By Angela Ruggiero | [email protected] | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: August 10, 2018 at 2:08 pm | UPDATED: August 11, 2018 at 8:55 am LIVERMORE — A local union is suing the Livermore City Council for what it alleges is bias ballot language for a measure aimed at lowering patient healthcare costs. But the lawsuit, filed last week in Alameda County Superior Court, is just the latest in a battle over the controversial ballot measure. While Service Employees International Union, the union that put the ballot initiative forward, is suing the city, the city in turn filed a petition so a judge could rule if the measure is even constitutional. SEIU wants the city of Livermore to serve as a type of neutral watchdog, looking at billing for all healthcare providers in the city, to make sure they don’t overcharge patients. But the city states this type of oversight would cost it nearly $2 million a year in operating costs. At its July 23 meeting, City Council … [Read more...] about Livermore sued over city measure for healthcare costs; asks court to rule on legality
Employee healthcare costs
San Diego (Reuters) - Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon who was named this week to head the company being formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to trim employee healthcare costs, on Thursday cited surgery as the single biggest U.S. healthcare cost and said there are ways to both cut costs and improve patient care. Speaking in San Diego at the annual meeting of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance trade association, Gawande also said that end-of-life care needs to take into account the wishes of patients, something which he said is now sorely lacking. Gawande, who practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and as an author has made a name for himself as a critic of medical practices, said some of the focus on the high cost of health care in the United States is misplaced. “We are screaming right now about pharmaceutical costs ... and that is just 10 percent” of total U.S. healthcare spending, … [Read more...] about Head of new U.S. corporate health plan cites surgery as biggest cost
Dive Brief: Currently, 84% of Fortune 50 companies are involved in healthcare, up from 76% in 2013, according to a new report by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI). Last year saw a total of 967 deals in the U.S. health services market. Notable examples include UnitedHealth Group’s acquisitions of Optum and DaVita Medical Group and Cigna’s purchase of Express Scripts. The report divides recent transactions and partnerships into four categories: vertical integrators, employer activists, technology invaders and health retailers. Dive Insight: The report highlights the integration trends shaking up the healthcare industry and the ways big name brands are looking to move into the space. Vertical integrations like the UnitedHealth and Cigna deals and the proposed CVS Health-Aetna merger create new capabilities and efficiencies by providing access to data and services in pharmacy benefits, claims, consumer preferences, value of care and more. The report notes several … [Read more...] about PwC report shines light on M&A disruption in healthcare
Dive Brief: Amazon, J.P. Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway announced Tuesday they are forming an independent company to address healthcare needs of their U.S. employees "free from profit-making incentives and constraints." The corporate giants gave scant details about the new venture in a joint press release, but said the initial focus will be technology solutions to provide their stateside employees with "high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost." The healthcare industry has been anticipating Amazon to make an entrance, potentially with great disruption to the status quo. The vague intentions of the new companies leave open many avenues but also invited skepticism in early reaction. Dive Insight: The short statement quotes the well-known company leaders, and all three discuss rising healthcare costs, with Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett referring to the trend as a “hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the … [Read more...] about Amazon, JPM, Berkshire form new company to tackle health costs
After HMOs and high-deductible plans, employers are eyeing the next bid for value. In line: Narrow provider networks. HMOs, tiered networks, high deductible plans and moving care away from hospitals to lower-cost outpatient facilities are among the bids by payers and employers in recent years to drive quality for the best price. Most employers haven’t pulled the narrow network lever yet despite payers finding success in the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange markets. Employers move more slowly with new insurance models, but seeing effective government programs could prod them to take the leap. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama emphasized experimenting with payment models and other methods that promote quality over quantity with just this goal in mind. Narrow networks go a step beyond HMOs and tiered networks. They restrict networks only to providers and hospitals that … [Read more...] about Could narrow networks be the next big cost cutter?