Recent Blog Posts

What if hospitals 'upcharged' you for being fat?

September 19, 2014
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As local hospitals try to offer package deals with upfront prices on joint replacement surgeries, they're struggling with the reality that patients' other health conditions can significantly increase their cost of care.
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Obamacare exchanges boosted coverage, premiums and spending in Indiana

September 15, 2014
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A new study finds that Obamacare boosted enrollment in Indiana's individual insurance market significantly over what it would have been without the law, but also caused premiums to spike.
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Conservatives swinging Pence’s way on health reform

September 8, 2014
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Conservatives, after waging war on Obamacare, including its large expansion of Medicaid, are starting to try to propose alternative, conservative ways to achieve its key goals.
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While national health care spending growth slowed, Indiana accelerated

September 4, 2014
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Indiana does not appear to be enjoying the rest of the nation's slowdown in health care spending. Year-to-year growth in Indiana hit 6 percent in 2012 versus 4.5 percent for the nation.
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Indiana has too many nursing homes

August 28, 2014
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Indiana has 58 percent more nursing homes per resident and spends an extra $1 billion per year on care in nursing homes than the average for the rest of the country.
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Patients, providers respond after Anthem promotes lower-cost MRI facilities

August 25, 2014
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Anthem patients in five U.S. cities, including Indianapolis, spent $220 less per MRI scan after Anthem told them of lower-cost facilities. In response, hospital-owned MRI facilities cut their prices.
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Indiana's tax breaks for jobs cost at least three times more than Medicaid expansion

August 20, 2014
Comments(5)
State and local governments hand out $921 million per year to entice business to add jobs. The Medicaid expansion is estimated to cost no more than $279 million per year.
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Is this the future of rural health care: Walmart, walk-in clinics and an ambulance?

August 18, 2014
Comments(8)
In two to three years, primary care clinics could be popping up in Walmart stores in rural Indiana while most rural Indiana hospitals will offer little to no inpatient services. That’s dramatically different from what we’re used to.
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More patients help drug firms pass 'valley of death'

August 11, 2014
Comment(1)
In spite of the beaucoup bucks in the pharma sector, patients, along with their families and committed advocates, are turning out to be better sources of funding for early stage companies because they tolerate risk better than drug companies and investors.
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The most likely conflict zone between Pence, Obama

August 7, 2014
Comments(2)
Gov. Mike Pence thinks his HIP 2.0 plan would reform Medicaid in line with conservative principles. To the extent the Obama administration agrees, that's the biggest hurdle to get the plan approved.
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Small employers dumping plans faster than expected, WellPoint says

August 4, 2014
Comments(5)
WellPoint saw 218,000 members of its health plans disappear because their employers ended their group plans. Other insurers, however, say small employers are ending their plans more slowly than expected.
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Should IU Health pursue a strategy of mediocrity?

July 31, 2014
Comments(5)
Indiana University Health fell off U.S. News' honor roll of the nation’s top 1 percent of hospitals. Because of Obamacare and other trends, perhaps IU Health should be happy about that.
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Most drug money in Indiana funds research. Is that good?

July 28, 2014
Comment(1)
With federal research funding declining, drug companies are taking a larger role funding the medical research happening at IU and universities around the country. That's not the same thing as paying to market drugs, but it's hardly without controversy.
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If courts gut Obamacare, Pence will face tough choice

July 24, 2014
Comments(3)
If this week’s D.C. appeals court ruling stands up—declaring the Obamacare tax subsidies illegal in Indiana and most other states—Gov. Mike Pence could face significant pressure, even from traditional Republican supporters, to keep the tax credits flowing.
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Will hospitals' higher facility fees survive health reform?

July 21, 2014
Comment(1)
One of the open secrets in health care is that hospitals are paid substantially more than independently owned health care facilities for the same procedures. But those higher fees are facing unprecedented pressure.
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Indy hospitals continue to see fewer patients. Why?

July 17, 2014
Comments(8)
All of sudden, Hoosiers are buying less health care. Is that because we’ve kicked the habit, sobered up and found religion? Or is it the Great Recession hangover that will pass, eventually, so we can all get back to the party?
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Indy patients love their doctors

July 14, 2014
Comments(0)
Indianapolis ranked fifth highest among the nation’s largest cities for the most positive reviews of physicians. On a five-point Patient Happiness Index, the average review by patients scored Indianapolis physicians at a 4.05. San Francisco physicians topped the list.
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Doctors' drug money

July 10, 2014
Comments(9)
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
Comments(8)
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
Comments(7)
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(16)
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
Comments(3)
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
Comments(7)
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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