August 24, 2009

August 20: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Great Care, Cheap

The Mayo Clinic maintains a reputation of providing some of the best medical care in the world, but it comes at a price. And that price is dramatically lower than many U.S. health programs, a situation that has drawn praise from President Obama. In 2006, Medicare spent an average $6,688 per enrollee in the Rochester, Minnesota, area where Mayo is based, according to the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The national average was $8,304—and it was thousands higher in parts of Texas and Florida. Mayo officials say the difference comes from a philosophy that takes money out of the equation, making the needs of the patient the center of all that is done there. “It’s working together with a focus on the patient,” said Jeff Korsmo, executive director of Mayo Clinic’s Health Policy Center and a former chief administrative officer for the clinic’s Rochester location.


Conde Nast Portfolio by Chris Newmarker, 08/24/09


Additional Mayo Clinic health care reform coverage:



Ukiah Daily Journal

Real Clear Politics

Albert Lea Tribune

Top stories


Senate Democrats Consider Tactic to Push Through Government Health Plan

The New York Times

Aug. 23, 2009


In the last week, Democrats have begun to talk openly of using a procedure known as budget reconciliation to pass a health bill in the Senate with a simple majority, assuming no Republican support.


Health-Bill's Pace Prompts Calls for Delay
The Wall Street Journal

Aug. 24, 2009


President Barack Obama should re-evaluate his push to overhaul the nation's health-care system and move more slowly, key senators in the debate said Sunday.


Daschle Has Ear of White House and Industry

The New York Times
Aug. 22, 2009


Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader, keeps close ties to Washington and health care industry clients.


Related: Oval Office Visit Hints at Daschle's Role, The Washington Post




Healthcare Insurers Get Upper Hand

The Los Angeles Times
Aug. 24, 2009


Lashed by liberals and threatened with more government regulation, the insurance industry nevertheless rallied its lobbying and grassroots resources so successfully in the early stages of the healthcare overhaul deliberations that it is poised to reap a financial windfall.




No Push for National Medical-Errors Database

San Francisco Chronicle

Aug. 23, 2009


While the White House acknowledges that hospital medical errors are a "a big and serious problem," a senior administration official says President Obama does not favor a mandatory reporting system for all medical mistakes, just for infections acquired in hospitals.


Physician Quality Officer Model Takes on a Successful New Look

HealthLeaders Media

Aug. 24, 2009


UMASS Memorial Medical Center's the new physician quality officer model has fostered increased engagement by the medical staff in quality improvement initiatives.


State news


Bay State Health Insurance Premiums Highest in Country

The Boston Globe

Aug. 22, 2009


Massachusetts has the most expensive family health insurance premiums in the country, according to a new analysis that highlights the state’s challenge in trying to rein in medical costs after passage of a landmark 2006 law that mandated coverage for nearly everyone.


Reform efforts


New Splits Emerge in Health-Plan Talks

The Wall Street Journal

Aug. 24, 2009


Senate Finance Committee negotiators are trying to bring down the cost of a broad health-care bill, but new splits are emerging on whether to reduce subsidies for people to buy insurance, according to Senate aides familiar with the talks


Republicans Offer Seniors Health 'Bill of Rights'

The Washington Post

Aug. 24, 2009


Republicans are targeting older Americans worried about President Barack Obama's health overhaul plans with a "seniors' health care bill of rights."


Checking In With Victor Fuchs

Kaiser Health News
Aug. 24, 2009

An interview with Victor R. Fuchs, a Stanford University Health Policy core faculty member.  Despite being a supporter of President Barack Obama, Dr. Fuchs suggests that the president and Congress are more interested in getting a reform proposal that can pass than getting a plan that will curb health costs over the long run.


Kennedy Illness Symbol in Debate

Aug. 24, 2009


Sen. Kennedy's illness sheds "light on the cost-versus-benefit questions that need more honest discussion."


Does Group Health Hold Answers in Health-Care Debate?

The Seattle Times
Aug. 24, 2009


The idea of consumer-owned health cooperatives has become a hot topic in the health overhaul debate, and The Seattle Times reports on a model for these co-ops that already exists in Seattle: Group Health Cooperative.


Analysis: Health Overhaul Tactics Need Overhaul

AP/The Washington Post

Aug. 24, 2009


President Barack Obama still may push through an overhaul of the American health care system, but political indicators point to a needed overhaul of his own tactics for selling reform.


Concern, Doubts From the Left on Obama's Health-Care Plan

The Washington Post

Aug. 24, 2009

Through most of the summer, opposition to President Obama and his health-care initiative has come almost entirely from the right. In the past week, however, the president has been trying to tamp down a noisy uprising on the left.

Insurers' Employees Counter Criticism

The Wall Street Journal
Aug. 24, 2009


The health insurance industry is sending thousands of its employees to town-hall meetings and other forums during Congress's August recess to try to counter a tide of criticism directed at the insurers.


Kaiser Health Tracking Poll—August 2009

Kaiser Family Foundation


The August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds a slim majority of Americans continues to favor moving forward on health care reform now despite an intensifying ad war and a political climate of contentious town hall meetings that coincide with rising concerns about the reform effort.


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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