Recent Blog Posts

Doctors' drug money

July 10, 2014
Comments(7)
Indiana physicians and research organizations reaped more than $25 million in payments from 15 pharmaceutical firms in 2012, according to the most recent data made available by the not-for-profit group ProPublica. Lilly was the biggest spender and the IU medical school was the biggest recipient.
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Employees may rebel against Obamacare

July 7, 2014
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The economics of the Obamacare's exchanges are proving attractive to both employers and workers, but a new poll shows that workers still don't want to end up in them.
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How to judge Obamacare

June 30, 2014
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Health care and health insurance were a mess long before Obamacare—and on a path to getting messier. That makes it awfully difficult to figure out how much blame and credit to give the law as it plays out in the marketplace. Here's my approach.
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There will be blood

June 26, 2014
Comments(15)
A new study found that common blood tests performed by hospital-owned facilities in the Indianapolis area were six to nine times more expensive than the same tests at independent lab facilities. Ouch!
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Why hospitals leave the inner city, in one chart

June 23, 2014
Comments(16)
Since hospitals lose money on just about every patient except those with private insurance, they have been closing inner-city facilities and opening new facilities in the suburbs for the past four decades.
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No, Community didn't make a list of 1,000 people to fire

June 18, 2014
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My post on a presentation by Community Health Network CEO Bryan Mills was interpreted in a stronger way than I intended. So let me set the record straight.
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The worries of a hospital CEO

June 16, 2014
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In a video presentation to his employees, Community Health CEO Bryan Mills discusses the threats hospitals face from retail clinics and employers—and how Community briefly discussed laying off 1,000 workers last year.
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Why Obamacare is likely to fail in Indiana (and most other states, too)

June 12, 2014
Comments(12)
New data show eight out of 10 Hoosiers with private health insurance are covered by employer plans that are exempt from most Obamacare rules. So, rather than being an invasive train wreck, Obamacare may fail because it doesn't affect enough people.
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GOP politico creates health clinic for the Obamacare age

June 9, 2014
Comments(4)
Brose McVey is leading a new health care clinic company that is squarely aimed at helping individuals, the self-employed and even large businesses deal with the new health care reality that is emerging under Obamacare.
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The real health care money in this town is at IU Health

June 5, 2014
Comments(5)
While the biggest hospital profit margins are made in the suburbs, the biggest pile of cash—$353 million in 2012—is made at the three downtown campuses run by Indiana University Health. In fact, those hospitals generated 32 percent of all operating gains posted by central Indiana hospitals in 2012.
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Why are we so fat? Our food, health care are so cheap

June 2, 2014
Comments(19)
Two new studies show that Americans have every economic incentive to consume too much food and then, when that overeating creates health problems for them, to consume lots of health care to fix it.
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Rotten Teeth Report Card

May 28, 2014
Comments(7)
Indiana ranks 10th in the nation for the highest spending on health care and 10th in the nation for the number of adults missing six or more teeth. That’s not a coincidence. Hoosiers do a poor job of taking care of themselves, and we end up paying for it in higher taxes and health insurance premiums.
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Dropping health plan for Obamacare, this firm saved money but sacrificed choice

May 23, 2014
Comments(5)
RANAC Corp., a small firm in Indianapolis, cut its spending on health benefits 25 percent after dropping its group health plan. Could it be a sign of things to come?
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Pence's HIP 2.0 insurance expansion has national aspirations all over it

May 19, 2014
Comments(2)
Gov. Pence's HIP 2.0 plan is nothing less than an attempt to roll back liberal policy on low-income health benefits as far as currently possible--and to get other states to follow suit. It might even be an opening bid for president.
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Marathon talks yield good deal for hospitals in Pence's HIP expansion

May 15, 2014
Comments(5)
Fees on hospitals will generate the lion's share of the funds for Gov. Mike Pence's Healthy Indiana Plan expansion. But the benefits hospitals will receive will outweigh those costs.
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Study: Hospital-doctor hook-ups swell prices

May 12, 2014
Comments(8)
Now that Indianapolis-area hospitals employ large numbers of physicians, a new study suggests the integrated health systems will be able to charge higher prices to private health insurers.
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Indy's most profitable hospitals, revisited

May 8, 2014
Comments(8)
On the eve of Obamacare, almost no central Indiana hospitals were having trouble making money. Hip replacements, heart surgery and Hamilton County were the biggest drivers of profits.
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Time to eat crow and fix my error on Obamacare sign-ups

May 5, 2014
Comments(7)
When I predicted on March 13 that Obamacare would fail to expand individual private insurance coverage in Indiana, I was completely off. It now looks like an extra 30,000 Hoosiers have bought individual health insurance this year.
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A silver lining for Endocyte

May 2, 2014
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The news this morning couldn’t have been worse for Endocyte Inc. But if it had to come, the timing couldn’t have been better--because it allowed Endocyte to raise a pile of cash to spend on the other drugs in its pipeline.
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What health care really needs is a full-meal deal

April 28, 2014
Comments(6)
Until doctors and hospitals make a whole lot more headway—or, perhaps, more accurately, are allowed to make more headway—in offering package deals, it’s hard to see major progress on containing out-of-control health care costs.
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Think Obamacare will help hospitals? Think again

April 25, 2014
Comments(5)

The typical hospital around the country will see its profits wiped out entirely by the changes coming from health reform and the aging of the population. But in Indianapolis, the hits will be cushioned by this region's fatter commercial reimbursements.

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In Indiana, everyone makes big profits on health care

April 21, 2014
Comments(13)
Indiana is the most profitable state for Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in 14 states. WellPoint's margin for Indiana in 2012 was 5.8 percent, 38 percent higher than WellPoint's national average.
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Indiana's 10 (or more) most profitable health insurers

April 17, 2014
Comments(6)
WellPoint's commanding market share gave it a whopping $129 million in profit from its risk-based insurance products in 2012. But in percentage terms, WellPoint was not at the top of the heap.
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Competition, not higher premiums, is biggest threat to Obamacare buyers

April 14, 2014
Comments(7)
For consumers that get tax subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges, out-of-pocket premiums will remain steady even if insurers raise prices next year. But the subsidies could fall if insurers offer lower-cost plans.
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Five things I learned from the Medicare doctor payments

April 10, 2014
Comments(11)
From this week's historic data dump, I learned who the top 20 recipients of Medicare payments are in Indianapolis (hint: mostly labs, ambulances and eye surgeons). But the real takeaway is that meaningful price information about doctors is still a long way away.
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