Capsules: Under Tight Budgets, Public Health Spending Falls For First Time; Conn., Insurance Capital, Moves Ahead With Exchange Plans; Study: Doctors Give In To Patient Demands For Brand-Name Drugs

Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jay Hancock reports on the diminishing level of public health spending: "But one aspect of moderating health expenditures — and the only category showing outright decline — could cost more than it saves. Hit by recession and tight budgets, spending on public health by federal, state and local governments fell in 2011 for the first time since analysts started tracking the numbers in 1960" (Hancock, 1/7).

Also on the blog, Phil Galewitz reports on Connecticut's plans to proceed with health exchange plans: "Five health plans — including all the major insurers in the state's individual and small group markets — have told Connecticut's health insurance exchange that they plan to offer policies in the state's new online marketplace this fall. Exchange officials said Monday that Aetna, United Healthcare, Anthem, ConnectiCare and a new nonprofit co-op owned by the Connecticut State Medical Society have filed letters of intent to sell coverage, exchange officials said Monday" (Galewitz, 1/8).

In addition, Alvin Tran writes about a new study about how physicians handle patients’ requests for brand-name drugs: "Doctors are more likely to prescribe brand-name drugs over lower-cost generics when patients request them and when physicians have contacts with drugmakers, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine Monday shows" (Tran, 1/7). Check out what else is on the blog.

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