What do rat holes, cane toads, mongooses, and kudzu have to do with healthcare reform and physician incentives? A lot, at least according to Dr. Edmund Billings in a recent post on The Health Care Blog. Dr. Billings, citing data from the RAND Report and an article in the New York Times argues that a lot of the driving force behind incentives for certain types of behavior by hospitals and doctors put the proverbial cart before the horse—or the mongoose before the bird egg.

Billings writes, “We incentivized comprehensive IT adoption, making it easier to bill for every procedure, examination, aspirin, tongue depressor, kind word and gentle (or not) touch without first flipping the American healthcare paradigm on its head, if such a thing is even possible.” And what we’re going to get, he says, is akin to introducing cane toads to Australia in an attempt to control beetle populations before knowing that—oops—those darn toads couldn’t jump high enough to gobble up the pesky bugs. Unintended consequence: too many toads mucking up the ecosystem.

In other healthcare finance news today…

Ohio Governor John Kasich became one of five other Republican state leaders to support the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act according to Reuters (via @KentBottles on Twitter). Will more statehouses line up behind this provision of the ACA? As we shared on insidePatientFinance.com’s Twitter late last month (courtesy of Kaiser Health News), are Cracks Appearing In GOP Opposition To Health Care Law?

The findings from a soon-to-be-released survey by the conservative group American Action Forum (not to be confused with a couple of new movies starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively, who themselves are anthropomorphized  versions of American Action Figures) contends that sticker shock from potential premiums for healthy, young, American men could lead to another kind of battle over health reform. According to Politico, with whom advance results from the survey were shared, insurance premiums for some men could as much as triple under the ACA—assuming, of course, that a host of other conditions and assumptions are met.

And one other tidbit you may have missed that has absolutely nothing to do with healthcare finance but it still life-affirming in pretty much every possible way: here’s a great video on Mashable showing how high school students at Conifer High School in Colorado built a robotic device to help Flipper, a sweet cat with a messed up spine, walk.


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