September 1: Health Care Reform News

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by Kelley Luckstein

Mayo president makes name for himself in health care debate

One man has become the face of Mayo Clinic's efforts to influence health care reform. That man is Dr. Denis Cortese.

 

Cortese, who serves as the clinic's president and CEO, has become a familiar face on Capitol Hill, meeting with top policymakers. He also has been busy making media rounds, sitting down in July with Charlie Rose. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote that Cortese should be the "Gen. David Petraeus" of health care reform as "a professional who can break through the political chaff and describe a strategy for reform that can unite the country."

 

With Cortese's scheduled retirement in November, some are speculating on where he might land next. There's little question now just how effective Cortese has been at projecting Mayo Clinic's message that health care reform must including paying for value -- not quantity -- of care.

 

"(Cortese) brings a deep passion for getting this right and basing it on the right set of values, and I think the combination of Dr. Cortese's reputation, the record of Mayo for pioneering life-saving treatments and a set of really good ideas about how to do this has really gotten people's attention," said Josh Syramaki, chief of staff for 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz.

 

Read more: Post-Bulletin by Heather Carlson, 9/1/09

 

 

Top stories

 

White House Drug Deal Won't Save Money

CNN

Sept. 1, 2009

 

The plan that shrinks Medicare's 'donut hole' for drugs will wind up expanding your tax load.

 

Sen. Grassley: No Public Option in Health Reform

AP
Aug. 31, 2009

 

Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said Monday he remains hopeful a limited health care reform measure can be negotiated, but that a small bipartisan group of senators working on the issue agrees a government-run public option won't be part of the package.

 

Sen. Baucus Predicts Health-Care Overhaul This Year

The Washington Post

Aug. 31, 2009

 

Sen. Max Baucus of Montana says a health care overhaul will happen this year even if Republicans back out of bipartisan talks under growing public pressure and that the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy could help hold together a compromise deal.

 

 

Insurance

 

House Investigators Target Six Health Insurance Companies for Additional Data

The Hill

Aug. 31, 2009

 

Two House committees asked six large health insurance companies for information about the “purging” of small businesses from their plans.

 

Transparency/Safety

 

Patients Get Power of Fast Response

The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 31, 2009

 

In hospitals, staffers can call on rapid-response teams if a patient takes a turn for the worse. But increasingly, families have the right to summon the rapid-response teams directly or at least to demand immediate medical attention from a senior physician if they feel a patient is in trouble and their concerns are not being met.

 

Wellness/Chronic Care

 

Study Raises Questions About Cost Savings From Preventive Care

The Washington Post
Sept. 1, 2009

Preventive services for the chronically ill may reduce health-care costs, but they are unlikely to generate the kind of fantastic savings that President Obama and other Democrats have said could help pay for an overhaul of the nation's health system, according to a study being published Tuesday. Click here to link to the study results in Health Affairs.

State news

 

Mass: Switch Saves Immigrants’ Health Care

The Boston Globe
Sept. 1, 2009

 

Thousands of legal immigrants facing steep cuts in state-subsidized health care will keep core medical services such as routine doctor visits and hospital treatment under a plan unveiled yesterday by Governor Deval Patrick.

 

1 in 7 Californians Have Medical Debt, Study Finds

The New York Times
Aug.

 

A report from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, "The State of Health Insurance in California," finds that more than 2.2 million California adults—almost one in seven working-age Californians—say they have medical debt. And two-thirds of those said they incurred the debt despite having health insurance.

 

Arizona Faces 'Financial Tsunami' Over Medicaid
NPR
Sept. 1, 2009

 

Arizona's Medicaid program could face a "financial tsunami," the program's director said, as new enrollments increase from an average of 60,000 a year to an expected 300,000 this year. Arizona's program to provide health coverage to low-income people is one of the nation's broadest, covering about 1 in 5 residents.

 

Study of Florida Medicaid Program Shows Savings

The Florida Times-Union
Sept. 1, 2009

 

A new study for the first time suggests that the Medicaid payment experiment that is being tested in Northeast Florida is accomplishing one of its primary goals: saving taxpayers money.

 

Reform efforts

 

House Democrats Plot Health Care Comeback

Politico

Sept. 1, 2009

 

The comeback for Democrats — if there is one — will begin in an all-important closed-door caucus meeting next week in the basement of the Capitol, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants will try to undo the damage of the August recess and convince their wobbly members that a vote for health care reform will not cost them their jobs in 2010.

Life After Ted Kennedy: All Eyes On Chris Dodd

Politico
Sept. 1, 2009

 

Stakeholders in the health care debate are waiting to see whether Sen. Chris Dodd decides to take over the late Ted Kennedy’s chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — and, if so, which Chris Dodd shows up for the job.

 

Trumka Warns Lawmakers on Health Care Overhaul

AP
Aug. 31, 2009

 

The man expected to become the AFL-CIO's next president said Monday that lawmakers would pay a political price if they abandon a government-run option in any health care overhaul.

 

Poll: Two-Thirds Confused by Health Reform

CBS News

Sept. 1, 2009

 

Most Americans find the health care reforms being discussed in Congress confusing and say President Obama has not clearly explained his plans to overhaul the system, according to a CBS News poll released Tuesday.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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