Skip to main content

News & Updates

US of Care Summer Reading List

Published On August 12, 2019

By: Sophie Lélias

This month we are featuring a USofCare Summer Reading List — a curated list of articles, op-eds, studies, and podcasts by our Founder’s Council members, staff, partners, and friends. We hope for this to be the ultimate health policy reading guide, perfect for lounging by the pool, on the beach, or simply just on your couch with the AC blasting.

2019 State Health Policy Progress Memo – United States of Care (June 14, 2019)

“From addressing skyrocketing prescription drug costs to finding ways to make additional affordable coverage choices available, state leaders are responding to Americans’ desire to see our health care system work better for everyone. Examples from at least 14 states demonstrate that progress on health care is possible, with leaders coming together to advance meaningful changes.”

Another Lawmaker Overlooks Pain Management in Bill to Fight Opioid Crisis – Rebecca Cokley (March 28, 2019)

“Hardly a day goes by when the discussion of opioids and their misuse is not on the front page of local or national newspapers. However, the flipside of the issue, pain management, is barely, if ever, centered in the conversation.”

Yes, There’s Hope for Health Care Reform – Lanhee Chen (August 31, 2018)

“The political divide over the insurance provisions of the Affordable Care Act looks to be unbridgeable for now, but out of public view, Republicans and Democrats are quietly forging a consensus on an even more consequential aspect of medical care: improving its value for all Americans by increasing its quality and lowering its cost.”

A Second Opinion Podcast, Ep 2: Senator Lamar Alexander – Senator Bill Frist, M.D. (July 22, 2019)

“Senator Lamar Alexander is a two-term Governor of Tennessee, a former U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, and today Chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  He is an enigma in today’s political climate, achieving major bipartisan legislative victories like the ’21st Century Cures Act’ and ‘Every Student Succeeds Act,’ while Washington is gridlocked by partisanship. In this conversation, Senator Alexander shares how he’s navigated Congress as an effective lawmaker, and what’s next on the health policy agenda.”

California’s new budget invests in overlooked piece of health care puzzle: workers – Sandra Hernández (June 25, 2019)

“Gov. Gavin Newsom is poised to sign the largest, most comprehensive set of proposals in years to expand California’s health workforce pipeline – tapping $300 million in the 2019-20 budget to address an often overlooked threat to our healthcare system: a shortage of qualified health professionals.”

Improving access to mental health services is key to reversing US life expectancy decline – Andy Slavitt and Ben Miller (June 10, 2019)

“This past month was Mental Health month, yet just having one month to address an issue that impacts us all is not sufficient while our country is suffering. We have a crisis on our hands, one which will require all levels of government to respond with the resources and evidence-based policies that can improve mental health and well-being for all.”

Why Doctors Hate Their Computers – Atul Gawande (November 5, 2018)

“On a sunny afternoon in May, 2015, I joined a dozen other surgeons at a downtown Boston office building to begin sixteen hours of mandatory computer training. We sat in three rows, each of us parked behind a desktop computer. In one month, our daily routines would come to depend upon mastery of Epic, the new medical software system on the screens in front of us. The upgrade from our home-built software would cost the hospital system where we worked, Partners HealthCare, a staggering $1.6 billion, but it aimed to keep us technologically up to date.”

Bring Innovative Care to Rural Communities – Sarah Krevans (July 30, 2019)

“Rural hospitals represent half of all hospitals in the U.S. and provide critical access to inpatient, outpatient and emergency services. Yet, in the past three years, more than 90 rural hospitals have closed their doors across the country and more than 77 percent of rural counties in America have a shortage of primary care options, according to the National Rural Healthcare Association.”

To Save on Health Care, Change What the Doctor Orders – Peter Orszag (August 8, 2018)

“Health care costs too much for what we get in return. Is it more reasonable to hope that doctors will curb unnecessary spending, or consumers? I have long believed that while both are useful, our primary focus should be on influencing what doctors recommend. Recent evidence shows that should indeed be where we put most of the emphasis. Consumer-driven health care may have some benefits, but it doesn’t come close to a doctor-driven approach.”

For Healthy Communities, Look Beyond Diet and Exercise – Jay Walljasper (July 18, 2019)

“Seattle’s economy is booming. The city ranks near the top of the list of America’s healthiest cities, and young people from across the United States dream of moving there. Yet a morning walk amid the gleaming office towers downtown reveals a different story. People sleep on the sidewalk, wrapped in blankets. A man paces back and forth violently slamming a football against his palm. A young woman shouts to no one in particular, ‘I never did get a hug.’”

States Are Taking New Steps to Protect Consumers from Balance Billing, But Federal Action is Necessary to Fill Gaps – Jack Hoadley, Kevin Lucia, Maanasa Kona (July 15, 2019)

“A total of 27 states have enacted at least some consumer protections against surprise medical bills, a problem that’s been gaining increasing attention. Some states go much further than others in protecting patients from surprise medical bills, such as banning balance billing, extending protections to in-network hospitals settings, and adopting dispute resolution”

Podcast: Drug Pricing in America Hits the ‘Point of Absurdity’ – Laura Arnold (April 29, 2019)

“Welcome to our new issues-based podcast, “Deep Dive with Laura Arnold,” where Arnold Ventures Co-Chair and host Laura Arnold will explore market failures in health care, criminal justice, education, and public finance — and how to fix them. Our first episode tackles the broken drug pricing system and dismantles myths perpetuated by pharmaceutical companies with guest David Mitchell of Patients for Affordable Drugs.”

 Americans Borrowed $88 Billion to Pay for Health Care Last Year, Survey Finds – Karen Zraick (April 2, 2019)

“Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion over the last year to pay for health care, according to a survey released on Tuesday by Gallup and the nonprofit West Health. The survey also found that one in four Americans have skipped treatment because of the cost, and that nearly half fear bankruptcy in the event of a health emergency.”

There is No “Silver Bullet” For Mental Health: The Problem of the IMD Exclusion – Ben Miller and Emma Sandoe (April 2, 2019)

“A pervasive history of health care fragmentation in the United States has led to policies that are often archaic, nonsensical, and harmful. Life expectancy has dropped for a third year in a row, and the US still spends more money on—while getting less value in—health care than any other country in the world.”

Poll: Four in Ten Rural Americans Report Problems Paying for Medical Bills, Housing, or Food; Majority Optimistic About Having an Impact on Improving Their Communities – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (May 21, 2019)

“According to a new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll, although a majority of rural Americans are optimistic about having an impact on improving their local communities (62%), a small share are experiencing problems in areas that carry major consequences, including financial insecurity, trouble accessing affordable, quality health care, lack of high-speed internet access, housing, and isolation/loneliness.”

Measuring The Burden Of Health Care Costs For Working Families – Megan McCarthy-Alfano, Aaron Glickman, Kristin Wikelius, and Janet Weiner (April 2, 2019)

“Political debate over the Affordable Care Act has defined the health policy political landscape for nearly a decade.  The impassioned back and forth over whether to “repeal and replace” or strengthen and defend the law has been a focus of multiple election cycles and millions of dollars in political ad spending. Amidst this ongoing discourse, it is easy to overlook the law’s important reforms to employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), which covers the majority of nonelderly Americans. The escalating costs faced by individuals and families with ESI have received far less attention than costs on the individual market or in public programs, but affordability concerns for this group are no less important.”

What Is an Inflationary Rebate, and How Can It Help Bring Down Drug Prices? – Andrea Noda and Mark E. Miller (July 22, 2019)

“Arnold Ventures has encouraged lawmakers to consider requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay Medicare a penalty if their list price — the price set by the manufacturer before rebates and discounts are applied — grows faster than inflation. This idea is now being discussed in both the House and the Senate, so we thought it would be helpful to answer some key questions about the mechanics of the policy.”

Looking Ahead: Policy Options for Addressing High Drug Prices – Lovisa Gustafsson (July 20, 2019)

“Polling data show that high health care costs — and prescription drug prices in particular — are of major concern to Americans. Public outcry over the price of prescription drugs has contributed to the Trump administration and Congress taking steps to address prescription drug pricing. The administration laid out an ambitious multipronged approach to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket costs.”