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Health Cost Growth Is Down, Or Not. It Depends Who You Ask.

In this Policy Insight, Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman explores the disconnect between experts, national studies and the public about whether health care costs are slowing or accelerating—it’s a matter of perspective.

Report Examines Current Role and Future Outlook of Retiree Health Coverage

A new Kaiser Family Foundation report examines the current role and future outlook of employer-sponsored retiree health benefits for pre-65 and Medicare-eligible retirees. Retiree Health Benefits At the Crossroads reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare…

The Health-Cost Problem Is Coming Back

Drew Altman, in The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, discusses how the conversation will soon shift back to health-care costs from health coverage, because they are rising more sharply again. And as the discussion turns back, he says that because there is no national agreement on a strategy to address increasing costs, current efforts in the public and private sector, however fragmented and uncoordinated, will need to step up their game.

The Next Big Health-Care Issue

Drew Altman, in The Wall Street Journal‘s Think Tank, writes that the next big concern for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be how much premiums increase in exchanges for 2015. He discusses the factors to focus on to put this issue in perspective when states report premium increases.

Paying for Prescribed Drugs in Medicaid: Current Policy and Upcoming Changes

The federal government has proposed new rules that aim to make Medicaid outpatient drug reimbursement policies more closely match the cost of obtaining and filling prescriptions. However, the change in policy may have varying effects on reimbursement, depending on the state’s current approach and the type of drug in question. This paper explains current Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement methodology and examines the potential effect of the proposed rule changes.

Medical Debt Among People With Health Insurance

This report examines the causes and contributors to medical debt, medical bankruptcy, and other difficulties with medical bills among people with insurance. Through in-depth interviews of nearly two-dozen people and quantitative analysis of national survey data, the authors of this report find that in-network and out-of-net-work cost sharing primarily contribute to medical debt among the insured.

Assessing the Performance of the U.S. Health System

Health spending growth has consistently outpaced U.S. economic growth and is higher than medical spending in other wealthy countries. Despite spending more, the United States doesn’t have better health outcome in terms of life expectancy, mortality rates and other measures. This brief provides an overview of trends in health costs and the performance of the U.S. health system, including comparisons to countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The brief charts growth in the nation’s per capita health spending along with the recent slowdown, touching on the roles of expanded Medicaid eligibility, increases in Medicare beneficiaries and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, it discusses the health system’s effectiveness and capacity to provide services, including the accessibility and affordability of care.