CBO: 1974, 2014 & 2024 Print E-mail
Written by Don Taylor | freeforall   
Sunday, 14 September 2014 11:06

Health policy and budget wonkery and the politics of where they meet

CBO has released a long term budget outlook update. It has more detailed than average discussion of their assumptions about economic growth-an interesting read. They also reduced again their 10 year Medicare spending projections. The continuing deceleration of Medicare spending is the most important policy story that does not get much attention. Still plenty of uncertainty about its etiology and how long it will last, but it is good news (which doesn't travel fast), that is cooked into the cake so to speak, whatever comes next.
This figure 1-5 (p. 19) comparing the federal budget in 1974, 2014 and 2024 projection from the report caught my eye. The huge growth in Major Health Care Programs is both demographic (the baby boomers) and health care inflation the past 40 years (ACA contributes, but is not the main thing going on; see p. 12, table 1-2). Even as health care inflation has moderated, the baby boomers moving into Medicare (and also Medicaid via long term care expenses) foretells continued growth of the Major Health Care programs bucket in the federal budget. And the increase in Social Security is wholly demographic.

The demographic drivers of this were inevitable in 1974.

About Free for All: This is the primary blog of Don Taylor, Associate Professor of Public Policy of Duke University that focuses on health policy, the federal budget and the politics of these key public policy issues.

Last Updated on Sunday, 14 September 2014 11:15
Med Mal Litigation Likely in Joan Rivers' Death Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 11:54

Comedienne Joan Rivers has passed away at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York after being taken off life support Sept. 4. She was 81.

According to

Rivers' death came seven days after she went into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a routine throat surgery at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York. The New York Department of Health is currently investigating Yorkville Endoscopy to see what went wrong during her surgery.

Meanwhile, reports:

The death has been reported to the NYC Medical Examiner's Office -- and officials tell TMZ the office will open an investigation to determine cause of death. adds:

Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan opened in February 2013 as a state-of-the-art surgical center. It's not yet clear which doctor or doctors performed the endoscopic procedure on the 81-year-old comedian. In 2004, a 93-year-old man sued doctors now with the clinic over the same procedure - saying he was never properly informed of the risks and contracted pneumonia - but lost.

Speculation is rampant that the incident will lead to medical malpractice litigation.  According to Delray Beach based Medical Malpractice Insurance Specialist Matt Gracey, "Whenever a case like this lands in the media spotlight my worry is that the public will become more concerned about the quality of medical care in general versus just seeing this as an unfortunate isolated incident. The more concern the public has, the more those concerns find their way into doctor/patient relationships and even into jury rooms." Adds Ft. Lauderdale based Medical Malpractice Defense Attorney Michael Anthony Petruccelli, "Given the media reports suggesting that the subject operative procedure was a fairly straight forward one, the potential for a medical negligence action may well depend on the autopsy findings and specifically, whether the autopsy findings determine an iatrogenic cause for the injury and eventual demise."

With the 2003 Med Mal Caps lifted by Florida Supreme Court Order earlier this year, healthcare providers and litigators in the state are sure to be monitoring this situation closely.  A high profile case like this closer to home could destabilize the relatively peaceful and modestly priced medical malpractice market that currently exists in Florida.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 12:12
DEA: Hydrocodone-Combination Products Reclassified As Schedule II Drugs Print E-mail
Written by Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 08:37

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified hydrocodone-combination products as the more restrictive Schedule II drugs in an attempt to curb drug abuse and diversion.

The DEA published the Final Rule in the Federal Register on Aug. 22. The Final Rule will take effect in 45 days and will apply to “all pharmaceuticals containing hydrocodone currently on the market in the United States.”

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Sponsor Showcase Print E-mail
Written by Sponsor   
Sunday, 14 September 2014 00:00
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Last Updated on Sunday, 14 September 2014 11:14

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