The U.S. health care system scored 64 out of 100 on key measures of performance, according to the third national scorecard report from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, released today. The scorecard finds that - despite pockets of improvement - the U.S as a whole failed to improve when compared to best performers in this country, and among other nations. The report also finds significant erosion in access to care and affordability of care, as health care costs rose far faster than family incomes. At the same time, the scorecard highlights some bright spots for the U.S., with notable gains in quality of care in areas that have been the focus of public reporting or collaborative improvement initiatives. For example, 50 percent of adults with high blood pressure had it under control in 2007-2008, compared with only 31 percent in 1999-2000.
Obama's administration has eliminated one of the Affordable Care Act's key new entitlement programs, saying that the Community Living Assistance Services (CLASS) Act which would have provided a basic lifetime benefit of a least $50 a day in the event of illness or disability, and was supposed to help reduce the federal budget by $86 billion over the coming decade, was simply "unworkable". This is the first time the administration has given up on a major piece of Obama's signature legislative achievement. From day one, the program has been persistently criticized for its unfeasibility. Various members of the Republican party have said the administration's decision is proof that the law is unsustainable and faulty. Every presidential candidate of that party had vowed to repeal the law. The office in charge of creating this insurance program for long-term care had already been closed down by the Department of Health and Human Services last month.
The historic RAND Health Insurance Experiment found that patients had little or no control over their health care spending once they began to receive a physician's care, but a new study shows that this has changed for those enrolled in consumer-directed health plans. Patients with health coverage that includes a high deductible and either a health savings account or a health reimbursement arrangement reduced their costs even after they initiated care. Overall, the study found about two thirds of the reduction in total health care costs was from patients initiating care less often and the remaining third was from a reduction in costs after care is initiated. The findings were published online by the journal Forum for Health Economics and Policy. "Unlike earlier time periods, it seems that today's consumers can have greater influence on the level and mix of medical services provided once they begin to receive medical care, " said Amelia Haviland, the study's lead author and a senior statistician at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization.
Kaiser Family Foundation's annual study, published today (Tuesday 27th Sept) found insurance costs for the 150 Million Americans that have health coverage through their employers jumped by nearly 10% this year, presenting a quite a problem. Kaiser and the Health Research & Educational Trust surveyed 2, 088 randomly selected public and private employers large and small earlier this year. "We're probably on a more modest side ... but even with a 5% increase in a premium (that our workers saw) this year, they didn't get a 5% raise, '' said Jeff Franck, a compensation and benefits manager at Altru Health System, which employs about 3, 700 people in North Dakota and Minnesota, and which participated in the survey. US health insurance is largely provided by employers, however numbers are falling with 2011 showing a drop of some 20 million from 2010 which came in at 170 Million people.
According to the CDC, one million more adults in America now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. During the first three months of this year, the number of young adults aged between 19 and 25 with health insurance rose by 3.5 percentage points, equivalent to about one million more people, data from NHIS (National Health Interview Survey) revealed. Most offspring can now stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they are 26 years of age, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) wrote on its web site today that no other age group had a gain in coverage - the department added that the Affordable Care Act made the difference. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, said: "As a mom, I know how scary it is to think about what could happen to your kids if they go without health care coverage, which is what makes today's news so important.