January 25th, 2010

January 25: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Mayo Clinic calls for renewed health-reform commitment...

The Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center has issued a biting, though delayed, statement in response to a Jan. 6, 2010 Washington Post article that charges in its headline that "Health bills would shift Medicare money to Mayo and other 'high-value' hospitals."

 

Here, in the Policy Center's own words labeled "High Value, Affordable Care Will Benefit All Patients," comes the response: "We feel the primary goal of health care reform must be ensuring that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable care….”

 

Post-Bulletin by Jeff Hansel (blog), 1/24/2010

 

Health-care experts say Obama can get some reform himself

It's the truism of the week: To surmount his political troubles, President Obama needs to show leadership -- especially on his signature issue of health-care reform. But how can he do that with a Congress that will be even more gridlocked after last Tuesday's election shocker in Massachusetts than it was before?...

 

So how can Obama show leadership, immediately, without waiting another day for the venom-merchants of Capitol Hill? For an answer, I called my two health-care gurus, Dr. Denis Cortese, a former chief executive of the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove, chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic. They outlined some ways the president can break the impasse…

 

The president could begin these reforms immediately, as pilot projects. To make them universal across Medicare would probably require legislation, according to Jeff Korsmo, director of the Mayo Clinic's Health Policy Center.

 

Washington Post, by David Ignatius, 1/22/2010

 

Jacksonville gobbles health care, but it's still no Miami

Jacksonville seniors use 11 percent more medical services than the national average, but don't appear to be any healthier for it, according to a recent report that sheds light on variations in health care use. An independent panel that oversees Medicare published the report last month.

 

In it, the agency charged that the government-run program's spending is influenced, in no small part, by geography…

 

"Having a lot of attention to quality is important. Sometimes that raises the cost," said Yank Coble of the University of North Florida's Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy. "We have a lot of diversity of care with academic science centers like Shands Jacksonville, Mayo [Clinic] and Nemours [Children's Clinic.] And there's also a lot of specialty care here."

 

Florida Times-Union, by Jeremy Cox, 1/24/2010

 

 

TOP STORIES

In Ohio:  Obama Says He Won’t Walk Away From Health Care Fight

The Washington Post

January 25, 2010

 

With some top Democrats suggesting a temporary break from health care negotiations, President Obama said he would still push for a health care reform plan, although his party no longer has a filibuster-proof majority.

 

Additional Coverage

Obama Continues to Push for Health Reform - Healthleaders Media

 

Democrats Focus on Key Elements of Health Bill

The Wall Street Journal

January 24, 2010

 

The White House, with its health care initiative in doubt, zeroed in on several elements it hoped would survive, including measures to extend the life of Medicare, lower prescription drug costs for seniors and cap consumers' out-of-pocket medical expenses.

 

McCain Nudges Obama Toward Republican’s Health Plan

The New York Times

January 25, 2010

 

Senator John McCain advised President Obama the way to get meaningful health reform changes passed is to "start from the beginning" by meeting with Republicans.

 

 

INSURANCE

Health Insurers Spent Big Bucks on Lobbying Over the Past Year

The Hill

January 24, 2010

 

America’s largest insurance companies increased lobbying spending by an average of 24 percent from 2008 to 2009.

 

Additional Coverage

Health Insurance:  $38 Million on Lobbying Hospital Fight - The Wall Street Journal

 

 

TRANSPARENCY/SAFETY

Accountable Care Organizations Featured in Both Reform Bills

Healthleaders Media

January 25, 2010

 

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) one response to concerns over the fragmented nature of health care delivery across the United States can provide cohesion, scale, and affiliation, leading to enhanced quality of care and efficiency.

 

Pro-Lifers Cheer Health Care Bill’s Demise

The Washington Times

January 25, 2010

 

The mood among pro-lifers who were in Washington for the annual March for Life on Friday was ebullient and optimistic, owing to the failure of the Senate's health care reform bill. 

 

 

WELLNESS/CHRONIC CARE

Radiation Offers New Cures and Ways To Do Harm

The New York Times

January 25, 2010

 

In America, the average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation has increased sevenfold since 1980 leading to countless lives but also causing serious harm when safety rules are violated and ever more powerful and technologically complex machines go awry.

 

 

STATE NEWS

HCMC Asks Other Counties for Help - Gets No Takers

The Star Tribune

January 25, 2010

Cash-strapped Hennepin County Medical Center pleaded with other metro area counties for help in paying for the uninsured destitute patients - the counties response, we do not intend on raising property taxes to cover indigents' medical bills in Hennepin County

A Remedy for Mississippi’s Health Blues

The Los Angeles Times

January 25, 2010

 

Dr. Aaron Shirley has devoted his career to serving the rural poor in the Mississippi Delta, but now the 77-year-old pediatrician believes the key to reducing the nation's highest infant mortality rates lies in a surprising place: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

Insurers Step Up Fight to Control Health Care Costs

The New York Times

January 24, 2010

 

A front in the national health care battle has opened in New York City, where a major hospital chain and one of the nation’s largest insurance companies are locked in a struggle over control of treatment and costs.

 

 

REFORM EFFORTS

Too Big To Reform

The New York Times Op-Ed

January 25, 2010

 

Since Ronald Reagan tried and failed to purge Washington of wasteful spending, nearly every major attempt at reforming the way our government does business has found itself where the Democratic health care bill is now — losing altitude, shedding supporters and tail spinning toward defeat.

 

Five Key Health Reform Questions

Politico

January 25, 2010

 

Five questions that will determine whether health reform rises or falls:

·          If you don’t have 60 how about 51?

·          How close will the House come to the Senate?

·          Can you actually do a scaled-down bill, given how interconnected the legislation is?

·          How many “yeses” have turned to “no’s”?

·          How hard will Obama push?

 

Democrats Get Down to Business

The New York Times - Op-Ed

January 24, 2010

 

Harold Ford Jr. former House Democrat said  'we must pass a more focused health reform bill that - restructures current health care costs, prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, enacts responsible reform on malpractice suits, extends health coverage to all children, and allows states to have input into the expansion of health coverage.

 

After Obamacare

The Wall Street Journal

January 23, 2010

 

In the wake of Scott Brown's Senate upset, the choice now for Democrats is whether they prime the defibrillator paddles and try to keep their patient alive, or start over fresh.

 

If Reform Efforts Waver, Could Physician Hospital Ban Go Away?

Fierce Healthcare

January 23, 2010

 

One of the many hot-button issues included in current health reform legislation involves a ban on additional construction of physician-own hospitals beginning August 1st; however, members of the Physician Hospitals of America are growing cautiously optimistic that these provisions will be removed or weakened now that the balance of partisan power has shifted in the U.S. Senate

HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Standards Panel Says Flexibility Will Facilitate ‘Meaningful Use’

ihealthbeat

January 25, 2010

 

The federal government's "meaningful use" regulations include flexible standards designed to help health care providers qualify for the first phase of the health IT incentive program in 2011.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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