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Kaiser Health Policy Tracking Poll: December 2014

With many of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major provisions taking effect this past year, the December Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that many Americans are aware of the main parts of the law and, with the exception of the individual mandate, at least 6 in 10 feel favorably towards them. The poll finds the vast majority of the uninsured don’t know the deadline to enroll, most expect to get health insurance in the next few months, and nearly two-thirds say they don’t think they’ll have to pay a fine, or don’t know if they will, for not having coverage this year.

Kaiser Health Policy News Index: December 2014

Other than the big stories of Ferguson, Ebola and ISIS, the only other news which captured a majority of the public’s attention this month was President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Smaller, yet substantial, shares report closely following many health policy news stories this month. Over four in ten say they closely followed the lawsuit filed by House Republicans against President Obama over the implementation of the health care law and about a third say they followed a change in the official estimate for the number of people that enrolled in health insurance during the ACA’s first open enrollment period and the ACA’s second open enrollment period. The least closely followed health policy story of those asked about this month, was coverage of comments about the ACA made by MIT health economist, Jonathan Gruber

How Much of the Medicare Spending Slowdown Can be Explained? Insights and Analysis from 2014

This paper identifies and quantifies, to the extent possible, the factors that explain the gap between actual Medicare spending in 2014 and CBO’s 2009 projections of what Medicare spending would be this year. The study synthesizes information from a variety of sources and presents new analysis to assess the extent to which lower-than-projected Medicare spending in 2014 can be explained by deliberate policy and program changes, unexpected trends, and other factors.

What Drives Spending and Utilization on Medicaid Drug Benefits in States?

With the approval of new specialty drugs, such as the Hepatitis C treatments Sovaldi and Harvoni, states are mindful that the cost the Medicaid prescription drug benefit could increase. To achieve savings, and improve management and health outcomes, it is important to understand which drugs are most frequently prescribed and which drive spending. Using state drug utilization data provided through the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, as well as an industry drug database, this issue brief examines trends in prescriptions and spending before rebates, and places findings in the context of policy discussion.

Our Fragmented Approach to Health-Care Costs

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses this week’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report on health spending and assesses the current effort to control health-care costs.

New Tracker Monitors the Performance of the U.S. Health System

The Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with the Peterson Center on Healthcare, today announced a new online hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system. The Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker provides comprehensive data on how the system is performing on critical quality and cost measures,…

Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker

The Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation have partnered to monitor how well the U.S. healthcare system is performing in terms of quality and cost. The Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker is an online hub providing comprehensive data on how the system is performing on critical quality and cost…

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.