The Congressional Budget Office issued two significant reports yesterday — updated budget projections and a projection of federal subsidies for people under age 65 — both for 2016 to 2026. On Tuesday March 29, CBO will release its analysis of the President’s FY 2017 budget which will reveal CBO’s projections for the costs or savings associated with OPM’s suggested legislative changes to the FEHBP that were included in the President’s budget.

The FEHBlog has been impressed by the American Medical Association’s President Steven Stack, a young emergency room doctor.  Healthcare Dive offers an interview with Dr. Stack here. Two points from the interview are worth highlighting here:

Late last month, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced a commitment among the industry, including companies that provide 90% of EHRs used by U.S. hospitals, toward creating a more user-friendly, physician-usable EHR. AMA was one of the organizations that signed the pledge. “Physicians are avid adopters of technology,” Stack said but added, “Health IT is kind of late to the game as far as its sophistication and it’s taken a long time to mature to the point where it’s a helpful tool.” 

Nearly one out of every five dollars in the U.S. economy is spent on healthcare. “In this environment, as the business has escalated in its size and the government has become an ever-larger purchaser of healthcare through programs like Medicare and Medicaid and more involved in efforts like Meaningful Use, the burden of regulations has escalated substantially,” Stack said. “So the politics and the business of healthcare have put extra strain and challenge on the humanism of healthcare, which fundamentally is what most patients rely upon in their moment of deepest need.”

Finally a few quick hits for this Friday afternoon:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports today on a recent clinical study finding a strong correlation between calcium levels in breast and coronary arteries. The upshot is that before long mammograms also may help diagnose heart disease in women. Two for the price of one.
  • Employee Benefit News provides more background on the application of gaming theories or “gamification” to wellness programs.
  • The Centers for Disease Control have refreshed their National Diabetes Prevention Program website.