Do we really want insurers providing our health care?

In the battle between hospitals and insurance companies, it appears insurers have the upper hand. And they’re starting to barge in to hospitals’ own territory: providing actual patient care. What am I talking about? I’m talking about the growing list of existing or proposed corporate partnerships between insurers and providers—Cigna/Express Scripts, CVS/Aetna, UnitedHealth/Optum/DaVita Medical Group, Humana/Kindred Healthcare. […]

Azar talks the talk, as we now wait for the walk

Alex Azar, the new secretary of Health and Human Services, is hitting all the right notes, as he travels around the country spelling out his priorities for health care. Price transparency, value-based payments, easily shared medical records, hospital competition. Best of all, he’s promising disruptive federal intervention to make things happen. As Avik Roy points out in Forbes, […]

Could lawsuits against hospital giants lower health care prices?

The consensus is building that the biggest problem in U.S. health care is prices. And now a California lawsuit arrives that focuses on one of the worst offenders. I’m talking about Sutter Health. Sutter’s nonprofit system includes 24 hospitals, 35 surgery centers, and 32 urgent care clinics. It has more than 5,000 physicians in its network, and […]

Are we risking quality in health care for convenience?

As many have predicted, the march toward a round-the-clock, retail health care environment continues apace. Urgent care centers, drug store clinics—many are already built and many more are planned. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of the primary care physician’s job. But are we sacrificing quality for convenience? That’s the question Reed Abelson and Julie Creswell pose […]

Price transparency or price controls: Health care providers, pick one

California has always been a laboratory for liberal ideas. True to form, the state just trotted out a new legislative proposal to put itself in charge of health care prices in the commercial market. Physicians and hospitals alike are squawking about the threat to their livelihood. But shouldn’t they have seen this coming? To wit: health care […]

Rush University Medical Center’s rush to the future

In the health care landscape, academic health systems are unique. Often located in urban areas, they have a disproportionate share of emergency trauma patients, as well as patients with chronic disease and a host of other social ills. Making sure patients follow through with a treatment plan or post-surgical recovery protocol is a big problem. […]