October 30: Health Care Reform News

Posted on October 30th, 2009 by Kelley Luckstein

The Doctor Is In: Are seniors funding health care reform?

Senior citizens are worried. The insurance lobby recently began running ads claiming that seniors enrolled in private Medicare plans could lose some benefits. Last week brought news that basic Medicare premiums could rise 15 percent next year for some beneficiaries…

 

In a New Yorker article last spring, Dr. Atul Gawande compared Medicare spending in McAllen, Texas, where per capita spending is $15,000 per patient, with those near the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where $7,000 is spent per patient. Gawande found that medical care was "over-utilized" in McAllen.

 

Daily Finance By Russell Turk, M.D., 10/29/09

 

 

TOP STORIES

House Leaders Unveil Health Bill

The Wall Street Journal

October 30, 2009

 

House leaders unveiled their sweeping health bill Thursday, ending months of negotiations to bring together fractious Democrats and setting the stage for the full House to take up the bill next week.

 

Additional Coverage:

Buoyant Democrats Unveil Health Care Legislation - The New York Times

House Democrats Pull Together on Health Care - The Washington Post

House Health Bill Clocks In At 1,990 Pages - Politico

 

House Bill Documents

Politico

October 30, 2009

 

Section by section summary of House bill’s detailed summary, top line changes, implementation timeline, immediate investments.  Read the bill here.

Business and Drug Groups Blast Bill; Doctors are Uneasy

The Hill

October 29, 2009

Business groups blasted the House health care bill and a key trade association for doctors declined to endorse it.

INSURANCE

Game is Up for Health Insurers

Reuters

October 29, 2009

 

Health insurance companies are aggressively raising premiums at the same time they are fighting to stop the creation of public non-profit funds that would give them serious competition.  This foolish effort to pad profits before any health care overhaul gets passed ought to backfire.

CBO:  Public Option Premiums Higher Than Private Plans

Politico

October 30, 2009

 

The public insurance option would typically charge higher premiums than private plans available in the exchange - raising doubts about Democratic promises that a government-run insurance plan would provide a lower-cost alternative to consumers.

 

Reid Punts on Anti-Trust Exemption

The Huffington Post

October 30, 2009

 

Senate negotiators have decided not to include a provision revoking the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption in the bill leadership sends to the floor - instead the measure will be offered as an amendment on the Senate floor.

TRANSPARENCY/SAFETY

Finance Bill’s Fine Print May Cause Sticker Shock for Some Consumers

Kaiser Health News

October 30, 2009

 

Proponents of the Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill say the legislation will limit the amount that lower and middle-income people must pay for health insurance to a maximum of 12 percent of their incomes. But there’s a catch: Over time, the premium costs could rise well beyond those caps.

STATE NEWS

Harry Reid’s Self-Serving Bow to States’ Rights

The Washington Post - Op-Ed

October 30, 2009

There is an air of desperate improvisation to Sen. Harry Reid's scheme to pass a "public option" as part of health care reform but at the same time provide an easy exemption for any state that objects to it.

MEDICARE/MEDICAID

At Key Moment, Obama Leaves Health Post Unfilled

The Washington Examiner

October 30, 2009

President Obama and Democrats in Congress hope to cut Medicare spending by nearly a half-trillion dollars over the next decade, and reform plans call for a big expansion of Medicaid during the same period.  The proposals raise serious questions. Is it really possible to take so much money out of Medicare and not affect coverage? Is expanding Medicaid a good idea?

REFORM EFFORTS

The Defining Moment

The New York Times - Op-Ed

October 30, 2009

 

The seemingly impossible dream of fundamental health reform is just a few steps away from becoming reality, and each player has to decide whether he or she is going to help it across the finish line or stand in its way.

 

Editorial:  The House Health Reform Bill

The New York Times - Op-Ed

October 30, 2009

 

The Senate should pay attention to the health care reform bill unveiled Thursday - it deserves to be approved by the House.

 

Dr. No Has Cleared His Schedule

The New York Times

October 30, 2009

Known as Dr. No, Mr. Coburn, a family practice physician, views legislative battle less in terms of Republicans versus Democrats than as a matter of yes versus no. He sees himself as a one-man treatment center helping Congress beat its bipartisan addiction to misguided spending.

Opt-Out Divides Schumer and Emanuel

Politico

October 30, 2009

Schumer and Emanuel are now finding themselves on opposite sides of an internal Democratic argument on health care reform. 

 

”I’m not Big on Showing Weakness”

Politico

October 30, 2009

 

Even before her bill reaches the House floor, health care reform has been a lesson in the limits of power for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and in the immense challenge of managing disappointment on the left.

 

Liberals Don’t Bolt From Pelosi Bill

Politico

October 30, 2009

 

The House bill Pelosi unveiled Thursday includes big pieces of what the most liberal members of her party wanted — most likely setting up a serious battle when negotiators try to merge it with the far more moderate Senate legislation.

 

 

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Drug Makers Face Tougher Measures

The Wall Street Journal

October 30, 2009

 

The House health care bill presents more problems for drug makers than legislation in the Senate, but it gives the medical-device industry better breaks.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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