September 30, 2009

September 30: Health Care Reform Coverage

By Kelley Luckstein

Weil and Guterman: Mayo Clinic's Model

A recent Post article asked whether the Mayo Clinic's better patient-care outcomes and lower costs provide a model for the rest of the health-care system, or if it's a "a mirage."


Mayo's performance is no mirage. In fact, there are multiple examples of health systems -- the president and other policy makers also have cited Geisinger, Cleveland Clinic, Bassett, Kaiser Permanente and others as models for health-care reform -- that consistently and reliably achieve similar results: providing good care at low cost, with high patient satisfaction.


What these systems have in common is that they are integrated systems that employ their physicians, emphasizing patient-centered care, better outcomes, and prudent stewardship of health-care resources, with accountability for results. A group of these systems met in Washington earlier this month to discuss how the elements of their success could be adopted more broadly in the context of health-care reform. They concluded that comprehensive care, collaboration, integration, and measurement and accountability, as well as strong corporate leadership, were key to their success and could provide an example for other systems.


Washington Post by Henry Weil and Stuart Guterman, 09/29/09


Top stories

Senators Reject Pair of Public Option Proposals

The New York Times
Sept. 30, 2009

After an intense debate, the Senate Finance Committee rejected two Democratic proposals to create a government insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

Related coverage:

Prospects for Public Option Dim in Senate, The Washington Post

Public Plan Goes Down in Senate Health Vote, The Wall Street Journal

Senate Panel Votes Place 'Public Option' on Respirator, USA Today

Carper Floats Public Option Alternatives


Sept. 30, 2009

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is quietly talking with the Senate Democratic leadership and Finance Committee members about an alternative to both the government insurance option and the nonprofit insurance cooperative.  Related: A New Alternative to the Public Option is Emerging, Politico

Public Option Fate in Obama's Hands

Sept. 30, 2009

President Barack Obama got an early look at the depth of the Democratic divide on the government insurance option Tuesday - with Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad saying it would bankrupt North Dakota's hospitals and Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) saying it's the only way to rein in ravenous, profit-hungry private insurers. Not long from now, Obama's going to have to referee the whole thing.

Wellness/Chronic Care

More Americans Are Postponing Health Care Due to Cost, in September KFF Health Tracking Poll


Sept. 29, 2009

Between August and September 2009, many more Americans delayed health care due to cost. In August, 49% of U.S. health citizens said they were postponing care in some way owing to cost; by September, 56% of Americans said they were doing so.

State news

Mass.: New Health Plan for Immigrants Limits Network

The Boston Globe

Sept. 30, 2009

Many immigrants will no longer be able to get care from three major Boston-area healthcare networks as of Oct 1, when the state's new health plan for 31,000 legal immigrants begins.


Fight Over Medicare Cuts Intensifies

The Wall Street Journal
Sept. 30, 2009

The battle over proposed cuts to private Medicare plans is heating up, as the liberal group Americans United for Change released a Halloween-themed ad protesting what it called Republican "fear mongering" over proposed cuts in Medicare Advantage amounting to $100 billion over a decade.

GAO Report: Millions in Fraud, Drug Abuse Clogs Medicaid

USA Today

Sept. 29, 2009

As Congress debates the government's role in health care, a report out Wednesday finds that state and federal officials failed to detect millions of dollars in Medicaid prescription drug abuse.

Reform efforts

The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform: The Cost to States (PDF)

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Sept. 30, 2009

A report out today that looks at the trend lines over the next decade if reform isn't passed.

Health Policy Brief: Individual Responsibility

Health Affairs

Sept. 29, 2009

Health Affairs has released a policy brief examining whether Congress should require that most Americans have health insurance--and whether they should be subject to penalties if they don't.

All the President's Mandates: Compulsory Health Insurance Is a Government Takeover

The Cato Institute
Sept. 23, 2009

The most hazardous health reform measure before Congress is not the so-called "public option," but proposals to make health insurance compulsory via an individual or employer mandate.


Will Health-Care Reform Encourage Small Businesses to Drop Health Coverage?

The New York Times
Sept. 30, 2009

An examination of whether a mandate will motivate businesses to drop health insurance because it is cheaper to pay the penalty tax.


Health Care Abroad: Germany

The New York Times

Sept. 29, 2009

 A Q&A on health care in Germany with Uwe E. Reinhardt, a professor of health economics at Princeton University and a former president of the Association of Health Services Research. Reinhardt's research has compared health care in the United States to that in other countries, including his native Germany.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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