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POLICY/POLITICS: A despair at the lack of new ideas

A long time THCB friend and contributor is back from the big NMHCC show.  He was not impressed at what he heard:

Just got back from NMHCC in DC last night. I was
shocked – shocked! – at the paucity of any kind of original thought at the
conference.  There were a couple of interesting collaborations between payers
and providers (e.g. BCBS of Delaware providing access to its MeDecision database
to allow them to print patient history reports in Christiana Health System’s
ER), but nothing especially compelling or breakthrough to discuss.  No
substanative discussions (beyond CDHP) about the 45 million uninsured (at least
that I heard) or the millions more that will be with the looming Medicaid
cuts.

HHS Sec’y Leavitt outlined 12 strategies for Medicaid
(I wandered off during number 8, I think: his diatribe about how big a problem
lawyers cause helping seniors who are above the poverty level give their assets to
their kids so that they can qualify for Medicaid coverage of LTC).  His
mandate is clearly to eviscerate Medicaid as we know it… I’m all for progress
(i.e. a better Medicaid that covers more people at fewer cost with less waste,
fraud and abuse and chronic disease) but not for removing a vital safety net for
the indigent and working poor (especially children)…

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