October 6, 2009

October 6: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Health-Care Secret Revealed, Again: More Is Not Better

If there’s any way out of our current health-care morass, it’s this: In health care, more expensive care is often no better than less expensive care. We were reminded of this fact by a front-page story in this morning’s WSJ, which points out that Pennsylvania is the rare state that requires hospitals to publicly report a wide range of data — and those data show hospitals with good outcomes are often cheaper than hospitals with bad outcomes are often cheaper than hospitals with bad outcomes, even after you adjust for the patient mix.


As we noted last year, Wyoming coal companies figured out that they could save money by sending their workers to fancy facilities like the Mayo Clinic.


Wall Street Journal (Health Blog) by Jacob Goldstein, 10/6/09



Accountable Care Organizations -- Realistically Speaking

Today, most doctors still operate in small group practices. Yet, major congressional health reform bills are counting on doctors to significantly change their business model. They hold up large, integrated health care systems like the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic, both of which employ doctors, as models.


Panel response: Dr. Denis Cortese responds to the post – “If we are to significantly reform health care in the United States to deliver better value (better outcomes, safety and service to patients at a lower cost), it is imperative that the health care delivery system change to become integrated and coordinated…”


National Journal (Expert Blogs), 10/5/09



Top stories


Vote on Key Health Bill Delayed for Cost Report

The Washington Post

Oct. 6, 2009

Senators learned Monday that a committee vote on health-care reform will be pushed back to later this week, and perhaps into next week, as they await an estimate on how much the overhaul would cost.

Obama Reaches Past Congress for Health Care Support

The New York Times

Oct. 6, 2009


The administration has opened a new front reminiscent of one that helped carry the day for its stimulus plan.


In Debate on Health, It’s Coverage vs. Cost

The New York Times

Oct. 6, 2009


Democrats want people to pay affordable prices for health insurance, but want those policies to offer comprehensive benefits — goals that are colliding in Congress.





Health Insurance Exchanges: Will They Work?

The New York Times

Oct. 6, 2009


Critics worry that big insurers may shun the exchanges or that consumers will not be able to afford what is offered.


Related: To Be Effective, Exchanges Need Bargaining Power, Kaiser Health News/The New Republic


Wellness/Chronic Care


U.S. Losing Ground on Preventable Deaths

The Washington Post

Oct. 6, 2009


When it comes to "preventable deaths" -- an array of illnesses and injuries that should not kill at an early age -- the United States trails other industrialized nations and has been falling further behind over the past decade.


Income, Zip Code, Education Seen as Good Indicator of Health


Oct. 5, 2009


As critical as the insurance debate is, public health researchers will tell you that there are several others factors that have an even bigger effect on your health.


State news


One State’s Solution May Not Be a Model for the Nation

The New York Times
Oct. 6, 2009

Utah is only the second state to develop its own insurance exchange, and it is distinctly different from its better-known counterpart in Massachusetts. It is also unlike anything currently envisioned in Congress.

Reform efforts


House Feels Left Out on Health Care

Oct. 6, 2009

As the Senate Finance Committee slogged through amendments to a high-stakes health care bill last week and basked in the media spotlight, House Democrats were quietly contemplating a troubling question. When it comes to health care, does the House even matter?

Surrounded by Doctors, Obama Pitches Overhaul


Oct. 6, 2009


On the cusp of a key legislative push, President Barack Obama on Monday filled the Rose Garden with doctors supportive of his health care overhaul, saying "nobody has more credibility with the American people on this issue than you do."


Related: Doctors Pitch Health Reform, Politico

Insurers Fight Bid to Ease Penalties in Health Bill

The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 6, 2009


Hospitals and insurance companies are pushing back against changes to the latest Senate health-care bill that ease the penalties for Americans who don't carry health insurance.


Health Information Technology


A New Web Tool to Take Control of Your Health

The New York Times
Oct. 6, 2009


A start-up company led by Adam Bosworth, former head of the Google Health team, plans to become the newest entrant to the online consumer health business. Keas Inc., will try to combine advanced Web and database technologies so it can personalize health education.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy

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