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Healthcare Economics & Policy


Two presentations at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Anaheim, California, highlighted ways in which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the healthcare experience for patients—one good, one not so good.

More than three-fourths of patients without health insurance who were hospitalized for heart attack, stroke or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery incurred catastrophic healthcare expenses before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to research presented Nov. 13 and 14 at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Anaheim, California.

A program that financially penalizes hospitals for excess readmissions for heart failure may have an unintended consequence: higher rates of 30-day and one-year mortality in those patients.

With the exception of a handful of major organs, a recent poll of 63 Lancaster, England, residents yielded one clear result: The global public suffers from a lack of knowledge of basic human anatomy—a phenomenon that could compromise future healthcare efforts and the efficacy of clinical systems.

Increasing access to plain drinking water in school cafeterias throughout the U.S. could prevent 570,000 children from becoming overweight or obese and save $13.1 billion in medical costs and indirect societal costs, suggests a new study in Pediatric Obesity.


Recent Headlines

Disadvantaged groups more likely to be recommended for statin use, less likely to afford it

Recent guidelines in the U.S. suggest cholesterol-lowering statins should be prescribed more widely to prevent heart disease and aid diabetics, but most people who are newly recommended for the medication can’t afford it.

CMS's proposed physician fee schedule stokes concern in interventional cardiologists

Due to a lack of data, CMS has proposed blending the non-surgical and surgical malpractice factors used in rate setting for cardiology procedures—a possibility met with alarm by interventional cardiologists, who perform riskier procedures and pay higher malpractice premiums than general or non-invasive cardiologists.

CRF names Granada president and CEO

The Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) announced Juan F. Granada, MD, has been appointed president and CEO on Monday, Sept. 11.

Physicians weigh in on extent, causes of overtreatment

Most doctors in the United States believe overtreatment is common and could be driven by fear of litigation, patient pressure and personal profit.

More medical students are graduating debt free

About 10 percent more students graduated medical school debt-free in 2016 than in 2010, despite lower scholarship funding, suggesting a higher concentration of students from wealthy backgrounds.

Anthem covers members for noninvasive CAD treatment

A noninvasive technology used to diagnose and treat individuals with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD) is now available to patients covered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Shield of California and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Excessive carbs—not fats—pose greatest dietary risk

Researchers at the European Society of Cardiology Congress are urging a rethink of global dietary guidelines in light of new data.

Prediction model underestimates CV risk in disadvantaged neighborhoods

A widely accepted model systematically underpredicts major atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk in disadvantaged communities, according to a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Unbundling bundles

Unless you were lucky enough to be on an extended summer vacation, you know that CMS proposed to halt bundled payment programs for Episode Payment Models (EPMs) for MI and bypass surgery and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive (CRI) payment model. (Public comment on the changes can be made through October 16th.)

Evolocumab therapy not cost-effective in treating atherosclerotic CVD

The wholesale list price of evolocumab would need to be slashed by roughly one-third—from $14,253 to $9,669—for the cholesterol-lowering drug to meet generally accepted cost-effectiveness standards for treating patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), according to new research.