October 29, 2004

The Latest Reports in Health Policy | Reports Examine Minority Health Care Gap in United States, Variations in Primary Care Among Five Countries

"Trends in Health Insurance Coverage and Access Among Black, Latino and White Americans, 2001-2003," Center for Studying Health System Change: The health insurance gap among Latino, black and white U.S. residents remained consistent from 2001 to 2003, with Latinos and blacks reporting lower levels of access to care than whites, according to an HSC study. While insurance rates changed little during that time, sources of coverage shifted -- especially for Latinos -- from job-based to public coverage, suggesting the economic downturn had a greater effect on Latinos, according to the study (Center for Studying Health System Change release, 10/28).

"Primary Care and Health System Performance: Adults' Experiences in Five Countries," Health Affairs: The Health Affairs Web exclusive report by Cathy Schoen, vice president of Health Policy, Research and Evaluation at the Commonwealth Fund; Robin Osborn, vice president of International Health Policy and Practice at the Commonwealth Fund; and colleagues finds shortfalls in the delivery of safe, effective, timely and patient-centered primary care, with variations among the countries surveyed -- Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. With the exception of preventive care, the U.S. scores poorly on most care issues studies (Schoen et al., Health Affairs, 10/28).
A HealthCast of the briefing to discuss the report will be available online at kaisernetwork.org. In addition, a kaisernetwork.org interview with Cathy Schoen of the Commonwealth Fund and the Honorable John Hutton MP, minister of state for health in England, about the report and health system reform efforts in the UK will be available online.

"The Role of PBMs in Implementing the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit," Health Affairs: In a Health Affairs Web exclusive report, Bob Atlas, Rockville, Md.-based consultant in health care strategy and management and former president of the Lewin Group, examines the history and business practices of pharmacy benefit managers, as well as how the companies will be involved in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. According to the report, PBMs appear to have "both the capacity and the technical capability to deliver the benefits, although many PBMs will likely partner with others more comfortable taking risk: insurers or the government itself" (Atlas, Health Affairs, 10/28).

Posted by hawki068 at October 29, 2004 1:57 PM