February 25: Health Care Reform News

Posted on February 25th, 2010 by Kelley Luckstein

Congress: Patient-centered reform needed

Mayo Clinic and other medical groups have sent a letter to Congress demanding "patient centered"measures, on the eve of a scheduled meeting between President Obama and members of Congress from both major political parties to discuss health reform…

 

The Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center organized the effort, with the letter scheduled to be published today in "Roll Call" magazine, which is read by members of Congress.

 

Post-Bulletin, by Jeff Hansel, 2/24/2010

 

Sen. Linda Berglin, Rep. Erin Murphy: GAMC plan is bipartisan and affordable

Last Thursday the Legislature sent Gov. Tim Pawlenty a solution to restore a scaled-back, reformed General Assistance Medical Care program. Opposed in a recent commentary ("The state can't afford GAMC," Feb. 22), this solution was born out of months of hard work, collaboration and compromise…

 

Hospitals will face an additional $80 million in cuts under the governor's plan. That's a big reason the Mayo Clinic and almost every Minnesota hospital supports the bipartisan legislative solution that the governor vetoed.

 

Star Tribune, by Linda Berglin, 2/24/2010

 

Insurance Nightmare: Why We Need a Better System

Late last year, I learned two things at about the same time: My cancer was coming back, and I had gotten a new insurance plan. Since then, I've learned something else: It's far easier to deal with my disease than with my new insurers…

 

Insurance was the last thing on my mind. I made an appointment in the new year to see the doctors who know me best, the myeloma experts at the Mayo Clinic…

 

That was my first mistake. Mayo Clinic, it turns out, is not part of the network of UnitedHealthcare, one of the nation's largest health insurers.

 

Politics Daily by Janet Battaile, 2/24/2010

 

Top stories

 

Follow the summit with live blogging from:

The New York Times

The Washington Post

 

At Health Care Session, Obama Stresses Areas of Agreement

The New York Times
Feb. 25, 2010

 

President Obama opened his much anticipated health care forum on Thursday by calling on Democrats and Republicans to “focus not just on where we differ but focus on where we agree,” as Republicans called for the president to scrap his bill and start over.

 

Obama Readies a Fallback Health-Care Proposal

The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 24, 2010

President Barack Obama will use a bipartisan summit Thursday to push for sweeping health-care legislation, but if that fails to generate enough support the White House has prepared the outlines of a more modest plan.

Democrats Looking Beyond Health-Care Summit to Final Talks Within Party
The Washington Post
Feb. 25, 2010

Congressional Democrats are focusing on final talks and less on the summit.

 

Obama, GOP Trade Barbs Over Costs

The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 25, 2010

 

President Barack Obama urged lawmakers not to let Thursday's health-care summit deteriorate into "political theater," but conceded that Democrats and Republicans may not be able to bridge the gaps that divide them on health legislation.

 

Preparing for Health Debate, and Its TV Audience
The New York Times
Feb. 25, 2010

 

From the seating arrangements to the camera positions and buffet lunch — not to mention the talking points — the meeting has been carefully orchestrated, the product of days of negotiations that led to a walk-through on Wednesday for Congressional aides at Blair House.

 

Obama’s Task: Deliver One Message to Five Audiences

Politico
Feb. 24, 2010

President Barack Obama’s “summit” Thursday is officially billed as a meeting of the minds with congressional Republicans — but, in truth, Republicans are the least of his concerns.

Insurance

 

Health Executive Defends Premiums

The New York Times
Feb. 25, 2010

 

The president of WellPoint told a House panel that the increase was justified by soaring costs, and that pending legislation could make the problem worse.

 

Lawmakers Accuse WellPoint, Parent Company of Anthem Blue Cross, of Profiteering
The Los Angeles Times
Feb. 25, 2010

 

Congressional Democrats have accused the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross of putting profits ahead of policyholders, saying the insurer padded its proposed rates while providing generous salaries and benefits on top executives.

 

House Votes to Strip Health Insurance Companies of Antitrust Exemption

The Washington Post
Feb. 24, 2010

The House voted Wednesday to strip health insurance companies of their exemption from federal antitrust laws, a Democratic measure that could resonate with public concerns about insurers but that has an uncertain future in the Senate.

A Third of Young Adults Uninsured in 2008 - US Report
Reuters
Feb. 24, 2010

 

A third of young U.S. adults -- nearly 13 million people -- had no health insurance coverage in 2008, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

 

State news

 

Calif.: Hospitals Renew Battle to Hire Doctors

HealthLeaders Media
Feb. 24, 2010

 

Throughout California, institutional hiring of doctors is limited to teaching and county hospitals and prisons, a policy that sets the state apart from all other states in the nation but four. The hiring situation is causing concern for rural areas in the state, which are already in dire need of physicians.

 

Ariz. Hospitals Rip Plans for Health Program Cuts

The Arizona Daily Sun
Feb. 24, 2010

Cutting health care programs to help close Arizona's budget deficit would inflict pain on more state residents than the nearly 400,000 people who stand to lose Medicaid coverage or other services, Arizona hospital officials said Wednesday.

Reform efforts

 

Poll: Health Care Provisions Popular, But Overall Bills Unpopular

CNN

Feb. 24, 2010

 

Although the overall health care reform bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate are unpopular, many of the provisions in the existing bills are extremely popular, even among Republicans, according to a new national poll.

 

New England Journal of Medicine

February 2010

 

Recent NEJM articles related to health care reform include:

Can States Pick Up the Health Reform Torch?, Sara Rosenbaum, J.D.
Be Not Afraid, Len M. Nichols, Ph.D.
Avoiding Side Effects in Implementing Health Insurance Reform, Mark V. Pauly, Ph.D.
Risking Big Changes with Small Reforms, Stuart M. Butler, Ph.D.

Miscellaneous

 

Mayo Clinic Was Back in the Black in 2009

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Feb. 25, 2010

After barely breaking even in 2008, the Rochester clinic reports a $333 million operating margin.

Why Are Doctors Working Fewer Hours?
HealthLeaders Media
Feb. 25, 2010

After remaining steady for nearly 30 years, the number of hours that an average physician works each week dropped sharply in the last decade. A study examining why hours have dropped found an interested correlate: Reimbursement rates.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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