Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Adrianna McIntyre

In case you were too busy this week with your #healthpolicyvalentine—or, if things weren’t going so well, a #healthpolicybreakup—to follow the headlines, we’ve got your back. Here’s a snappy rundown of the latest news in and around health.

  1. Hips don’t lie. Or do they?: Have you ever asked how much a hip replacement costs? Yeah, we haven’t either. But a research team at the University of Iowa did, and the hospitals’ responses were a shade inconsistent… which is to say they varied between $10,000 and $125,000—and only 10 of 102 hospitals responded at all. There’s nothing new about the lack of transparency in medical price tags, but it’s fun to point out all the same.
  2. Bending that curve?: The Congressional Budget Office recently revised down Medicare and Medicaid spending projections. Health care costs are still growing, but according to data, they’re growing at a slower rate—for the fourth consecutive year. Some experts attribute these changes to the Affordable Care Act; others aren’t so sure. Only time will tell if this is evidence of bending the cost curve or if it’s just a temporary blip on the radar.
  3. Berwick 2014: Confirming political chatter, Dr. Donald Berwick—who previously directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama—launched a website last week announcing his run for Governor of Massachusetts. Current Governor Deval Patrick has announced that he will not seek reelection.
  4. Doctor’s orders: Dr. Ben Carson, world-renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, delivered a politically-charged speech at the National Prayer Breakfast and it seems to be resonating with conservatives. The linked article includes a video of the half-hour talk. Crunched for time? His discussion of health care starts at 20:50 and lasts a little less than two minutes, with shout-outs to health savings accounts and electronic medical records.
  5. Stunning data visualization just got interactive: Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks seems to have been around since January, but it’s news to me. Using 2007-2011 data from the American Community Survey, neighborhoods on Google Maps have been color-coded for median income. We know that socioeconomic status is tied to population health—how does your community look?

Did we miss anything? Thoughts on the news? Leave it in the comments!

Adrianna is a graduate student in public policy and public health at the University of Michigan.
Follow her on Twitter @onceuponA or subscribe to the blog.


2 thoughts on “Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

  1. Bryant says:

    Really like this roundup, especially richblocks/poorblocks (although next time you should include a link in the post!). we just started a blog over at, a feature of which was going to be a weekly roundup…but yours is so concise/good it might just end up being a link to your posts…

    anyway, if you like that map, you might also like this one over on tyler cowen’s blog. its a map of 50 states with equal population…

    keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: