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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling It Together: Are We Headed for a Government Takeover of Health Care?

Remember the “government takeover of the health care system” argument that critics of the health reform law have used?  Well, last week the Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published the latest projections of health spending in the journal Health Affairs.  Attention focused mainly…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling it Together: Business and Health Care Costs

Hidden away on page 218 of our annual Employer Health Benefits Survey is a table that shows what employers think of the main strategies they have to control health care costs.  More specifically, the table shows what the person in the firm responsible for its health benefits thinks, which is…

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Pulling it Together: 2012: The ACA, and More

What is remarkable about 2012 (and the current era in health policy) is how many big health policy issues and marketplace changes will be in play at the same time: HEALTH REFORM: There is the implementation of a historic but fragile health reform law, with a Supreme Court decision pending…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling It Together: What Do We Want Health Insurance To Be?

Trends in the health insurance marketplace show substantial growth in high deductible health plans, especially among smaller firms, where 35% of workers are now covered by plans with a deductible of $1,000 or more. That’s according to our recently released employer health benefits survey, which we have been conducting now…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling It Together: Bono, Jon Stewart and the HIV/AIDS Message

One of the most interesting conversations on a health topic happened recently on The Daily Show between Bono and Jon Stewart. Bono told Stewart that we were “at the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic,” promising an announcement the next day that would explain how a combination of…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling It Together: The Falloff in Utilization: “There’s Something Happening, Here, What It Is Ain’t Exactly Clear”

For as long as I have been in the field, we have seen cycles in health care costs. Per capita health spending would rise, then moderate, then rise gain. My colleague Larry Levitt and I documented this in The Sad History of Health Care Costs and my friend Dr. Jim Mongan…

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Pulling it Together: Reflections on This Year’s Four Percent Premium Increase

Our 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey found a 4% increase in premiums this year, continuing the recent trend of moderation in health costs and spending reported in several studies. Double digit increases in premiums were once a common occurrence, but we have not seen any since a 10% increase in…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling it Together: On Health Reform, Will All Roads Meet in the Middle?

A few weeks ago a small group of upset single-payer advocates followed Senator Baucus into the parking garage of our D.C. building as he was arriving to do one of our health reform newsmaker breakfasts, cosponsored by Families USA and the National Federation of Independent Business. They were angry because…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling it Together: Last Week’s Health Reform “Shocker”

Last week we learned that health reform could cost the federal government at least a trillion dollars over ten years, and that it will be really difficult to forge bipartisan agreement on legislation and keep major interest groups on board. This obviously brought more angst to the deliberations, several Republicans…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Pulling It Together: The Repeal Trap?

Almost a year into an often acrimonious health reform debate, we stand poised for near certain passage of historic health reform legislation. Yet, somewhat perplexingly, there’s now talk about whether a law that has not even been enacted might actually be repealed and reporters have been calling asking what the…

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