of best practice evidence-based standards; 2) encourage fast diffusion and uniform uptake of high-value medical innovations; and 3) ensure the taxpayers’ money is invested in the National Health Service so that health benefit is maximized.

Issue Brief

Evidence-Based Decision-Making Within Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

July 22, 2009 - This Commonwealth Fund issue brief looks at Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, through which most prescription drugs are subsidized.

Issue Brief

National Authority for Health: France

July 22, 2009 - This Commonwealth Fund issue brief outlines the French National Authority for Health, which was established to assist France's public institutions in optimizing the basket of reimbursable goods and services and to help health care professionals continuously improve their clinical practice.

Issue Brief

Finding Resources for Health Reform and Bending the Health Care Cost Curve

July 2, 2009 - This Fund report examines policy options that could slow growth in health spending, improve health outcomes, and provide additional revenues to finance comprehensive reform.

Fund Report

Should Health Care Come with a Warranty?

June 16, 2009 - Warranties are commonly available for many consumer products. But could they possibly work in health care as well? In a new Commonwealth Fund-supported Health Affairs Web Exclusive, the authors argue that warranties could improve the care delivered to patients while giving medical providers the opportunity to improve their profit margins.

In the Literature

Comparative Effectiveness Research and Evidence-Based Health Policy: Experience from Four Countries

June 5, 2009 - Agencies in Australia, France, Germany, and the U.K. have comparative effectiveness research agencies that offer lessons for the United States.

In the Literature

Health Insurance and Health Care Access Before and After SSDI Entry

May 20, 2009 - This report creates profiles of those with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) during the three years before and after SSDI entry to illustrate changes in insurance status, health care access, and utilization.

Fund Report

The Long Wait: The Impact of Delaying Medicare Coverage for People with Disabilities

May 20, 2009 - At a particularly difficult point in their lives, disabled individuals must wait two years before they are eligible to begin receiving Medicare benefits--a delay that can block access to needed care and relief from financial pressures.

Perspectives on Health Reform Brief

Meeting Enrollees' Needs: How Do Medicare and Employer Coverage Stack Up?

May 12, 2009 - In a national Commonwealth Fund survey, elderly Medicare beneficiaries reported greater overall satisfaction with their health coverage, better access to care, and fewer problems paying medical bills than people covered by employer-sponsored plans.

In the Literature

The Continuing Cost of Privatization: Extra Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans Jump to $11.4 Billion in 2009

May 4, 2009 - The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 explicitly increased Medicare payments to private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. As a result, MA plans have, for the past six years, been paid more for their enrollees than they would be expected to cost in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

Issue Brief

Health Care Opinion Leaders Views on Slowing the Growth of Health Care Costs

April 27, 2009 - Nearly all respondents to the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey agree that the U.S. must rein in the growth of health care spending, and most believe it is possible to hold the current percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to health care steady over the next decade. In addition, large majorities expressed support for a range of strategies to reduce costs, including many of those outlined in President Obama’s budget blueprint.

Data Brief

Uniquely American Solution: Collaboration, Leadership Required to Bring Change

April 27, 2009 - In this commentary on the Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey on slowing health care cost growth, Karen Ignagni says that identifying small reductions across all sectors will provide significant relief to individuals and businesses purchasing coverage, improve the solvency of the Medicare trust fund, and free up resources to finance reform, including coverage for all Americans.


Rehospitalizations Among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program

April 2, 2009 - One of five Medicare beneficiares discharged from the hospital was readmitted within 30 days, and half of patients admitted for reasons other than surgery were readmitted without having seen a doctor in follow-up, according to a Commonwealth Fund-supported study.

In the Literature