Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Adrianna McIntyre 

Just a few wonkbites to go with your Halloween candy hangover. 

  1. A modest proposal. Apparently the CEO of eHealth Inc.—the parent company of ehealthinsurance.com, the largest online seller of health insurance—has offered to “take over the shopping and enrollment process in all 36 federal exchange states — without cost to the taxpayer.” According to the article, the Administration has not offered a response. eHealth and other online brokers have contracted with the feds to play a role in the federally-facilitated exchanges, but having the corporation take on broader responsibilities that require interfacing directly with the data hub seems an unlikely development.
  2. Curing the doc fix. The Senate Finance and Ways and Means committees have drafted a proposal to repeal the Medicare “doc fix” (the sustainable growth rate, to use the vernacular) and freeze payment rates. They would replace it with a value-based program aiming to reward quality over quantity, increasing efficiency in the program. The draft language is light on details, and also seems heavy on incentives for positive behavior, without penalizing practices that are inefficient or of subpar quality.
  3. The trouble with patient satisfaction. Patient perspectives matter, and they’re a useful tool in assessing care quality. But metrics designed to measure satisfaction suffer from a number of shortcomings, not the least of which is conflicts that emerge with patients who exhibit drug-seeking behavior.
  4.  Whatever. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress on HealthCare.gov’s October woes. GIFable moments ensued. If 10+ images isn’t your style, here’s the hearing summarized in a single GIF.

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

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