Category Archives: Blogs

Health Wonk Review is up at Colorado Health Insurance Insider

The Aye or Nay on AHCA edition of the Health Wonk Review has just been posted at Colorado Health Insurance Insider. You’ll find a number of fascinating policy posts related to the American Health Care Act that’s due for a House vote today.

Thank you to our host, Louise Norris for prominently featuring my 12th birthday edition.

Happy 12th birthday to the Health Business Blog


The Health Business Blog has turned 12 years old! Continuing a tradition I established with birthdays onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten and eleven I have picked out a favorite post from each month. Thanks for continuing to read the blog!

March 2016: Health Wonk Review -Tales of the Trump

My roundup of policy posts from the blogosphere took Trump seriously and literally.

April 2016: Listen app – ResApp diagnoses respiratory ailments

An Australian company developed a smartphone app to diagnose respiratory diseases by analyzing the sound signatures of coughs. I interviewed the CEO, Dr. Tony Keating via email.

May 2016: Biosimilars are “me-too” drugs, not generics

Returning to a favorite theme, I explain why the biosimilar market will not develop the way the generic drug market did. If we instead think about biosimilars as me-too drugs it will help in devising policy solutions.

June 2016: Amazon Echo for healthcare

I bought an Amazon Echo and could immediately see the potential in healthcare for a hands-free, voice activated device that could be used at home and in the hospital. I wasn’t surprised to see that my friends at Boston Children’s were already working with the Echo.

July 2016: Sutter’s Dr. David K. Butler on EMR-enabled transformation

Dr. Butler came to healthcare as a digital native, unwilling to accept the paper-based status quo. In about a decade he went from using Microsoft Word to make medical notes legible to being named Epic Systems Physician of the Year for his contributions to the field of EMR implementation and optimization. I recorded this podcast interview with him.

August 2016: EpiPen may still be too cheap

I’m not usually a glutton for punishment, but I thought it was worth taking a beating to make some points that went against the conventional wisdom. An EpiPen isn’t just a few dollars of generic drug and a syringe. It’s a whole system that enables children and adults with life-threatening allergies to live normal lives.

September 2016: Are men comfortable with female physicians? Other factors to consider

An athenahealth analysis demonstrated that men are less likely to return to female physicians than to males, but for female patients the sex of their doctor doesn’t make a difference. I shared my own anecdotal experience in primary care to help answer the riddle.

October 2016: Why I’m voting against marijuana legalization in Massachusetts

After recovering from the EpiPen smackdown, I shared another unpopular view: let’s not rush into the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.  Legalization passed pretty easily despite my post, but implementation may proceed slowly especially if the federal government decides to step in.

November 2016: Goodbye Obamacare? More like hello single payer!

President-elect Trump told 60 Minutes, “I am going to take care of everybody. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” He also promised to provide “quality, reliable, affordable health care.”

I said I’d support him if managed to do so, but it was much more likely that the GOP would implement a number of lame ideas they have been kicking around. Looks like I’m right so far.

December 2016: Would an FDA radical make any real difference?

The Trump Administration started nominating proponents of radical change. I argued that even if the FDA loosened up requirements considerably, it still wouldn’t make much of a difference. Payers won’t pay for drugs unless they are persuaded that they work. And patients want safe medicines. Pharma companies would still need to satisfy these groups even if the FDA got out of the way.

January 2017: Medicaid block grants would be ok for Massachusetts

I don’t think it’s a good idea to shift to block grants, because it will likely result in people losing coverage and an increase in healthcare disparities. Nevertheless, block grants would have a more modest impact on Massachusetts than on other states.

February 2017: Due diligence in middle market healthcare M&A. The boutique consulting firm advantage

In case you couldn’t guess, I don’t make a living from writing this blog! In this post I explain why boutique consulting firms such as my own Health Business Group are so good at commercial due diligence for private equity investors and strategic acquirers.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Health Wonk Review: Presidents’ Day edition


With Presidents’ Day on Monday, school vacations in Massachusetts and New York, not to mention the throngs soaking it up at HIMSS, it’s relatively quiet in the healthcare wonkosphere this week. Nonetheless, I have managed to collect a few solid entries for your reading pleasure.

Workers’ Comp Insider has a “bone to pick” with former President Obama for not doing enough to fight for ObamaCare and educate the public about its merits. But the last few lines are telling as the post focuses on the cluelessness of the ‘dogs that caught the bus’ (i.e., Republicans). And the PS says it all.

Managed Care Matters notes that mayors lose their jobs when they do a poor job cleaning up after a snowstorm. That’s what may happen to the GOP at a national level with healthcare, except that healthcare is a lot more complex than snow removal. We shouldn’t expect much real progress on healthcare legislation anytime soon.

InsureBlog has been cheering for ObamaCare’s demise since before there was an ObamaCare, and its Running out the clock post continues on that theme. The new news: Repeal may not be needed if current trends continue, including Trump’s executive order that removes enforcement mechanisms for the individual mandate.

Health Affairs blog explains the Trump Administration’s Market Stabilization Proposed Rule, which is designed to keep the individual insurance markets viable for health plans while the GOP ponders what to do longer term. Colorado Health Insurance Insider explains the implications of the rule overall and for Colorado specifically. warns that ObamaCare supporters won’t go quietly into the night. The Families USA conference reminds us that ACA repeal isn’t inevitable and that grassroots communications strategies to preserve gains in coverage and access can be effective.

In my Health Business Blog post on the Cadillac Tax, I speculate that Congress may leave the unpopular levy in place rather than expending energy on the politically difficult initiative to replace it with a GOP version that does essentially the same thing with a different name.

As I understand it, it’s really easy to extract oil in Saudi Arabia because rich deposits are right near the surface. When it comes to locating conflicts of interest, Health Care Renewal now finds itself living in the equivalent of Saudi, where Trump Administration officials from the President on down are barely trying to conceal their conflicts. Today’s tale is: Making health care conflicts of interest great again. A consultant to Medicaid and simultaneously to Medicaid vendors for CMS?

The ever insightful Drug Channels analyzes data from Express Scripts to conclude that having the government (or maybe Mr. Trump himself?) take over drug price negotiations for Medicare wouldn’t actually reduce overall costs. There’s utilization management to take account of, not to mention the impact of drugs on overall healthcare costs.

Image courtesy of nirots at

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.