What actually causes the high cost of oncology care and other healthcare needs? Is it the changing, uncertain realm of federal regulation or other market forces? An article in this week’s BioBlog from Forbes examines economic forces that may be at work in the market changing the costs of healthcare. ASCO released its clinical pathways landscape study, and much more, all in this week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog.


ASCO Examines the Current Oncology Clinical Pathways Landscape

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today released “Oncology Clinical Pathways: Charting the Landscape of Pathway Providers.” This document is a review of the leading oncology pathway vendors in the United States. It examines the clinical pathways offered by six commercial vendors and uses the ASCO criteria for high-quality clinical pathways. The good news is that the report found that the majority of vendors are indeed aligned with ASCO standards.

Is Federal Policy Really To Blame For The High Cost Of Cancer Care?

It’s always easier to blame big government than to look at marketplace forces, but that’s exactly what Abbey Albert and her colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania did to better understand the rising costs of cancer care. The results bust many common myths about the high cost of healthcare, especially the cost of cancer care. Merger mania rather than government rules may be to blame for rising costs.

Oncology Clinical Pathways: Charting the Landscape of Pathway Providers

The evaluation process and results of the ASCO evaluation of national pathway vendors is provided here, in its entirety. This is another step in the multi-year process of evaluating and presenting data on many facets of oncology care, including clinical pathways.

Amazon, Partners May Disrupt Market, but Face Complexities

Amazon isn’t shy about rocking the proverbial boat, and its announcement that it was seeking to form a group with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase to provide health insurance did indeed rock the markets. The combined power of the three companies brings over 1 million people to the insurance table as a group, but Amazon may be in for a surprise when it encounters the complexities of the health insurance market. A look at the potential, risks, and barriers to their move into health insurance.

White House Releases Paper With Recommendations On How To Lower Drug Prices.

The White House’s Council of Economic Advisers released a 30-page paper promoting easing government regulations and encouraging innovation to lower drug prices. Additionally, the paper rejected price fixing and outlined several proposals concerning Medicare, Medicaid, and the Food and Drug Administration with the aim of lowering drug prices. The President’s budget proposal is expected to address high drug costs by proposing an expansion of drug coverage under Medicare.

Budget deal will dampen Medicare Advantage bonus payments

A new provision released by the Congressional Budget Office is projected to reduce spending by $520 million over 10 years. When a Medicare Advantage organization consolidates two separate plans, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will adjust the new plan’s star rating “to reflect an enrollment-weighted average of scores or ratings for the continuing and closed contracts.” Critics contend that this saves money at the expense of Medicare Advantage plans’ bonus payments.