Law & Legislation

Will the FTC ever get tough on health plans?

The FTC doesn

According to the American Medical Association — which is boiling mad over what it sees as undue market control by single plans — there have been 400 health plan mergers over the last 10 years, and 94 percent of markets in the U.S. are “highly concentrated.”

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Senator wants mental health med investigation

At present, both Medicare and Medicaid pay for very high volumes of psychiatric drugs for their beneficiaries. But is this a form of abuse, or just a response to the realities of the patients who have these benefits? Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), whose career has focused healthcare system regulation for some time, would like federal […]

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Safe harbors on the way for Accountable Health Organizations

Safe harbor for ACOs?

Accountable Health Organizations have the potential to generate some of the efficiencies people admire in integrated groups like the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics.  And by 2012, ACOs will get the ultimate seal of establishment approval, qualifying for Medicare incentive payments. But will the legal structure work?  Some attorneys have begun to suggest that such groups might raise antitrust and […]

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Find the right health IT consultant — or face the consequences

If there was ever a year of health IT consultant, this is it. Hospitals and medical practices are scrambling to put EMRs in place, while keeping their existing systems alive, and their existing IT staff can’t do everything at once. Small medical practices may subsist solely on consultants already – they seldom have IT staff on […]

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FDA Avandia rules may driven by politics

Pharmaceuticals

If the stats on its clinical risks are so negative, why is diabetes drug Avandia still on the U.S. market? Well, according to blogger John Mack, a pharma industry insider who keeps a close eye on these things, the answer may have more to do with politics than medicine. As things stand, European regulators have […]

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Organs for sale on Craigslist, blogger says

Kidney x-ray

Few patients are under more pressure than those waiting to hear that a compatible donor has been found to give  them the organ they need.  Unfortunately, as frightened as they must be, they have to wait until that magic phone call arrives. Or do they? According to blogger Kevin Pho, patients are increasingly sidestepping traditional […]

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Florida AMA chapter threatens civil war

For those of us who have watched the American Medical Association over decades, it’s well known that the group is, well, unfraid of internal debate. In fact, gossip has it that the AMA-affiliated social media site Sermo is so roiled by debate — and dominated by the hotter-tempered conservatives in the room — that it’s […]

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30 percent premium increases? I think not, sirs

I have struggled long and hard with my sense of propriety, but as times change, women must change, and so I say to you, captains of health insurance concerns:  Have you no shame? Of course, as more than a century has passed since I began my labors in the service of the public health, paying […]

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