December 28: Health Care Reform News

Posted on December 29th, 2009 by Kelley Luckstein

Senate, House to Haggle Over Differences

Senate passage of the health-care bill gives all sides a last opportunity to change the far-reaching overhaul, and it looks to be a messy legislative bazaar.

 

House and Senate negotiators will meet in January to mesh their health bills after the Senate voted 60-39 Christmas Eve for a bill that aims to deliver on a long-promised Democratic goal of extending insurance coverage to nearly every American.

 

"Now's the time to get that last word in," said Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents for-profit hospitals …

 

Jeffrey Korsmo, head of the Mayo Clinic's policy center, said Mayo doesn't want Medicare cuts to penalize those who provide high-quality care. "To the extent that reimbursement cuts are across the board and don't differentiate based on value, they will make the current problems in the Medicare system worse," he said.

 

Wall Street Journal, by Greg Hitt, 12/28/09

 

Plano Medical Village may be the model of health care future

Amid the shopping malls and subdivisions of Plano sits a medical park that might pass for any other. The nondescript campus consists of a family care practice, as well as about 20 specialists.

 

Behind the walls, a leaner, more affordable and, perhaps, better vision of family medical care is being crafted using several of the emerging health care strategies …  

 

Some say the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., may have the answer. The hospital has long paid its doctors flat salaries, in part, to avoid the shortcomings of the fee-for-service system. "There is clearly an advantage to a salary-based approach," said Dr. Douglas Wood, chairman of Mayo Clinic's division of Health Care Policy.

 

The Dallas Morning News by Theodore Kim, 12/27/09

 

 

Minnesota senators hedge their joy over the health care vote

Despite Sen. Amy Klobuchar's and Sen. Al Franken's expressions of satisfaction over Thursday's Senate health care vote, the subtext of their post victory statements hinted that the bill is far from any Democrat's idea of perfection.

 

Klobuchar praised it as "an important step forward," but promised to "continue to push for a final bill that includes strong Minnesota-model cost reforms, deficit reduction, protections against insurance company abuses, and strong, stable Medicare coverage."

 

On balance, they suggested they got most of what they want. Klobuchar said the bill would "begin to rein in costs" by rewarding value over volume -- something she and others in the Minnesota delegation pushed for with the Mayo Clinic.

 

Star Tribune, by Eric Roper, 12/26/09

 

 

Mayo Clinic Supports Bill But Seeks More Action on How Care Is Paid For

The Mayo Clinic, often cited by the Obama administration as a model for high-quality, cost-effective health care, generally supports key provisions of the legislation approved by the Senate, an official said Thursday, but he called for more aggressive steps to change how care in the U.S. is paid for.

 

"The concerns are whether the legislation will be strong enough to change the incentives in the system today, which are mostly around paying for volume" and not for "value" of care, said Jeffrey Korsmo, executive director of health policy center at the Rochester, Minn., clinic.

 

The dominant system of reimbursement in the health-care system, known as fee-for-service, pays doctors and hospitals for each test and procedure they perform or order, rewarding providers based on delivering more--rather than better--care, Mr. Korsmo said.

 

Wall Street Journal, by Ron Winslow, 12/24/09

 

Top stories

 

House Democrats Pessimistic About Public Option

The Washington Post
Dec. 28, 2009

 

House Democrats aren't optimistic that a government insurance plan, a central element of health care legislation passed in their chamber, will survive negotiations with the Senate.

 

Senate, House to Haggle Over Differences

The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 28, 2009

 

House and Senate negotiators will meet in January to mesh their health bills after the Senate voted 60-39 Christmas Eve for a bill that aims to deliver on a long-promised Democratic goal of extending insurance coverage to nearly every American.

 

Mayo Clinic Supports Bill But Seeks More Action on How Care Is Paid For

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 24, 2009

The Mayo Clinic, often cited by the Obama administration as a model for high-quality, cost-effective health care, generally supports key provisions of the legislation approved by the Senate, an official said Thursday, but he called for more aggressive steps to change how care in the U.S. is paid for.

Insurance

 

Insurers Brace for Sweeping Changes to Industry Landscape

The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 26, 2009

Major health insurers, which decided early to support key aspects of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, are now picking through the Senate's version of the legislation and finding cause for concern.

Transparency/Safety

 

A Hospital How-To Guide That Mother Would Love

The New York Times
Dec. 23, 2009

 

Review of Dr. Atul Gawande’s new book, which explains how a technique used by pilots — the simple checklist — can dramatically reduce patients’ deaths in hospitals. Read an excerpt of the book here.

 

Medical Sales Reps Work Alongside Doctors, Even in Operating Rooms

The Washington Post
Dec. 28, 2009

 

As Washington tries to find new economies in healthcare, salesmen in the operating room serve as simple reminders that medicine is a business, with all the potential that entails to promote efficiency, boost sales, and extract profit. The Post asks whether they should be there at all.

 

State news

 

States With Expanded Health Coverage Fight Bill

The New York Times
Dec. 26, 2009

States that have already broadly expanded health care coverage are pushing back against the Senate overhaul bill, arguing that it unfairly penalizes them in favor of states that have done little or nothing to extend benefits to the uninsured.

Medicare/Medicaid

 

The Not-So-Sweet Side of Closing 'Doughnut Hole'

The Washington Post
Dec. 28, 2009

 

Democrats and President Obama have been clear that the 'doughnut hole' would disappear gradually over the next 10 years. They have not mentioned that Medicare patients would, according to House figures, face a slightly larger hole in coverage during two of the next three years than they do today.

 

Reform efforts

 

Wielding Influence in Health Care Fight

Politico
Dec. 28, 2009

 

Key health goals have slim odds of passage with opposition from hospitals and drug makers.

 

Businesses to Push for Modifications to Senate Bill

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 28, 2009

 

Businesses are set to push for modifications to the Senate-approved health bill, while urging lawmakers to steer clear of the version passed by the House.

 

Medical Billing Code Monopoly Explains American Medical Association's Support for Health Plan, Critics Say

The Chicago Tribune
Dec. 27, 2007

 

As Democrats tout the American Medical Association's endorsement of their healthcare overhaul, critics are pointing to their sidestepping of a monopoly that sends millions into the trade group's coffers each year.

 

Both Parties to Highlight Bill in Bid to Win Over 2010 Voters

The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 28, 2009

Both parties will battle to shape public views of the health legislation, looking to gain an edge ahead of the 2010 elections.

Americans Would Feel Varying Effects From Health Bill
USA Today
Dec. 28, 2009

 

USA Today looks at the health bill’s potential impact on various groups.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Sacramento Health Care Model Could Help Dallas Lower Expenses

The Dallas Morning News

Dec. 27, 2009

 

In 1994, healthcare spending in Dallas and Sacramento was about the same. Since then, Dallas has become one of the highest-spending cities in the country. In Sacramento, medical inflation has cooled down, and the city now spends well below the national average. Healthcare workers in Sacramento say they bent the cost curve through integration.

 

 

 

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

You must be logged-in to the site to post a comment.

Contact Us · Privacy Policy