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What We Want and Have In Health Reform Aren't So Different

You could generally count on the old TV westerns having at least one wild bar fight in which people were having bottles and chairs busted over their heads while others were being thrown over the bar and out the window. Usually the reason for the argument was lost and forgotten after the first chair was thrown and the melee stopped the second the sheriff strode in and fired his six shooter up into the ceiling. The chaos of a government shutdown over funding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reminds me of those old bar fights. In this case, I wish the American consumer could play sheriff, knock some heads together and say “we have the answer right here in front of us…now let’s do the right thing.”

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Have You SIM’d Yet?

For the first time since the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform (the 208 Commission) developed its recommendations for comprehensive health reform in 2007-08, Colorado is thinking big about how to transform our health care delivery and payment system. And now is the time for key informants like the readers of this column to weigh in.

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Refreshing Thinking on the ACA

At the risk of sounding like a heretic and being forced to revoke my lifetime membership in the Health Policy Wonk Association, I confess that I’m tired of reading about Obamacare.

Don’t get me wrong. I still support the law and believe it’s the right approach, while acknowledging that the political compromises built into it and its somewhat ham-handed implementation have curtailed its effectiveness. But I believe those glitches will be worked out in time. That’s the way both laws and markets work – they find their equilibrium over time.
 

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Insurance Pools: How Do We Pay for the Expensive People?

Why you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

I think for most people, including me at times, the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is an exercise in taking something they didn’t understand well but have feelings about, and replacing it with something else they don’t understand well and will have feelings about.  I could comment on the state of our legislative process surrounding this case, but that’s for another day and another blog. 

Instead, if you can stand it, I’m going to use this column to try to explain the difficulty in reshaping the insurance pools in the ACA.
 

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Costs go up, costs go down. What does it all mean?

Two interesting data points about health care spending have emerged in the last week that, at first, may seem contradictory. Actually, though, they are entirely complementary, and both illustrate the need to continue efforts to control costs and improve quality in the health care system.

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CO Health Alliances: Leading Change Locally

Today's health care landscape is changing rapidly, and the action at the state and national level is receiving a lot of attention. However, much is happening at the local level, too. Local communities are coming together and taking the initiative to improve their own health care systems in exciting and innovative ways. Although certainly catalyzed by recent state and national health reforms, this movement has been gaining steam for years.

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Consumers are More Than Ready

My two 79 year-old parents recently marveled at the ease at which they can see results from lab tests and x-rays from University Hospital’s patient portal at their own convenience before going to see their doctors for their follow-up visit. They were thrilled that their personal health information is available to them, right in front of them, just as their physician sees it. And shouldn’t they? This is their health information and it’s vital to help them engage and take care of themselves.

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Reality Check in a Time of Uncertainty

Change brings opportunity. And judging from the amount of change underway in Colorado’s health care community right now, we’ve got lots of opportunity! Nonprofit organizations—including CIVHC—and state agencies are undergoing leadership transitions. Foundations are reconsidering their funding approaches. Colorado’s State health Innovation Plan lays out an ambitious, multi-year agenda for health system transformation.
 

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