September 2, 2009

September 2: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Top stories


After a Bruising August, Time for Obama Team to Regroup

The Washington Post

Sept. 2, 2009


What will the White House do to push Congress after recess to deliver on health-care reform?


Baucus-Grassley Bipartisan Partnership Frays Under Health Reform Pressures

Kaiser Health News

Sept. 2, 2009


As Congress returns to work next week, the partnership between Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Charles Grassley has frayed around the edges.

Conservative Democrats Expect a Health Deal
The New York Times
Sept. 1, 2009

Even after the tough town-hall-style meetings, unrelenting Republican assaults and a steady stream of questions from anxious voters, interviews with more than a dozen Blue Dogs and their top aides indicate that many of the lawmakers still believe approval of some form of health care plan is achievable and far preferable to not acting at all.

How to Stop Rising Healthcare Costs
HealthLeaders Media

Sept. 2, 2009

President Obama and Congress should use more aggressive reforms that will slow spending growth while improving quality, say a group of 10 national health policy experts — including Joseph Antos, PhD, David Cutler, PhD, Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Elizabeth McGlynn, PhD, and Stephen Shortell, PhD.  Click here to read the group’s report (from the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).



Health Insurers Set Up Shop at a Mall Near You
The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 2, 2009


Insurers are increasingly setting up retail stores that peddle individual and sometimes small-group health plans, and companies such as Humana Inc., Aetna Inc. and Health Net Inc. have tried the concept.




Study: Surgeon Experience Doesn’t Impact Patient Deaths

The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 2, 2009


Whether a trauma surgeon is a novice or experienced makes no difference on patients’ likelihood of survival, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Surgery. Instead, it appears that the overall system of care is more important. Elliott Haut, the first author of the study and an assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, discusses the findings.


State news


Health Reform Lessons From Massachusetts

Kaiser Family Foundation
Sept. 2, 2009


As Congress debates comprehensive national health reform,  the Kaiser Family Foundation has two reports and an updated fact sheet that examine state-level health reform in Massachusetts and the lessons it offers for policymakers in Washington.


Reform efforts


Obama May Get More Specific About Health Overhaul

The Washington Post
Sept. 2, 2009


President Barack Obama has talked a lot about health care lately, but some allies say he has been too vague. Now he's thinking of throwing more details and personal weight into the debate, which polls indicate Republicans have been winning in recent weeks.



Obama Plans More Direct Push on Health Overhaul, The New York Times

Under Fire, President Obama Shifts Strategy, Politico
Democrats Try Tougher Tone on Health Plan, The Wall Street Journal

Health Overhaul May Ride On Tactic
The Boston Globe
Sept. 2, 2009

With bipartisan efforts to pass a health care bill sputtering, Democrats are increasingly looking at Plan B: a politically risky, last-ditch “nuclear option’’ designed to ram their proposals through over the objections of the other party.

GOP Readies Wave of Objections to Stall Healthcare Bill in Senate
The Hill
Sept. 2, 2009

Sen. Judd Gregg has hundreds of procedural objections ready for a healthcare plan Democrats want to speed through the Senate.

Republican Senator Calls for Only Incremental Health Care Changes
The New York Times
Sept. 1, 2009

Incremental is the watchword for health care changes, as far as Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is concerned.

Taking Doctors' Profits Out Of Medical Care Decisions
Sept. 2, 2009

The more procedures doctors perform, the more they get paid. The health industry calls this practice "fee for service." Many consider it a perverse system — one that lacks incentives to hold down costs. Yet the legislation pending before Congress may not do enough to change it.

AFL-CIO: Gov't Option an Absolute Must
Sept. 2, 2009

Democratic lawmakers will not be able to count on the AFL-CIO's support if they drop the public insurance option from the health care reform legislation, union officials said Tuesday.

Health Care Push Revives Tort Reform Debate
The National Journal
Sept. 1, 2009

It's almost universally agreed that the threat of lawsuits hangs over doctors and has led to more tests and costs, but wholesale reform of the tort system is viewed by many observers as too big -- or too divisive -- a step without enough of a payoff.

Talking Cure

Sept. 2, 2009


Has Obama failed to sell health care reform? Or are Americans just not in the mood to buy?


Health Care Lobbyists Boost Key Players in Debate

USA Today
Sept. 2, 2009


Health care sector contributions to lawmakers on the committees overseeing the massive change to the nation's health care system are on the upswing — rising 8% between the first and second quarter of the year, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.




Company Wellness Programs Improve Health, Cut Costs


Sept. 1, 2009


CNN reports on Quest Diagnostics' wellness program.


Small Businesses Back Overhaul of Health Care

San Francisco Chronicle
Sept. 2, 2009

A solid majority - 61 percent of 700 California small businesses that participated in a survey released Tuesday - said health care reform is needed now to get the economy on track. Of the 55 percent of businesses in the random poll that said they do not provide health coverage, 86 percent cited high cost as the reason.

Union: GM Agrees to Pay $50M More for Delphi Retiree Health Care
The Detroit News
Sept. 1, 2009


General Motors Co. has agreed to pay another $50 million to fund health benefits to nearly 50,000 hourly retirees and dependents at Delphi Corp. who were represented by the IUE-CWA and other smaller unions, union officials said today.


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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