Happy Super Bowl Sunday

And it’s time to get in a post before the big game begins.

Congress is in session this week. Here’s a link to the Week in Congress’s account of last week’s actions on Capitol Hill.  Congress is expected to approve a further continuing resolution funding the federal government past February 8. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the obvious problems with governing through continuing resolutions. Healer, heal thyself because the House of Representatives did pass a spending bill before September 30. The hold up has been in the Senate.

While on the topic of complaints,

  • Health Data Management discusses why healthcare interoperability moves at a snail’s pace. 
  • Medpage Today documents the mediocre progress in implementing value based medicine (but don’t give up hope yet), and 
  • Modern Healthcare reports that doctors are concerned that new Medicare quality measures ding them for cost out their control.  “‘Physicians are questioning what the patient’s part in all these is going to be,” [surgeon Brad] Johnson [M.D.] said. “Are they going to sign a contract that requires them to do follow ups or to quit smoking?” 

This brings us back to the announcement that Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway plan to team up to bring health care to their employees. This consortium, which this helpful Fortune Magazine article discusses, is not ground breaking. More importantly, the consortium is not writing on a blank slate. It’s unfortunate that the companies (and doctors) were not more involved when the Obama Administration designed the electronic medical record giveaway. The Obama Administration’s disregard for electronic medical record interoperability gave birth to the current mess. The Affordable Care Act multitude of consumer protections also restricts independent development although the law allows the most flexibility to the large group market. Nevertheless, even the large group market is subject to ACA requirements, like the prohibition of annual dollar limits, that have caused the number of million dollar health plan claims to escalate. Furthermore, the consortium will have to deal with the significant cost shifting from Medicare and Medicare to private sector plans. These headwinds caused the FEHBlog to quip that the consortium leaders exhibited hubris. But good luck to them.

The FEHBlog always seeks to make readers aware of innovations. For example, MedPage Today explains why Americans need to learn more about genetic sequencing. Good luck to all innovators.