NCHC in the News (2016)

NCHC Writer
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Congress Shouldn’t Raise Drug Prices For Those In Need

By John Rother (Morning Consult) – In its latest move to insulate rising drug prices, the pharmaceutical industry has launched a campaign to discontinue the 340B program, which provides drug discounts for the treatment of low-income and other underserved patients. March 5, 2015

Is Obamacare Working? Progress, but Obstacles Remain

By John Rother (U.S. News & World Report) – After less than a year in operation, the Affordable Care Act appears to be spurring promising indications of progress in the US health care system. However, serious obstacles remain to achieving widespread health care access and affordability. November 24, 2014

Is Specialty Pharma At A Tipping Point?

By Wendy Diller (Forbes) – Gilead has been under fire from payers, employers and patient groups for the pricing of Sovaldi, its high-cost hepatitis C medication, and now Harvoni, which received FDA approval on Oct. 10. Sovaldi isn’t the first drug to come close to or have a six-figure price tag for a course of treatment, but for a multitude of reasons, more than 10 months after launch, it continues to be a tinderbox. October 15, 2014

 Officials Question the Rising Costs of Generic Drugs

By Elisabeth Rosenthal (The New York Times) – The prices of some generic drugs have soared more than 1,000 percent in the last year, and federal officials are demanding that generic drug makers explain the reasons for the increases or potentially face new regulation. October 7, 2014

  What are the four Obamacare health insurance plans?

By Allie Johnson (—Do you plan to shop on the health insurance exchanges that are being set up as the result of federal health care reform, also known as Obamacare? If so, you might be wondering how you’ll decide which of the four health insurance plans are right for you. May 15, 2013

Gone, but Still Linked to the Home Office

By Amy Zipkin (The New York Times)—A few years after John McGowan, a former contracts negotiator at Hewlett-Packard, took early retirement in 2006 at age 59, a friend persuaded him to join the H.P. Agilent Retired Employees Club-Bay Area, one of more than a dozen H.P. retiree clubs in the United States and abroad. Last fall he became president of the 1,300-member group, whose activities include lunches, hikes, bowling, golf outings and community service. May 14, 2013

Who is Responsible?

By Mike MacDonald (Touched by Cancer Magazine)—Have you ever gone into your general practitioner’s office with some strange cough, crud or ailment that you couldn’t quite put your finger on, only to have him or her tell you exactly what it is by hearing only the first few symptoms? It’s because that’s what they do, and experience has taught them “This symptom equals that illness.” It’s like a baker who can tell cakes are done when there are still two minutes left on the timer, or a plumber who can tell you what problem lies behind the wall by looking at a small puddle on the floor. There’s no substitute for experience. Mar/Apr 2013

About the Sequester

By John Rother (MedPage Today)—With the sequester in place, some in Congress have embraced it, believing that these across-the-board cuts can actually help address our long-term fiscal problems. They are badly mistaken. This Congress has not even begun to grapple with what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has called our greatest fiscal challenge: rising healthcare costs. In fact, the debate around the sequester has diverted attention from the more fundamental goals of “bending the curve” of rising per capita healthcare costs and getting more value for our public and private healthcare dollars. Mar 06, 2013

Cancer Misdiagnoses Surprisingly Common

By Joe Cantlupe (HealthLeaders Media)—An acquaintance of mine was diagnosed with throat cancer, and the doctor assured him that, while serious, the road to recovery would be relatively straightforward and uneventful, because it was Stage I, maybe Stage II. His wife wasn’t convinced, and suggested that her husband seek a second opinion. He went to a prestigious hospital for evaluation, and the verdict was Stage IV—much more serious, disruptive, and disheartening, and yes, it was the correct diagnosis. Feb 7, 2013

Checking the vitals of health reform

By David Durenberger (Politico)—You can hear the volume of partisan rhetoric increase in Washington as public confidence in its ability to resolve any complex issue declines. It’s both dumbfounding and discouraging when you consider how prepared Americans really are to embrace real reform if only the people they’ve elected to leadership would level with them — and with each other. Jan 31, 2013

Misdiagnosing Cancer is More Common Than We Think

By Jamie Duchame (Boston Magazine)—According to a statement issued yesterday by Boston-based Best Doctors, Inc., cancer is commonly misdiagnosed. In a joint study between Best Doctors and the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), researchers found that 60.5 percent of doctors surveyed believed cancer
misdiagnosis rates to be between zero and 10 percent, a number far lower than the 28 percent estimated by the BMJ Quality and Safety journal. The study also found that doctors believed lymphoma to be the most misdiagnosed cancer, followed by, in order, breast cancer, sarcomas, melanomas, and cancer of an unknown site. Jan 31, 2013

Doctors: Misdiagnosis Needs Policy Attention

By Evan Falchuk (See First Blog)—If you study misdiagnosis you realize how often patients get the wrong diagnosis. But what do expert doctors think about how often it happens? And what do they think can be done to address it? We wanted to find out so we partnered with the National Coalition on Healthcare to conduct a landmark, nationwide survey. We surveyed 400 cancer specialists from our Best Doctors database – and the findings were provocative. Jan 30, 2013

Survey shows doctors want lawmakers help in preventing misdiagnosis

By Morgan True (The Patriot Ledger)—A nationwide survey of 400 leading cancer specialists that focused on what they perceive to be the cause of misdiagnoses showed doctors blame incomplete medical information and support legal incentives for hospitals to confidentially report misdiagnoses. Jan 30,2013

Landmark Nationwide Survey on Cancer Misdiagnosis Released

By Staff Editor (—The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) and Best Doctors, Inc. today released results of a major joint survey investigating the issue of diagnostic accuracy in cancer. The nationwide survey of 400 leading cancer specialists from Best Doctors’ physician database, audited and certified by Gallup®, assessed how often participating doctors believe misdiagnoses occur, what physicians feel are the most significant barriers to accurately diagnosing and characterizing cancers, and the tools or technology doctors feel would best help them improve diagnostic accuracy rates. Jan 29, 2013

Medicare and America’s Economic Security

By John Rother (Aging Today, Vol. 34, No. 1)—Despite 2012 campaign rhetoric claiming the contrary, Medicare faces certain change. Pressure to keep cost growth down will ensure that Medicare will be part of deficit reduction negotiations over the coming months. This is not surprising, given that both Democratic and Republican leaders have expressed their commitment to limiting its cost growth. Both parties are even committed to the same growth ceiling
for Medicare: GDP plus 0.5 percent per capita. They differ, however, on how to achieve this goal. Jan/Feb 2013

Building a Better Health Care System: Should We Be Tracking Misdiagnosis?

By Evan Falchuk (The Health Care Blog)—If you study misdiagnosis you realize how often patients get the wrong diagnosis. But what do expert doctors think about how often it happens? And what do they think can be done to address it? We wanted to find out so we partnered with the National Coalition on Healthcare to conduct a landmark, nationwide survey. We surveyed 400 cancer specialists from our Best Doctors database – and the findings were provocative. Feb 1, 2013

Pete Stark, Health Policy Warrior, Leaves A Long Legacy

By Julie Rovner (National Public Radio)—The 113th Congress will be the first one in 40 years to convene without California Rep. Pete Stark as a member. Stark was defeated in November by a fellow Democrat under new California voting rules. Stark may not be a household name, but he leaves a long-lasting mark on the nation’s health care system. So just how influential has Pete Stark been on health policy in his four decades on Capitol Hill? Very, says John Rother, head of the National Coalition on Health Care. Jan 02, 2013

Cost savings or cost shifting on Medicare

By Jim Landers (Dallas News Biz Beat Blog)—In the fiscal cliff negotiations, everyone seems to agree that health care costs must be tamed. One idea for curbing the expense of Medicare – raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 – was criticized Tuesday as cost shifting rather than saving money. Dec 05, 2012

Rx Adherence Seen as Matter of Incentives

By David Pittman (MedPage Today)—Physicians and health plans need more financial incentives to spur greater medication adherence, experts said Thursday at a panel discussion here. Without such a push, the healthcare community will continue to struggle with the issue of getting patients to take their medication as prescribed, they agreed. An estimated three-fourths of patients either stop their medication, don’t use it, don’t refill it, or don’t take their medication often enough. Nov 29, 2012

Federal Health Policy Plan – National Coalition on Health Care

Washington, DC (NAMI Texas)—The National Coalition on Health Care recently released a proposal to help the federal government address the issues of the budget deficit and rising health care costs. They offer a 7-point strategy, along with 50 specific recommendations, for closing the deficit and reducing health care costs. Nov 26, 2012

Best Doctors Joins 14 Leading Health Organizations in Supporting National Coalition on Health Care’s “Curbing Costs, Improving Care” Plan for Health and Fiscal Policy

Washington, DC (Best Doctors, Inc.)—Best Doctors Joins 14 Leading Health Organizations in Supporting National Coalition on Health Care’s “Curbing Costs, Improving Care” Plan for Health and Fiscal Policy. Read stakeholder perspectives on the NCHC Plan here. Nov 13, 2012

National Coalition on Health Care Report Cites V-BID as a “Game-changer”

Ann Arbor, MI (See Change Health)—In their plan for health and fiscal policy, the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) refers to value-based insurance design (V-BID) as a “game changer” putting the concept of value in insurance design at the forefront of ideas that could address fiscal challenges and transform health system incentives. Nov 15, 2012

Home Healthcare Program Integrity Reform Proposals Underscore Need for Increased Efforts to Curb Medicare Fraud and Abuse

Washington, DC (Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare)—A newly released plan for healthcare savings and reform by the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) underscores the need to strengthen the Medicare program through program integrity reforms such as those advanced by leaders in the home healthcare community, according to the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. Nov 14, 2012

Coalition pushes new proposal to avoid Medicare, Medicaid cuts

By Noam Levey (Los Angeles Times)–With President Obama and congressional Republicans turning to address the looming budget crisis, a coalition of consumer groups, labor unions and major employers is pushing new approaches to control federal health spending without cutting benefits for seniors and others who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. Nov 08, 2012

CalPERS Supports National Coalition on Health Care Strategies for Reducing Long-Term Health Care Costs

Sacramento, CA (Sierra Sun Times)–The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced its support of a paper released by the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) that charts a seven-point strategy to resolve two major issues facing the country: closing the immediate gap between federal spending and revenues, and addressing the long-term challenge of rising health costs. Nov 08, 2012

What’s Next on Health Care Costs?

Laura Etherton (US PIRG Blog)—Now that the election is over, talk has turned to the need to work together and get results for America. It’s a tall order, and on the polarized issue of health care, it may seem at first like an impossible task. But I am hopeful that we can make significant progress together. Heaven knows we need to. Rising costs are wreaking havoc on state and federal budgets, and in the budgets of families and businesses across America. Here’s the first reason for cautious optimism that we can make progress on health care costs: We mostly agree on the problem. Nov 08, 2012

Health Care Coalition Offers Options For Health Savings And Revenue Raisers

By Jane Norman (CQ Health Beat)—The National Coalition on Health Care said its plan to save $220 billion in government health spending and raise $276 billion in revenue also included more general “game changers” with the potential to cut spending across the board in the private sector as well. Coalition leaders characterized their ideas as ones that could help improve performance, reduce waste and increase value rather than just bluntly cutting payments to providers or beneficiaries. Nov 08, 2012

Democrats’ Medicare Offensive Falls Flat Against GOP

By Richard E. Cohen (The Atlantic)—At first glance, Tuesday’s election does not appear to have altered much the country’s health care politics: Many of the same key players and issues will dominate the congressional debate. Yet the temptation to claim a “status quo” outcome from the election ignores broader trends in this year’s health and Medicare debates, according to longtime congressional observers. Nov 07, 2012

Broad Alliance of Health Groups Releases Plan to Lower Costs, Improve Care

Washington, DC (PRNewswire-USNewswire)—The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), a broad national alliance of consumers, providers and payers, released a plan for health and fiscal policy at the National Press Club in Washington today. The plan pairs nearly $500 billion in spending reductions and health-related revenues with longer-term policy changes designed to make health care affordable in the public and private sectors. Nov 06, 2012

The Hill’s 2012 Top Lobbyists

By The Hill Staff (The Hill)—2012 hasn’t been the best year for K Street, but it’s too soon to call it a bust. A divided government and the demands of campaigning have kept Congress in low gear, depressing revenue at lobby shops and leaving trade associations and grassroots groups in planning mode. But Election Day is nearly here, bringing with it a lame-duck session that many in Washington believe will be among the busiest and most consequential of modern times. Oct 31, 2012

Delaware searches for way to treat better at lower cost

Kelly April Tyrrell (The News Journal)—Dr. Joel Chodos uses the example of a patient he treated for a stubborn intestinal infection to explain why health care is so expensive. Chodos, a Newark gastroenterologist, offered his patient two options to address the infection, which in some cases can be fatal: a $90-a-day antibiotic pill or an $11-a-day liquid antibiotic that his patient would have to drink. Both treatments are equally effective, and both are taken for 10 days. So the choice really came down to money: $900 or $110. Oct 28, 2012

Will health care cops come after you for not buying mandated health insurance?

By Allie Johnson (—The requirement in the new federal health care reform law that almost every individual must buy health insurance raises one big question: Exactly how will it work? Some pundits have fueled concerns that this provision, known as the individual mandate, will have health care cops knocking on doors and government spies peeking at insurance policies. But experts say that in the worst-case scenario, you’d likely just get a letter from the IRS and be hit with a fine. Oct 21, 2012

3 views on whether the Congress should repeal Obamacare: a middle way

By John Rother (Christian Science Monitor)—The real question is not whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Political rhetoric aside, leaders on both sides realize the importance of some of its benefits (covering preexisting conditions, for instance), and its initial steps to curb costs in Medicare. These provisions are here to stay. The real question is how to further curb costs and ensure coverage is within reach for all. It is possible to do both. Republicans and Democrats may seem miles apart today, but they have an example in Medicare, which was passed with bipartisan support and adjusted over time by leaders in both parties. Oct 16, 2012

Is Court’s Health-Care Ruling a Wise Decision? It Depends…

By Margaret Steele (US News)—Supporters of the Obama administration’s health care reform law said Thursday that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the landmark legislation protects the health of millions of Americans, but critics claim it does so at the expense of key civil liberties and exacts a high economic toll. The 5-to-4 ruling “means millions of Americans can look forward to the coverage they need to get healthy and stay healthy,” Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement. June 28, 2012

Health Policy Groups Prepare For Day Of Spin

By Shefali S. Kulkarni (Kaiser Health News Blog)—The anticipation over the Supreme Court’s health law ruling has the health policy world busy with activity. Interest groups, advocates and other stakeholders are not only awaiting for the Court’s decision, they are strategizing and agonizing over the best ways to get their reactions out to the public — just as soon as they figure out what to say. “I’ve been telling everyone that I don’t have butterflies in my stomach, I feel like I have a pack of elephants in my stomach,” said Families USA executive director Ron Pollack. Pollack’s organization, like many others, has multiple press releases ready to go, depending on how the court rules. June 27, 2012

Health Care Ruling Won’t Stop All of Industry’s Changes

By Margot Sanger-Katz (National Journal)—Whatever the Supreme Court does on Thursday, there’s no time machine for the health care system. Legally, a ruling reversing or eviscerating the Affordable Care Act could bring the country back to 2009. But practically, there’s no going back. In the two years since the health care legislation became law, big players in the industry have begun reshaping their business practices, changing their structures, and altering the
rules of play in ways that will be difficult to reverse. June 27, 2012

K Street Files: Lobbyists Prep for SCOTUS Ruling

By Kate Ackley (Roll Call)—On K Street, waiting for the Supreme Court’s health care ruling goes something like this: schedule post-decision client conference calls, write multiple drafts of talking points for different outcomes, and hole up in a conference room trying to figure out whether constitutional law-speak can translate into English. Every interest with a stake in the health care overhaul — which covers basically every lobbyist in town — has been waiting and speculating on whether the statute survives a constitutional challenge. And they are waiting some more with the decision not due until Thursday. June 26, 2012

Five myths about Medicare

By John Rother (Washington Post)—Because of Medicare’s size and growth, the health-care program has taken center stage on the campaign trail and in Capitol Hill discussions about the federal budget deficit. Medicare covers almost one in six Americans and comprises about 15 percent of the federal budget, but it is often misunderstood. Let’s take a few minutes to separate fact from fiction. February 24, 2012

How Specialty Societies And Patient Advocacy Groups Can Advance Comparative Effectiveness Research

By Norman Kahn and John Rother (Health Affairs Blog)—Specialty societies and patient advocates have critical roles to play to help accelerate the benefits of comparative effectiveness research (CER). With the attention and respect they receive from their physician members, specialty societies are a trusted intermediary that can convey the views of practicing physicians to those sponsoring and conducting research, disseminate research findings widely and effectively, and foster conversations about the research and its importance between patients and physicians. December 07, 2011

Our ailing health care

By Ralph G. Neas (Politico)—Rising costs throughout the U.S. health system are a form of internal bleeding likely to doom any economic recovery or deficit reduction plan that does not address the problem directly and systemically.
Any efforts to bring our nation to fiscal or economic health will be futile if the hemorrhaging of health care costs remains unchecked. May 27, 2011