August 7, 2009

Aug. 7 Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Truth Squad: The Insurance Industry Spreads Misinformation about What a Public Sector Plan Would Mean For Your Family

Claim:  "A new government-run health plan will raise costs for Americans with private insurance. By systematically underpaying doctors and hospitals, our country's existing public plans--Medicare and Medicaid--raise the average family's premiums by $1,800 a year. A public option will only exacerbate this problem -- and make insurance more expensive."…


Truth: They know that some hospitals stay in the black when treating Medicare patients  simply because they are more efficient. In private conversation, hospital CEOs have confirmed this. Medical Centers such as Mayo Clinic, and the accountable care organizations that Atul Gawande wrote about in the June 1 New Yorker provide better care at a lower cost.  Meanwhile, other hospitals make a profit on the majority of their Medicare patients. They should analyze where they lose money and why. Maybe Medicare does need to increase payments for certain patients—while slicing overpayments in other areas. Or, maybe the hospital needs better system management to improve the way it delivers care.


Health Beat Blog by Maggie Mahar 8/6/2009


Additional Mayo Clinic health care reform news:

Echo Press

San Francisco Sentinel



Top stories


Senators Hear Concerns Over Costs of Health Proposal

The New York Times
Aug. 6, 2009


Governors are concerned about the cost to states, and Democratic senators worry about the cost to the poor.


Democrats Say No to Cost Cap for Drug Makers

The New York Times
Aug. 6, 2009


Congressional Democrats said Thursday that they intended to push the Obama administration to back away from its deal with the drug industry to cap its share of the costs in a health care overhaul.


Democrats Weigh the Calculus of Public Insurance

The Washington Post
Aug. 7, 2009


As Congress breaks for its August recess, the debate back home will center on Democratic proposals to create a government-run insurance option, which insurers and Republicans are casting as a step toward socialized medicine.  But the more relevant debate is the one occurring among Democrats.


Live Webcast: SSH Secretary Sebelius Discusses Health Insurance Reform
Aug. 7, 2009

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other top HHS officials will host a Webcast Friday at 1:00 PM EDT where they will discuss how health insurance reform will benefit all Americans.



Health Care Debate: How Many Actually Uninsured?

Aug. 6, 2009


Just how many million are uninsured? News reports fact-check some of the numbers and "myths" of health reform.


The Health Insurers Have Already Won

Business Week
Aug. 6, 2009


Cover story outlines how UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit.




Are Patients in Part to Blame When Doctors Miss the Diagnosis?

The New York Times
Aug. 7, 2009


Diagnostic failures, or diagnoses that are delayed or in error, are an increasingly popular topic of research in patient safety. Recent research shows diagnostic failures are often due to missed steps, so-called “process of care lapses,” that stem from both doctors and patients.


10 'Basic Patient Safety Reforms' to Save 85,000 Lives, $35 Billion

HealthLeaders Media

Aug. 7, 2009

The consumer activist group Public Citizen says it has 10 basic patient safety reforms that could save 85,000 lives and $35 billion annually.

Wellness/Chronic Care


Cost Of Health Care For Older Persons With Chronic Conditions Reduced By Guided Care

Medical News Today
Aug. 7, 2009


The nation's sickest and most expensive patients need fewer health care resources and cost insurers less when they are closely supported by a nurse-physician primary care team that tracks their health and offers regular support, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


State news


Governors Fear Added Costs in Health Care Overhaul
The New York Times
Aug. 7, 2009


Some worry that Congress will give the states expensive new Medicaid obligations without providing enough new money to pay for them.


Mass: Insurance Options for Small Firms Studied

The Boston Globe

Aug. 7, 2009


Amid growing complaints from small businesses about soaring health insurance costs, Massachusetts is eyeing a much-debated proposal that would allow companies to band together, bargain for cheaper rates, and pass the savings on to employees.




Medicare Rule Puts Patients at Risk

HealthLeaders Media

Aug. 7, 2009

Millions of Medicare patients are being put at risk by a practice that allows physicians to be paid for care actually provided by non-physicians who have no verifiable credentials or appropriate training, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General, which recommends such procedures be stopped.

Reform efforts


Health Reform Shouldn't Add to the Deficit, Most Americans Say, as Support Erodes

Aug. 6, 2009


When it comes to health reform plans, if a new scheme's costs will add to the U.S. deficit, then most Americans say, 'no go.'


Health Reform and the Polls

The Wall Street Journal – op ed

Aug. 7, 2009

Scott Rasmussen, founder and president of Rasmussen Reports, writes that for all the back and forth about the “public option,” Congressional Budget Office estimates and proposed tax hikes, the fundamentals are really what make health-care reform a hard sell to American voters.

10 Health Care Reform Myths

CBS News

Aug. 6, 2009


CBS offers a look at 10 myths being told by both sides of the health care debate, and the reality.




France Fights Universal Care's High Cost

The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 7, 2009

France claims it long ago achieved much of what today's U.S. health-care overhaul is seeking: It covers everyone, and provides what supporters say is high-quality care. But soaring costs are pushing the system into crisis. The result: As Congress fights over whether America should be more like France, the French government is trying to borrow U.S. tactics.

Why Physician Employment Is and Isn't the Answer

HealthLeaders Media
Aug. 7, 2009


If you want an idea of where physician practice may be headed, listen closely to the comparisons of the best and worst providers in recent healthcare reform discussions. And what do the role models have in common? They all employ physicians, for starters. But while the case for employing physicians is compelling, in most places it's not that easy to implement.


Tags: Health Policy, Health Policy

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