September 17th, 2009

September 17: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

High-Quality, Low-Cost Care: An Interview With Gundersen-Lutheran CEO Jeff Thompson

This year, Gundersen-Lutheran played a leading role in persuading House Democrats to propose that Medicare compensate  physicians for advising patients on end-of-life care. Republicans have charged that such a provision would lead to the rationing of care for elderly patients.

 

Jeff Thompson, a neonatalogist who is chief executive officer of the Gundersen-Lutheran Health System, vigorously defends the value of advance directives.

 

I can tell you that Mayo has a huge considerable reputation, and they have done some wonderful things… People keep talking about the Mayo model, and immediately the model is dismissed because the other 90 percent of the country says, “Let me see, do I have a billion-plus dollars in an endowment?  Do people fly over here from Saudi Arabia to get care?  Do I have a national brand?”

 

Health Affairs by John Iglehart and Chris Fleming, 09/16/09

 

 

Health Reform’s Missing Ingredient

MY guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition,” President Obama said last week in an address to Congress on health care reform. It’s a good principle, one that may determine the ultimate success or failure of reform, but unfortunately it’s not really guiding the Senate bill unveiled on Wednesday or any of the other health reform legislation now under consideration in Congress.

 

Under the nation’s current employer-based system, most people have little if any choice about where they get their insurance. They just have to accept the plan that comes with their job. That insurance company, in turn, is provided a captive group of customers, so it has no incentive to earn their loyalty.

 

Under the nation’s current employer-based system, most people have little if any choice about where they get their insurance. They just have to accept the plan that comes with their job. That insurance company, in turn, is provided a captive group of customers, so it has no incentive to earn their loyalty.

 

Empowering Americans to choose from a broad selection of health plans would turn the tables. Those insurers that charged affordable rates and provided good coverage would attract more customers, while those that treated customers badly would be forced to change their ways or go out of business. To stay competitive, insurers would need to follow the example of places like the Mayo Clinic and offer good, low-cost coverage.

 

NY Times (Op-Ed) by Ron Wyden, 09/17/09

 

 

Baucus unveils health-reform bill

Sen. Max Baucus Wednesday unveiled his long-awaited health-reform bill, which would require all Americans to buy or maintain health insurance starting in 2013 - and which immediately drew political fire from all sides…

 

While much of the bill deals with insurance coverage and markets, one of the most significant elements is its attempts to change how medical providers are paid for their services, to move toward paying for quality of care as opposed to quantity of procedures. Baucus said the measure includes numerous incentives to help providers move toward "integrated systems" of care, such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., or the Billings Clinic, which is the largest hospital in Montana and also a clinic employing scores of physicians, nurses and other professionals.

 

Billings Gazette by Mike Dennison, 09/16/09

 

Top stories

 

From Finance Chief, a Bill That May Weather the Blows

The Washington Post

Sept. 17, 2009

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has released his healthcare reform bill, and there was a sense that the coalition of major industry leaders and interest groups central to healthcare reform remains intact. Many of the most influential players found elements to dislike, but not necessarily reasons to kill the effort.

 

Additional coverage:
Magic Number for Democrats in Senate on Health Bill Is 60, The New York Times
Baucus Offers Health Plan but Lacks G.O.P. Support , The New York Times
Guarded Optimism Among Insurers, but Some Health Sectors Remain Skeptical , The New York Times
Senate Bill Sets Lines for Health Showdown, The Wall Street Journal
Nonprofit Hospitals Dodge Excise-Tax Bullet in Baucus Bill, The Wall Street Journal
Breaking Down the Baucus Bill, Politico

 

Health Insurance Reform Rally
HealthReform.gov

Today at 11:00 AM EDT, President Barack Obama will hold a rally on health insurance reform in College Park, MD. Streaming live online.

 

Medicare to Fund 'Medical Home' Model

The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 17, 2009

 

The Obama administration said Medicare will help fund state pilot projects that use primary-care doctors and teams of coordinators to manage patient care and reduce costs. Under this "medical home" model, physicians are paid more for coordinating care for their patients.

 

Health Reform’s Missing Ingredient

The New York Times

Sept. 17, 2009

 

An op-ed by Ron Wyden.

 

Insurance

 

Data Note: Americans' Satisfaction with Insurance Coverage

Kaiser Family Foundation
Sept. 17, 2009

 

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s August 2009 tracking poll found that most Americans with insurance give their plan a favorable rating, and most are satisfied with various aspects of their coverage and care.  However, on closer examination, the data finds that younger Americans, those with lower incomes and those who report being in poor personal health are significantly less likely to say they are satisfied with their insurance than their counterparts.

 

Reform efforts

 

Five Health Leaders Respond to Baucus Bill

HealthLeaders Media
Sept. 17, 2009

 

With comments from Chris Van Gorder, President/CEO, Scripps Health; Bob Coli, MD, Founder, chairman, and CEO, Diagnostic Information System Company; J. James Rohack, MD, President, American Medical Association; Mark Fendrick, MD, Co-director, University of Michigan's Center for Value-Based Insurance Design; Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans.

 

Reform Bill Would Reveal Fees Firms Pay to Doctors

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Sept. 17, 2009

 

A proposal requiring drug and medical-device companies to disclose their often-controversial consulting agreements with doctors is now part of healthcare legislation unveiled before the Senate Finance Committee.

 

Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages Debated

The New York Times

Sept. 17, 2009

 

The debate over a tax on sugary soft drinks — billed as a way to fight obesity and provide billions for health care reform — is starting to fizz over.

 

An Open Letter to the US Congress

Health Reform USA
Sept. 17, 2009

 

More than 400 of the nation's most respected health care leaders today issued a joint Open Letter to Congress declaring that the health care system is in crisis and is unsustainable and calling on Congress to act now on meaningful reforms.

 

The New England Journal of Medicine on Health Care

Recent NEJM articles on health care reform:

Physicians' Beliefs and U.S. Health Care Reform — A National Survey
R.M. Antiel and Others

Doctors on Coverage — Physicians' Views on a New Public Insurance Option and Medicare Expansion
S. Keyhani and A. Federman

Obama's Vision and the Prospects for Health Care Reform
J.K. Iglehart

Systemwide Cost Control — The Missing Link in Health Care Reform
J. Oberlander and J. White

Health Insurers at the Table — Industry Proposals for Regulation and Reform
K. Ignagni

Health Care 2009: Health Insurance Exchanges — Making the Markets Work
R.G. Frank and R.J. Zeckhauser

Employers

 

Employers Put Costs at the Top of Health Care Reform Priority List, According to Towers Perrin Survey

Reuters
Sept. 17, 2009

 

With health care reform efforts ramping up after the summer break, many of the nation`s employers are focusing on the action in Congress and plan to adjust their benefit strategies based on how final legislation affects their costs, according to a survey of 433 HR and benefit executives from midsize and large organizations.

 

Small Businesses Want, Fear Health Care Reform

MSNBC
Sept. 17, 2009

 

Entrepreneurs are concerned about skyrocketing costs and mandates.

 

 

 

 

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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