About: Katherine Restrepo

Recent Posts by Katherine Restrepo

Obamacare and the “family glitch”

From today’s Washington Examiner: In theory, Obamacare is supposed to offer fully or partially subsidized health insurance to Americans below a certain income threshold if they do not have the option of obtaining affordable coverage through their employers. “Affordable” is defined as coverage cheaper than 9.5 percent of household income. But under a ruling byContinue Reading

Reducing Health Care Costs – Less Regulation, More Transparency

When it comes to reforming our nation’s health care system, both sides of the political spectrum point to the “triple aim” — reduce health care costs, improve quality and access, and increase individuals’ overall health. Now that Obamacare has added millions more to public and private health insurance roles, demand for health services will mostContinue Reading

Medicaid Expansion a jobs program?

As the debate continues whether North Carolina should expand Medicaid, proponents claim that expansion money from the feds would create 25,000 jobs in the state – employment created by redistribution of taxpayer money. Katherine Baicker, health economist at the Harvard School of Public Health, articulately explains in the New England Journal of Medicine that an employment increaseContinue Reading

3 ways to reduce health care costs

1. Improve price transparency   Imagine if more surgery centers or hospitals posted prices for procedures. You can check out The Surgery Center of Oklahoma’s full list here. 2. Reference Pricing Insurers could offer a defined amount of money to a patient for surgery – enough to cover the cost of a procedure in some facilities, or theContinue Reading

Certificate of Need Suppresses Competition

If medical providers have plans to build or expand an existing health care facility, offer new services, update or purchase major medical equipment, they will most likely have to apply for a “certificate of need” from the Health Planning Development Agency, an arm of North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Why theContinue Reading

Does Medicaid improve patient health outcomes?

While Medicaid is a public health insurance program designed to help the most vulnerable populations, it generally fails to meet its good intentions. Thus, reforming the current system ranks a higher priority. Avik Roy, editor and principal author of Forbes’ Apothecary, just released Transcending Obamacare, a lengthy proposal on how states can realistically pivot towards decentralizedContinue Reading

Are North Carolinians paying for other state Medicaid expansions?

This month, the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report assessing the financial impacts of North Carolina’s decision to forgo the Affordable Care Act’s optional Medicaid expansion. Extending eligibility levels of our broken – yes, broken – medical assistance safety net would cost state taxpayers an additional $300 million per year, amountingContinue Reading

What triggers skyrocketing health care costs?

Provider Consolidation. The more market power a hospital has, the more leverage it has over insurance companies – resulting in higher prices for services and higher costs for patients. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina provides a visual of the upward trend of hospital mergers since 2000:   Year 2000:  Year 2014:  

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