November 23: Health Care Reform News

Posted on November 23rd, 2009 by Kelley Luckstein

Conservatives to the rescue

I was on Facebook the other day, yukking it up about the lamestream media and seeing which of my friends had procreated, I came across Sarah Palin ruminating on the recent reports on mammograms and Pap smears. She wrote on her wall, "There are many questions unanswered for me, but one which immediately comes to mind is whether costs have anything to do with these recommendations."…

 

I learned about the utter lack of connection between expenditures and results in health care, I was excited to hear more about rational limits on unnecessary procedures. It's a crazy world when we spend more than twice as much per person on medical treatment in McAllen, Tex., as we spend in Rochester, Minn., -- home town of the Mayo Clinic. And Texas already has tort reform!

 

Washington Post by Kevin Huffman, 11/23/09

 

Additional Mayo Clinic mentions on health care reform:

BusinessWeek

Red Rock On Air

 

 

Top stories

 

Senate Votes to Open Health Care Debate

The New York Times

Nov. 21, 2009

 

The Senate voted on Saturday to begin full debate on major health care legislation, propelling President Obama’s top domestic initiative over a crucial, preliminary hurdle in a formidable display of muscle-flexing by the Democratic majority. Related: The Washington Post tallies the votes and provides information on each Senator’s industry campaign contributions and their state's percentage of uninsured.

 

Health Haggling Heats Up

The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 23, 2009

 

Democratic leaders finally moved their sweeping health bill to the Senate floor, where wheeling and dealing over major unresolved and divisive issues likely will shape the legislation before its next big test.

 

Public Option at Center of Debate

The Washington Post

Nov. 23, 2009

 

Two Democrats critical to moving debate to the Senate floor indicate they won't support a health bill with a government-run insurance program.

 

Senators Voice Optimism on Public Option

The Boston Globe
Nov. 23, 2009

 

Buoyed by their weekend victory on a vote beginning the healthcare debate, several Senate Democrats expressed optimism they could find a way to keep a government-run insurance plan in the sweeping bill.

 

How Health Reform Could Fall Apart

Politico
Nov. 22, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eked out 60 votes on a procedural motion to start the health care debate Saturday night – but there’s no guarantee he can pass a bill on the merits.

A Budget-Buster in the Making

The Washington Post
Nov. 23, 2009

 

An op-ed from David Broder.

 

Transparency/Safety

 

Mass: Hospitals Make Headway on Patient Infections

The Boston Globe
Nov. 22, 2009

 

Massachusetts' largest hospitals say they have significantly cut the number of patients who acquire painful, costly, and sometimes deadly infections in their operating suites and intensive care units, suggesting that pressure from government regulators and patient groups, as well as a shift in doctors' attitudes, is starting to make medical care safer.

 

Wellness/Chronic Care

 

In Cancer Testing, Less Is Now Better

The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 23, 2009

 

Worries that widespread screening for breast and cervical cancers can yield limited benefit and lead to unnecessary harm prompted decisions by two medical organizations to recommend less preventive testing.

 

Behind Cancer Guidelines, Quest for Data

The New York Times
Nov. 23, 2009

 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force thought its review of breast cancer recommendations would be a straightforward job, but the response to its guidelines was swift and angry.

 

State news

 

Mass: Doctors Prepare for a Fee Change

The Boston Globe
Nov. 21, 2009

 

Healthcare providers in Massachusetts are preparing for a dramatic change in how they get paid.

 

Reform efforts

 

Senator Cements Role at Heart of Debate

The New York Times
Nov. 21, 2009

 

No sooner had Senator Blanche Lincoln promised to deliver one crucial vote in support of a health care overhaul than she threatened to withhold the next one. Her clear warning that she would oppose the Democratic plan in its current form is certain to keep her squarely at the center of the increasingly contentious health care fight and intensify a campaign in Washington and back home to put her on the spot in advance of a re-election bid next November. Related: Read Sen. Lincoln’s floor speech given on Saturday, Nov. 12.

 

Democrats Focus on Maine's GOP Senators for Health Reform Votes

The New York Times

Nov. 23, 2009

 

Anxious that Saturday's party-line Senate vote to open debate on a healthcare overhaul gives them little maneuvering room, Obama administration officials and their Congressional allies are stepping up overtures to select Senate Republicans in hopes of winning their ultimate support. The two moderate Republican senators from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe, say Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, reached out to them after he unveiled the Senate measure, encouraging them to bring forward their ideas and concerns.

 

Daschle: Health Care Overhaul 'Within Our Reach'

NPR

Nov. 23, 2009

 

An interview with Tom Daschle, who President Obama has deputized to help Vice President Biden to try and persuade reluctant Senate Democrats to pass a bill.

 

Getting The Bugs Out Of Health Reform

Kaiser Health News
Nov. 23, 2009

 

The proponents of reform talk all the time about improving the quality of care, both to save lives and make it less expensive, and frequently cite hospital infections to make their point. (Even opponents of reform have been known to agree on this front.) And the bills they've moved through the legislative process supposedly follow through on this. But if you look closely at the legislation, you'll see that the proposals fall a bit short on that promise.

 

Starting on the Path to a High Performance Health System: Analysis of Health System Reform Provisions of House of Representatives and Senate Health Reform Bills

The Commonwealth Fund
Nov. 20, 2009

 

The Commonwealth Fund has released a preview of two forthcoming reports analyzing the House health reform bill and the newly merged Senate bill. Read a summary and review a chartpack outlining the payment and delivery system reform provisions in the bills, as well as their potential impact on health expenditures. Also available is a chartpack from another upcoming Fund report on coverage and affordability provisions in the two bills.

 

The Cost of Dying

60 Minutes
Nov. 22, 2009

 

A report on the costs of end-of-life care, and how this once bipartisan issue has become a politically explosive one - a perfect example of the costs that threaten to bankrupt the country and how hard it's going to be to rein them in.

 

New Baseline of Opinion on Health Care

USA Today

Nov. 23, 2009

 

USA Today reports that the years since Clinton's failed effort have seen the cost of medical services nearly double and softened some of the skepticism voiced by Americans in 1993 and 1994. The percentage who say Congress should pass comprehensive legislation, rather than dealing with health care incrementally over several years, has increased by 10 points, USA TODAY/Gallup Polls show.

 

Miscellaneous

 

The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery

The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 23, 2009

 

A new approach has transformed healthcare in India through a simple premise that works in other industries: economies of scale. By driving huge volumes, even of procedures as sophisticated, delicate, and dangerous as heart surgery, the theory has managed to drive down the cost of healthcare in his nation of one billion. The model offers insights for countries worldwide that are struggling with soaring medical costs, including the U.S. as it debates major healthcare overhaul.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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