March 29th, 2010

March 29: Health Care Reform News

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GAMC: The deed is done, but the fight’s not over

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Tim Pawlenty affixed his scribble to a bill extending health insurance for indigent single adults to the end of Minnesota’s current budget period, in June of next year…

 

Its main “reform” was to create Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs), hospitals around the state that would agree to be area magnets for indigent care, in return for a bundled, flat-rate payment…

 

 Hospitals in rural Minnesota, it soon emerged, wanted no part of a CCO system, reasoning that the payment they received might actually be less than the added cost of serving a bigger regional base — in other words, a way to lose still more money. St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth led the charge against the fix, but they were joined by CentraCare of St. Cloud and then by the gorilla — the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

 

Politics in Minnesota, by Steve Perry, 3/2010

 

Additional Mayo Clinic health care reform coverage: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Top stories

 

Obama to Nominate Berwick for Medicare-Medicaid Post

The Washington Post
March 29, 2010

 

President Obama will nominate health-care scholar Donald Berwick to oversee the nation's health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor. Related coverage: Obama Chooses Health Policy Scholar as the Director for Medicare and Medicaid, The New York Times

 

Health-Care Overhaul Begins Now

The Washington Post
March 28, 2010

Ezra Klein writes that “as someone who has spent the past year tangled in the minutia of excise taxes and curve bending and subsidy levels, it is good to finally say this: With the passage of the reconciliation fixes, the health-care reform debate is finally over.

But if you're thrilled to hear that, then I also have some bad news: Health-care reform itself is just beginning.”

Insurance

 

Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print

The New York Times

March 29, 2010

 

Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies are already arguing that, at least for now, they do not have to provide one of the benefits that the president calls a centerpiece of the law: coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions.

 

Transparency/Safety

 

Scientists Say F.D.A. Ignored Radiation Warnings

The New York Times
March 29, 2010

 

The scientists say warnings about the risks of using CT scans to screen patients for colon cancer were brushed aside by the Food and Drug Administration. One of the scientists expressing concerns about the FDA is Dr. Julian Nicholas, a gastroenterologist who trained at Mayo Clinic.

 

F.D.A. Says Millions Got Unapproved Heart Pills

The New York Times
March 26, 2010

 

About 80 percent of prescriptions for nitroglycerin are filled with unapproved, unvetted tablets, the agency said.

 

State news

 

The Legal Assault on Health Reforms

The New York Times – editorial
March 29, 2010

 

Fourteen states are challenging the health care bill on constitutional grounds. But the claims look like political posturing, and seem unlikely to succeed.

 

Deciding Who Will Lead a Health Care Leader

The New York Times

March 26, 2010

 

As with the new federal plan, leaders of both parties in Massachusetts agree that expanded coverage cannot be sustained without arresting the growth of spending. But in what may be another preview for Washington, the campaign for governor has stirred a debate over how best to do that.

 

Some States Find Burdens in Health Law

The New York Times

March 26, 2010

 

In states where large numbers of additional residents will be insured, officials were concerned about how to finance expansions in Medicaid.

 

Medicare/Medicaid

 

Review Heightens Concerns Over Medicare Billing at Nursing Homes

The Washington Post

March 29, 2010

The numbers in Medicare’s “ultra-high” billing categories for nursing homes have quadrupled over the past decade, and the amount of waste and abuse could reach billions of dollars a year. The billing program is specifically targeted in President Obama's health-care legislation passed last week by Congress, changing two rules that experts said have been exploited by nursing homes to inflate bills.

Reform efforts

 

Now What?

The New Yorker
April 5, 2010

 

Atul Gawande, surgeon and staff writer for the New Yorker, writes that the one truly scary thing about health reform: is that far from being a government takeover, it counts on local communities and clinicians for success.

 

Prescription drugs

 

The Influence Game: Drug lobby's health care win

AP/Yahoo News

March 29, 2010

 

The U.S. drug industry fended off price curbs and other hefty restrictions in President Barack Obama's health care law even as it prepares for plenty of new business when an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage.

 

Employers

 

Carrots, Sticks and Lower Premiums

The New York Times
March 29, 2010

 

A fledgling “pay for prevention” industry is beginning to emerge, offering employers ways to reward workers with cash or reduced insurance premiums for exercising more and eating wisely.

 

Jarrett on Health Care: ‘Business Will Come Out Way Ahead’

The Wall Street Journal – health blog

March 29, 2010

The White House’s chief business liaison defended the new health-care law against corporate complaints over its costs.

AT&T Links $1 Billion Charge to New Health-Care Law

The Washington Post – Politics blog

March 26, 2010

 

Telecom giant AT&T said Friday that it would be forced to record a $1 billion non-cash charge on its first-quarter earnings to account for increased costs associated with the health-care legislation signed into law this week by President Obama.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Health Overhaul Likely to Strain Doctor Shortage

AP/Google News

March 29, 2010

 

Better beat the crowd and find a doctor. Primary care physicians already are in short supply in parts of the country, and the landmark health overhaul that will bring them millions more newly insured patients in the next few years promises extra strain.

 

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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