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Category Archives: Health Care

Updated Death and Injury Rates of U.S. Military Personnel During the Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan

Matthew Goldberg (CBO):  “In Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended on August 31, 2010, some 3,482 hostile deaths occurred among U.S. military personnel and 31,947 people were wounded in action (WIA). More than 1,800 hostile deaths occurred during Operation Enduring Freedom (in Afghanistan and surrounding countries) through November 2014; about 20,000 more people were wounded in action. In the Iraq conflict, a larger proportion of wounded personnel survived their wounds than was the case during the Vietnam War, but the increased survival rates are not as high as some studies have asserted. Prior to the surge in troop levels that began in early 2007, the survival rate was 90.4 percent in Iraq—compared with 86.5 percent in Vietnam. Amputation rates are difficult to measure consistently, but I estimate that 2.6 percent of all WIA and 9.0 percent of medically-evacuated WIA from the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters combined resulted in the major loss of a limb. An elevated non-hostile death rate (including deaths from accidents, illnesses, or suicides) in Iraq before the surge resulted in about 220 more deaths during the first four years of that conflict (March 2003−March 2007) than would have been expected in peacetime among a population the size of the one that deployed to Iraq. Relative to such a peacetime benchmark, I find essentially no additional non-hostile deaths in Iraq after March 2007. For the conflict in Afghanistan, I estimate about 200 additional non-hostile deaths relative to a comparable benchmark through December 2013.”

Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Physician and Other Supplier

“As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to make our healthcare system more transparent, affordable, and accountable, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has prepared a public data set, the Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File (Physician and Other Supplier PUF), with information on services andContinue Reading

New GAO Report – College and Career Readiness, Health Care, Hurricane Sandy, Aviation Securrity

College-and-Career Readiness: States Have Made Progress in Implementing New Standards and Assessments, but Challenges Remain, GAO-15-104R: Published: Dec 12, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2014. Grant Program Consolidations: Lessons Learned and Implications for Congressional Oversight, GAO-15-125: Published: Dec 12, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2014. Grants Management: Programs at HHS and HUD Collect Administrative Cost Information butContinue Reading

CFPB Spotlights Concerns with Medical Debt Collection and Reporting

“…the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report that found medical debt has a significant impact on consumer credit, as 43 million Americans have overdue medical debt on their credit reports. The CFPB is concerned that the systems for incurring, collecting, and reporting medical debt can create difficult challenges for consumers. To better addressContinue Reading

Predicting the Fallout from King v. Burwell – Exchanges and the ACA

Predicting the Fallout from King v. Burwell — Exchanges and the ACA – Nicholas Bagley, J.D., David K. Jones, Ph.D., and Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, J.D., December 10, 2014. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1414191. “The U.S. Supreme Court’s surprise announcement on November 7 that it would hear King v. Burwell  [759 F.3d 358] struck fear in the hearts of supporters of theContinue Reading

Patients Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers Use More of Them for Longer, Study Finds

New York Times: “While a major public health campaign has had some success in reducing the number of people who take potentially addictive narcotic painkillers, those patients who are prescribed the drugs are getting more of them for a longer time, according to a new study. Nearly half the people who took the painkillers for overContinue Reading

Older Americans With a Disability: 2008−2012

Older Americans With a Disability: 2008−2012 – American Community Survey Reports “Disability, as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act, is an individual’s physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of that individual.1Studies consistently find that disability rates rise with age (Altman and Bernstein, 2008; Brault, 2012). Beyond age 65, the oldest old (aged 85 and over) are at highestContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Children’s Health Insurance, Federal Data Transparency, VA Health Care, Broadband Internet

Children’s Health Insurance: Cost, Coverage, and Access Considerations for Extending Federal Funding, GAO-15-268T: Published: Dec 3, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 2014. Federal Data Transparency: Effective Implementation of the DATA Act Would Help Address Government-wide Management Challenges and Improve Oversight, GAO-15-241T: Published: Dec 3, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 2014. VA Health Care: Improvements Needed to ManageContinue Reading

Diabetes State Atlas Now Available Online

“CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation announces the launch of the Diabetes State Atlas (available at, an interactive Internet tool for the public to view maps and charts of diabetes data and trends at the U.S. state level. Some of the features of the atlas include 1) customizable maps and graphics of diabetes surveillance data, 2)Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Private Health Insurance, Regional Missile Defense

Private Health Insurance: Concentration of Enrollees among Individual, Small Group, and Large Group Insurers from 2010 through 2013, GAO-15-101R: Published: Dec 1, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 2014. Regional Missile Defense: DOD’s 2014 Report Generally Addressed Required Reporting Elements, but Excluded Additional Key Details, GAO-15-32: Published: Dec 1, 2014. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 2014.

Global AgeWatch Index ranks countries by how well their older populations are faring

“HelpAge International’s Global AgeWatch Index ranks countries by how well their ageing populations are faring. It is based on four domains that are key enablers of older people’s wellbeing: income, health, capability and enabling environment…The world is ageing fast. By 2030, there will be more people over 60 than under 10. Already there are moreContinue Reading

NIH scientists determine how environment contributes to several human diseases

“Using a new imaging technique, National Institutes of Health researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. The work, appearing online Nov. 17Continue Reading