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Category Archives: Health Care

Measuring the Impact of Ebola: Will it Reach 1.4 Million?

Josh Michaud and Jennifer Kates, Kaiser Family Foundation, September 29, 2014.

“More than six months have passed since Ebola was first identified in West Africa, and the scale of the crisis continues to grow. Over the last few weeks cases and deaths have increased significantly in the two most affected countries – Liberia and Sierra Leone – setting the stage for even more explosive growth in the weeks and months to come if further action is not taken immediately. The sense of urgency in the face of an outbreak that has grown “out of control” has been palpable among public health leaders and politicians alike, including at the United Nations last week.  Some of this urgency has been driven by stark new data and modeling projections just released by the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  To help shed light on these new data, we take a deeper look at several key measures of the epidemic’s impact including estimates of current cases, prevalence and death rates from Ebola, as well as a consideration of the future projections of Ebola’s burden in the months to come. How Many Cases? The global health community relies on the World Health Organization (WHO) as the authoritative source on current Ebola case numbers.  WHO has published updates and situation reports about the West African Ebola epidemic, collected from the country governments, agencies, and organizations working on the ground, approximately every week since August. Even though they represent the “gold standard” of the moment, the WHO numbers cannot be taken at face value.  As WHO itself has stated, its numbers are “vast underestimates,” and the organization believes the true number of cases is two to four times greater than the official reported numbers because many cases go undetected or uncounted for a variety of reasons.  What Share of the Population Has Already Been Affected? Recognizing these limitations, we used these data to calculate the cumulative prevalence of Ebola (the percent of the population that has been infected to date) in Liberia and Sierra Leone as of September 22.  Based on officially reported numbers from WHO, cumulative prevalence across both countries stands at 0.049%.  Liberia has been hardest hit with an estimated cumulative prevalence of 0.07%, more than twice the rate for Sierra Leone.  For illustrative purposes, if we take into account the underreporting factor as estimated by WHO by tripling the officially reported case numbers, the cumulative prevalence across both countries would be 0.147%; in Liberia alone, the adjusted prevalence would be 0.22%, or approximately one in every 500 people having become infected already (see Table).  Moreover, the estimated number of new cases is rising exponentially.”

New GAO Reports – Disabled Dual Eligible Beneficiaries, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

DISABLED DUAL-ELIGIBLE BENEFICIARIES: Integration of Medicare and Medicaid Benefits May Not Lead to Expected Medicare Savings, GAO-14-523: Published: Aug 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2014. PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Largest Issuers of Health Coverage Participated in Most Exchanges, and Number of Plans Available Varied, GAO-14-657: Published: Aug 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2014.

Safeguarding State Interests in Health Insurance Exchange Establishment

Monahan, Christine H, Safeguarding State Interests in Health Insurance Exchange Establishment (July 31, 2014). Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN: “This Article documents that, contrary to popular narratives, states were given and took advantage of numerous opportunities to weigh in on health insurance exchange implementation under the Affordable Care Act. ThisContinue Reading

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

“The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.” Locate a Collection Site Near You For use by the general public to locate a collection site by Zip Code or County/City/State. LawContinue Reading

The Middle-Class Squeeze – Report

Jennifer Erickson | September 24, 2014, Center for American Progress “The American middle class is in trouble. The middle-class share of national income has fallen, middle-class wages are stagnant, and the middle class in the United States is no longer the world’s wealthiest. But income is only one side of the story. The cost of being in the middleContinue Reading

The Effect of Firm Bankruptcy on Retiree Benefits, with Applications to the Automotive and Coal Industries

CRS – The Effect of Firm Bankruptcy on Retiree Benefits, with Applications to the Automotive and Coal Industries. Carol Rapaport, Analyst in Health Care Financing, September 22, 2014. “Benefits for retired employees are of particular interest to policy makers because of the growing number of retirees and forecasts indicating that some future retirees may not have the necessary financialContinue Reading

Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa -The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections

Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa — The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections - WHO Ebola Response Team - September 23, 2014. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1411100 “As of September 14, 2014, a total of 4507 confirmed and probable cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD), as well as 2296 deaths from the virus, had been reported fromContinue Reading

Socio-Emotional Impact Of Violent Crime

Lynn Langton, Ph.D., Jennifer Truman, Ph.D. September 23, 2014   “Examines victims’ socio-emotional problems resulting from violent crime, including moderate to severe distress, problems with family or friend relationships, or problems at work or school. The report explores the relationship between the socio-emotional response to crime and the characteristics of the victim and the incident, suchContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Drinking Water, Federal Software Licenses, F-35 Sustainment, Health Resources and Services Admin., Surface Transportation

DRINKING WATER: Characterization of Injected Fluids Associated with Oil and Gas Production, GAO-14-857R: Published: Sep 23, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2014. FEDERAL SOFTWARE LICENSES: Most Agencies Have Reported Planned Actions to Address Our Prior Recommendations on Software License Management, GAO-14-835R: Published: Sep 23, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2014. F-35 SUSTAINMENT: Need for Affordable Strategy, Greater Attention to Risks, andContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Prisons, CFPB, ID Theft, Oil and Gas Transportation, Affordable Care Act

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: The Corps Needs to Take Steps to Identify All Projects and Studies Eligible for Deauthorization, GAO-14-699: Published: Aug 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2014. BUREAU OF PRISONS: Management of New Prison Activations Can Be Improved, GAO-14-709: Published: Aug 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 22, 2014. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU:Some Privacy and Security Procedures for Data CollectionsContinue Reading

Interactive Map Shows Recent Evolution of State Policies Shaping Access to Abortion Coverage in Medicaid and Private Insuranc

“A new interactive map from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides a broad look at states’ laws shaping access to coverage for abortion in Medicaid and private insurance. The map includes the ability to view snapshots showing the extent of such limitations in states across the nation for the years 2000, 2010 and 2014. Taken together, the mapsContinue Reading

2014 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey – EBRI

“Asked to rate the U.S. health care system, many workers describe it as poor (29 percent) or fair (32 percent). One-quarter consider it good, while only a small minority rate it as very good (10 percent) or excellent (1 per-cent). Dissatisfaction with the health care system appears to be focused primarily on cost. The 2013–2014Continue Reading