August 19, 2009

August 19: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Senator: Non-profit co-ops would help drive down health costs

A top Democratic senator touting the creation non-profit cooperatives for health care reform said the business model has been "very successful" and "would certainly contribute to holding down" soaring health costs.


But Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota told CNN's American Morning Tuesday that such a plan, floated as an alternative to public health insurance, wouldn't be the chief driver in decreasing health care costs.


Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic that work so well in holding down costs and delivering high quality care and other reforms — the insurance market reforms and changing the tax subsidy to health care. The experts tell us those are the big drivers in terms of altering costs," Conrad said…Doctors at the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic are paid fixed salaries for their services. In most other hospitals, doctors are paid fees for each service they perform, a structure that critics say drives up health care costs.


CNN, 8/18/2009


Top stories


Pelosi Statement on Health Insurance Reform Legislation

Pelosi Newsroom
Aug. 17, 2009


On Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on health insurance reform legislation pending before Congress, which emphasizes Democratic support for the public option.


Gibbs Says Obama Isn’t Backing Away From Public Option

Roll Call
Aug. 18, 2009


The White House on Tuesday denied that comments by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were meant to signal that President Barack Obama is backing away from a public insurance option.


House Dems Seek Info From Health Insurers

The Washington Post

Aug. 19, 2009


Dozens of the nation's largest insurance firms must decide whether to honor a request from House Democrats for detailed financial records, part of an investigation into executive compensation and other business practices in an industry that opposes President Barack Obama's health care proposals.


Democrats Seem Set to Go It Alone on a Health Bill

The New York Times
Aug. 18, 2009


Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks. 



Why Health Reform Must Counter the Rising Costs of Health Insurance Premiums

The Commonwealth Fund blog
Aug. 18, 2009


Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis emphasizes that without health reform that controls premium costs, which are projected to rise to 24 percent of median family income by 2020, middle-class families will be priced out of health insurance altogether.


Code Blue: Out-of-Network Charges Can Spur Financial Emergency

Kaiser Health News
Aug. 18, 2009


A story highlighting the financial toll of out-of-network emergency care.


Tackling the Mystery of How Much It Costs

The New York Times
Aug. 18, 2009


For the most part, doctor fees are a mystery – and some say that’s a huge part of why health expenditures are so high.  “How can you get a market to work if no one has any idea of what the prices are?” says Dr. Alan Garber, a health economist at Stanford University.




The Next Healthcare Battle: Cutting Medicare Advantage

The Los Angeles Times
Aug. 19, 2009


Obama soon could face another emotionally charged obstacle -- a plan to trim the federal subsidy for a program used by nearly a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries.


Reform efforts


Reform E-mail From Obama Advisor David Axelrod

The White House blog
Aug. 13, 2009


An email from Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod, which includes “a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.” 


Debate's Path Caught Obama by Surprise

The Washington Post

Aug. 19, 2009


President Obama's advisers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unprepared for the intraparty rift that occurred over the fate of a proposed public health insurance program.


Thousands Quit AARP Over Health Reform

CBS News

Aug. 17, 2009


Up to 60,000 people have cancelled their AARP memberships since July 1, angered over the group's position on health care.


The Public Plan

The New York Times – editorial
Aug. 19, 2009


The NYT’s editorial board writes that if President Obama wants to jettison the now-weakened public health plan to dampen overheated opposition, he should say what he will insist on instead.


Health Co-Ops’ Fans Like Cost and Care

The Boston Globe

Aug. 19, 2009


A collection of little-known insurance cooperatives around the country is winning attention as being key to a possible health reform compromise in Washington, but while some of their practices have cut costs and serve as models for change, big questions remain about their ability to transform American health care.


NBC Poll: Myths Endure on Health Care, Highlighting Doubts on Overhaul

Wall Street Journal health blog
Aug. 18, 2009


Analysis of recent poll on overhaul of the health care system.


End-of-Life Issues Need to Be Addressed

The New York Times
Aug. 19


Columnist Jane Brody writes that one issue has received short shrift in the health reform debate but has the potential to save billions of dollars and untold suffering if it is effectively addressed: futile treatments at or near the end of life.




Hospital Finances Rebounding

HealthLeaders Media

Aug. 19, 2009


Many of the nation's hospitals have made impressive financial and operational turnarounds in the first quarter of 2009, apparently reversing troubling trends that only months earlier had placed a considerable portion of the sector in red ink, according to a new Thomson Reuters study released today.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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