The Commonwealth Fund and Kaiser bring you the top health policy stories of 2005:
The leading vote-getters were:I've written on all of them except Katrina, click on the categories links to the right to read more.
• The number of uninsured continues to grow, hitting nearly 46 million, with another 16 million reported to be "underinsured."
• Hurricane Katrina draws dramatic attention to holes in the nation's health care safety net.
• Registration begins for new Medicare prescription drug benefit, despite widely reported confusion among seniors over the myriad choices for coverage.
• New cross-national studies add to evidence that U.S. health care system, the most expensive in the world, doesn't perform as well as that of several other industrialized nations on various clinical indicators and in reported patient experiences.
• Health care costs continue to increase, putting increased pressure on consumers, particularly the growing number citing trouble paying off medical debt.