Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sometimes, the best medicine is the simplest

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 6:00 AM
Since I have been writing for this blog, my friends and neighbors have been peppering me with stories about how they were misdiagnosed, how badly they were treated by a physician or health care system, or how modern medicine should be changed. The trail of mishaps in our health system is endless. Here... Read more

Is Obama’s FDA nominee too close to industry?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 9:00 AM
Big Pharma has not been winning any popularity contests lately. According to this year's Harris reputation poll, the pharmaceutical industry ranks somewhere near the airline and energy industries in terms of positive public perception. It is therefore no surprise that having financial relationships... Read more

Are you missing out on free health care?

Monday, November 16, 2015, 6:00 AM
Do you have health insurance through your job,, or Medicare? Some important health care services come at no cost to you with your health plan. That’s right—you get them for free, with no co-pays or deductible. You walk in. You get a checkup, lab test, or screening. You walk... Read more

Welcome to Health Cents!

Sunday, November 15, 2015, 3:00 AM
Open enrollment is going smoothly as the Obamacare exchanges enter their third year. More than half the states have now expanded Medicaid, extending coverage to millions. Cost growth is moderating. And the rate of being uninsured has dipped to historic lows. Is American health care finally about to... Read more

Study on dietary supplements provides perspective on costly ER visits

Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 6:00 AM
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month estimated that over 23,000 emergency department visits occur each year because of adverse events associated with dietary supplements. The study estimated that around ten percent of these visits result in hospitalization. About 72%... Read more

Why drug prices spike and what patients can do about it

Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 4:33 PM
The public outcry and political scrutiny over the pricing policies of drug companies Valeant and Turing has amplified the national debate over high specialty drug costs. To address the problem in a way that might actually improve things, it is important to recognize that not all high-priced drugs... Read more

Want to become an empowered patient? A new study on surgical errors will help

Monday, November 2, 2015, 9:00 AM
A new study published in the medical journal Anesthesiology found that almost half of surgeries at Massachusetts General Hospital, a leader in patient safety, had a medication error or adverse drug event. The study was the product of an in-house look at these types of errors and events. It is unique... Read more

Reality-checking health care comments in the Republican debate

Friday, October 30, 2015, 6:00 AM
The Republican candidates for president finally focused on health care at the end of their third debate this week. There was little discussion of Obamacare, perhaps because their uniform opposition to the law is widely known. Instead, they addressed most of their comments to Medicare. (For a transcript... Read more

Beware of high-deductible plans on Obamacare exchanges – they could make you sick

Thursday, October 29, 2015, 3:42 PM
Open enrollment begins November 1 for insurance shopping on the ACA exchanges ( in Pennsylvania). You can switch plans or enroll in one for the first time. Many plans offer lower premiums in return for higher co-pays and deductibles. However, new research suggests this may be a bad... Read more

Of Cadillacs, Coinsurance, and the ACA’s tax on expensive insurance policies

Friday, October 23, 2015, 1:40 PM
There has recently been considerable criticism of the ACA’s “Cadillac tax,” which imposes a 40% levy on the excess premiums of high-cost group health plans. These are expensive plans with low cost sharing, access to the most expensive providers, and few limits on access to costly... Read more
About this blog

Do you have a large bill from a provider you didn’t expect? A claim that was denied without explanation? A change in your insurance plan you don’t understand? Do you need help sorting through data on the quality of your doctor or hospital or figuring out what your care will cost?

“Health Cents” will point you toward answers, while also offering insights on government health policy and political debates. Read more about our panel of bloggers here.

This blog is produced in partnership with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health-policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Portions of this blog may also be found on and in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. Professor, Drexel University Kline School of Law & Dornsife School of Public Health
Jeffrey Brenner, MD Founder of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Medical Director of the Urban Health Institute at Cooper University Healthcare
Andy Carter President & CEO, The Hospital & Healthsystem Assoc. of Pa.
Robert B. Doherty Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs & Public Policy American College of Physicians
David Grande, MD, MPA Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Tine Hansen-Turton Chief Strategy Officer of Public Health Management Corporation
Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH Director of Health Policy Program at the Jefferson College of Population Health
Antoinette Kraus Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network
Laval Miller-Wilson Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Law Project
David B. Nash, MD, MBA Founding Dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health
Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D. Professor of Health Care Management, Business Economics and Public Policy at The Wharton School
Howard J. Peterson, MHA Managing Partner of TRG Healthcare, a national healthcare consulting firm
Paula L. Stillman, MD, MBA Healthcare consultant with special expertise in population health and disease management
Elizabeth A. W. Williams Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer for Independence Blue Cross
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