Len Nichols Quoted in New Republic


How Much Is Obamacare Raising Your Insurance

Rate? Depends on Which State You Live In.

“I put the most credence in what insurers do, not what they say,” said Nichols.  “I see United [Healthcare] and others entering exchanges they avoided in 2014.  This is a collective judgment that these markets are working, contradicting the cassandras once again. Rather loudly, actually. Actions don’t lie, or spin.”

Read the article here.


Len Nichols on Panel at AcademyHealth Research Meeting (ARM) in San Diego

Is it Time for Comprehensive Competitive Pricing in Medicare?

One of the most promising options to address the serious financial problems Medicare faces is comprehensive competitive pricing (CCP). Under CCP, the Medicare program accepts bids for the entitlement benefit package, and then uses those risk-adjusted bids to determine the government’s contribution to a basic set of benefits. On Monday, June 9th, at the ARM in San Diego, the panelists will describe CCP and its effects on the fairness and efficiency of the Medicare program, discussing the economic and political implications of this major reform.

• Michael Chernew, Harvard Medical School
• Robert Coulam, Simmons College School of Management
• Len Nichols, George Mason University

Chair: Bryan Dowd, University of Minnesota

Additional info click here


The Affordable Care Act as Translational Research

Editorial  by Harry P. Selker, William H. Frist, and Stuart H. Altman

Primarily created to expand healthcare access, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has secondary features that all researchers should be excited for. The authors note that the ACA creates flexible provisions to innovate in many dimensions of healthcare delivery: payment, care coordination, information technology, and organizational structure. After an easy-to-digest overview of the main functions of the ACA, this article encourages informing the American public of the value of policy experimentation (much like biomedical experimentation) to improve healthcare for everyone.  Read article here.

In Iowa, Accountable Care Begins To Make A Difference

By Jenny Gold

Kaiser Health News Staff Writer

NOV 21, 2013


This Kaiser Health News story was produced in collaboration with NPR

For years, Phil Bretthauer was one of the most expensive patients at Unity Point Health in Fort Dodge, a small town in western Iowa. The 70-year-old was frequently in and out of the hospital with heart attacks, COPD and prostate cancer.

“I always keep thinking, there’s something else coming,” says Bretthauer. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to me.”

Home health nurse Tammy Bennett visits Phil Bretthauer’s apartment and goes over all 17 of his medications (Photo by Jenny Gold/KHN).

His primary care physician, Dr. Lincoln Wallace, was worried about the same thing. “It’s a demoralizing position to be in to watch a guy like Phil go out the door and to anticipate that he’ll have some event that will likely either threaten his life or end up in the end of his life, and you have little or no way to stop it from coming,” says Wallace.

But this year, Unity Point – which includes multiple hospitals and doctor practices in Iowa — decided to do something to stop the expensive cycle of illness and readmission for patients like Bretthauer. The hospital signed on to become an accountable care organization, a Medicare program created by the Affordable Care Act that economists say could be a pathway to the holy grail of health care—providing better care at a lower cost.

Here’s how it works: a group of doctors and hospitals get together to form a network responsible for taking care of a group of Medicare patients—in this case, about 9,000 Iowans.  If the network can prove it’s keeping those patients healthier and spending less money to do so, it gets to keep some of the savings. The ACO can then use that money to do things Medicare doesn’t usually cover—like reaching out more to patients at home. But if the ACO does not succeed, it may face a financial penalty.

To continue reading visit

What Does October 1 Mean To Health Reform?

Health Affairs Blog post by Len Nichols regarding what to expect as the exchanges open for business. Read

Joshua’s Journey: A Salute to one of CHPRE’s extended family members

by Treniese Polk, CHPRE staff member

On August 17, 2012, Private First Class (PFC) Joshua Polk received orders that he and his unit were headed to Afghanistan; he knew that if he’d ever wanted to learn about leadership, discipline, focus, and teamwork now was his opportunity.

For six months prior, Joshua and his unit trained intensely. Little did they know that their unit would receive a highly sensitive Special Operations mission.  He would later learn that his unit would be the only Military Police (MP) unit to receive such a special assignment.  Joshua set off to Konduv, Afghanistan on Sept 11, 2012 with his entire camp, equipped and ready for whatever was in store.

Sister and CHPRE staff member, Treniese Polk held her breath for nine months, until the day that Joshua and his entire camp landed safely on American soil in late June 2013.  While Treniese felt a sense of relief, Joshua returned with a sense of accomplishment- the unit’s mission had not only been completed, but completed successfully.

When asked what exactly his missions entailed overseas Joshua remains tight-lipped, as he should.  He understands the importance of security and confidentiality.  There however, are many things that Joshua did share about his first overseas deployment.  He gives a brief account of one of the most life changing experiences of his life.

What did you learn overall?

JP:   The true value of camaraderie- working together and learning the value of team work.  We worked jointly to accomplish the mission; before the actual mission, we trained for six months completing mock runs, and the unit also received 100% completion rate for measures including accountability, training, and certifications.

 What did you learn from your overseas experience?

JP: I have learned to be more appreciative, and that breaks into 2 categories: things I valued stateside and things that I valued in Afghanistan.   For example, stateside I appreciate being close to family.  It was also nice to sleep in a normal bed after sleeping in beehuts and tents for 9 months.  Being able to see trees is something else that I appreciate.  In-country, I valued having encouraging people around me.  We kept each other motivated during hard times.

JP: This was also my first time in a developing country.  It was a complete culture shock to see kids not attending school, because many were shepherds. This made me grateful for the educational opportunities that we have in the States.  It was also common to see kids playing with scraps of airplanes leftover from previous battles over the years.

JP: Another lesson that I learned is to maintain focus at all times in a combat zone. There is a general sense of cohesion; everyone looks out for everyone else.  One wrong move could cost the team the entire mission and potentially someone’s life.

What was your scariest moment? What were your most enjoyable moments?  

JP (Scariest): One of our missions was a flight mission on a Blackhawk. During the entire mission the team was deadly silent. The thought that we could be shot down at any moment while flying in a hazardous airspace made everyone a little anxious.

JP (Most Enjoyable):  Some of the best times were spent hanging out with other battle buddies on top of one the buildings in the operating base looking at the Afghan city skyline with night vision goggles, telling battle stories, and having a good time.

What’s your next adventure?

(JP): (Sighs)…life after deployment- I will continue to transition to the civilian world and next make the transition from the civilian world to student life.  I will definitely take what I’ve learned from deployment and apply it to my daily life. Deployment touched every area of my life and completely changed my perspective on life -it’s one experience that I will never forget.

Medals and patches PFC Joshua received during his service: Special Operations and Command (SOCOM) patch, Afghan Campaign medal w/ Campaign Star, NATO medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, National Defense service medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/ Mdevice ; Joshua is also pending promotion to E4 (Specialist) in late October 2013.  

From Left to Right (Abdul (bazaar worker), SPC Hannibal, SPC Abbot, and PFC Polk

From Left to Right (Abdul (bazaar worker), SPC Hannibal, SPC Abbot, and PFC Polk

Barracks in Afghanistan

Barracks in Afghanistan


Joshua Polk

Joshua Polk

Together again! Joshua, Gabriel, and Treniese Polk

Together again! Joshua, Gabriel, and Treniese Polk


Len Nichols Testifies Before US Senate Budget Committee

Len M Nichols Testifying before Ways and Means Committee

Courtesy of Jim Arvantes AAFP News Now

Dr. Len Nichols, Director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, testified on July 30, 2013, before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget on “Containing Health Care Costs: Recent Progress and Remaining Challenges.”    View video of meeting (forward to the 40-minute mark)  Testimony

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