February 19: Health Care Reform News

Posted on February 19th, 2010 by Kelley Luckstein

The Cost Conundrum Persists

A New York Times article I just read suggests that a data set I used in my piece “The Cost Conundrum” has been questioned. Not so. A recent opinion piece in The New England Journal of Medicine does take issue with a particular analysis offered by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. But it doesn’t dispute the Dartmouth data I drew on…

 

As readers may recall, my article investigated why Medicare spent markedly more for its enrollees in McAllen, Texas, than in most of the country…communities with some of the best quality measures for health care have among the lowest costs in the country for their elderly Medicare patients—communities like Grand Junction, Colorado, and Rochester, Minnesota, where the Mayo Clinic is the dominant medical institution.

 

The New Yorker, by Atul Gawande, 2/2010

 

Additional health care reform coverage: Boston Globe, Galen Institute

 

TOP STORIES

Obama to Offer Health Bill to Ease Impasse as Bipartisan Meeting Approaches

The New York Times

February 19, 2010

 

President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week.

 

Obama to Get Specific on Health Care Legislation

The Los Angeles Times

February 19, 2010

 

After sustaining months of criticism for not being clear about what he wanted in health care legislation, President Obama will post specific proposals for a comprehensive plan on the Internet by Monday.

 

Obama Keeps All-Democratic Health Care Option Open

The Washington Post

February 19, 2010

 

The White House signaled Thursday that an aggressive, all-Democratic strategy for overhauling the nation's health care system remains a serious option.

 

 

INSURANCE

Fight Over Health Care Premiums Heats Up

The Wall Street Journal

February 19, 2010

Government report highlights steep rate increases, but insurers say changes are necessary as medical costs climb.

HHS Secretary Decries Higher Rates for Health Insurance

The Washington Post

February 19, 2010

The Obama administration stepped up its criticism of health insurers' efforts to raise their rates, an attempt to harness public aggravation with the industry and rebuild momentum for broad changes to the nation’s health care system.

Bleak Economy Pushing Insurance Companies to Raise Rates

The New York Times

February 18, 2010

 

The nation's health insurers have come under sharp attack by the Obama administration for seeking policy rate increases, but insurers say the challenging business environment may leave them little choice but to raise prices if they want to protect profits.

 

The Lesson of Anthem Blue Cross

The New York Times - Op-Ed

February 18, 2010

 

Clients were understandably furious when Anthem Blue Cross announced huge rate increases for people who buy their own insurance - the move also provided a textbook example of why the nation badly needs comprehensive health care reform.

 

 

TRANSPARENCY/SAFETY

Health Reform Illiteracy

Healthpopuli

February 18, 2010

 

A telling Harris Poll reveals it doesn't much matter what the details are: "support for, or opposition to, health care reform has little to do with what is actually proposed.”

 

 

STATE NEWS

California Death Spiral

The New York Times - Op-Ed

February 18, 2010

California's death spiral is a reminder that our health care system is unraveling, and inaction isn't an option.

 

MEDICARE/MEDICAID

Medicaid Enrollment Increases Nationwide, Analysis Finds

The Washington Post

February 19, 2010

More than 3 million people joined Medicaid in the year that ended in June, pushing program enrollment to a record 46.8 million, exacerbating the financial strains on already burdened states and complicating the federal politics of health care.

Economy Forces States to Reduce Medicaid Spending

USA Today

February 19, 2010

 

More than half the states are reducing Medicaid services and payments to health care providers this year as the recession propelled enrollments to record levels and sapped money from treasuries.

 

States Consider Medicaid Cuts As Use Grows

The New York Times

February 19, 2010

 

Facing relentless fiscal pressure and exploding demand for government health care, virtually every state is making or considering substantial cuts in Medicaid, even as Democrats push to add 15 million people to the rolls.

 

REFORM EFFORTS

Sebelius:  White House May Fight for Public Option in Health Bill

The Hill

February 18, 2010

The White House is willing to make a push for the public option if Senate Democrats decide to bring it up for a vote.

 

Additional Coverage

Public Option Support Surging in Senate - The Huffington Post

 

 

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

White House Provides $4.3B to Help States with Drug Costs

Healthleaders Media

February 19, 2010

Acknowledging a tough economy, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday the government plans to grant $4.3 billion to states to reduce their prescription drug costs.

 

NEW ADMINISTRATION

Tanden Leaving Administration for CAP

The Republican

February 19, 2010

 

Neera Tanden, one of the Obama administration's top health care reform advisers, is leaving to become chief operating officer at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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