October 9, 2009

October 9: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

A Team of Doctors Will See You Now

In the national discussion taking place about health care, two premier medical centers are repeatedly brought upteam-of-doctors as positive examples of how to deliver care more efficiently while still cutting costs and eliminating waste--the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic. Both share an approach that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has referred to as "advanced primary care."Most medical experts have a cozier name for it: the "medical home."...


In addition to the Mayo and Cleveland clinics, the medical-home model is coming to practices nationwide. Private insurers such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, CIGNA, and Aetna are currently testing versions of it, as are integrated health systems such as Geisinger, Kaiser Permanente, and Group Health. Last month, Secretary Sebelius announced the launch of a large demonstration program by Medicare and Medicaid that involves practices around the country.


Parade Magazine by Dr. Rinit Mishori, 10/11/09



Lesson 4: Hospitals Need Encouragement To Adopt Integrated Care

America's top hospitals say that one of the best ways to make care more efficient is to force doctors to work together rather than as a network of specialized independent contractors. But while these hospitals agree on the ends, their means differ, making it difficult for lawmakers to point to just one model on which to base health care reform legislation.


Instead, the health care bills currently circulating simply allow for more study of what are called "accountable care organizations," loosely defined as an ad hoc group of doctors who agree to work and get paid as a team…


At the Mayo Clinic, doctors use a "coordinated care model," where a patient's well-being is arranged through one primary doctor. Dr. Doug Wood, chairman of the health care policy and research division, recalls that for one patient he arranged a stress test, a gastric consultation and an appointment with a diabetes specialist and started a discussion with a cardiac surgeon about a bypass operation -- all in one appointment.


National Journal by Jason Plautz, 10/8/09


Democrats Against Tax Hikes in Health Care Bill

Host Neil Cavuto speaks with Senator Amy Klobuchar


Cavuto:…we are getting a little bit more details through this CBO report that is out. the CBO is saying that this would reduce the federal budget deficits by about $81 billion over the 2010 through 2019 period. This estimate does include about $518 billion over 10 years of the proposed expansions in insurance coverage and the added costs. Remember, if you have premium coverage, they are going to tax that at up to 40 percent…


Klobuchar: the Senate has been focused from the beginning on cost reductions. Certainly, being from Minnesota, which is a low-cost, high-quality health care state, with the Mayo Clinic, that has been my focus from the beginning. How can we get that high-quality care, but still bring some of these costs down? And so it is good news that it scores an $80 billion savings over 10 years. That`s for sure.


Fox News by Neil Cavuto 10/8/09




Health Industry Concerned about Reform Measures

The Washington Post

October 9, 2009

The industry heavyweights President Obama neutralized through the summer are agitating that the health care bills in Congress violate agreements they made with the White House, leave 25 million Americans uninsured and have the potential to increase medical costs.

Opt-Out Public Option Being “Very Seriously Considered”

The Huffington Post

October 8, 2009


A health care compromise that would establish a national public option for insurance coverage that individual states could opt out of, is being "very seriously considered" by Senate Democrats.

The Baucus Conundrum

The New York Times - Op-Ed - David Brooks

October 8, 2009


“We need to move toward a more transparent system, in which people see the consequences of their choices. I’ve also become convinced that the approach championed by Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, is the best vehicle for this sort of change”. 


Health Reform Cost?  Nobody Really Knows

CNN Money

October 9, 2009


The Congressional Budget Office's preliminary analysis of the Senate Finance health reform bill is being portrayed as very good, nobody can say how reliable is the long-range forecast.

Hospitals Find Way to Make Care Better, Make It Cheaper (attached pdf.)

The Wall Street Journal

October 8, 2009



Health Bills Show Some Price Gaps

USA Today

October 9, 2009


Older Americans who buy health insurance on their own could pay nearly 50% more in premiums under the Senate Finance Committee bill compared with other versions pending in Congress, an independent study says.


House Eyes Windfall Tax on Insurers for Health Bill

The Wall Street Journal

October 9, 2009


House lawmakers are considering adding to their health overhaul bill a tax on insurance providers' windfall profits.


HMO Stocks Sink After Report Boosts Reform Bill


October 8, 2009


Shares of large health insurers slumped on Thursday as a budget report issued on a key U.S. Senate healthcare reform bill fueled investor worries that a health overhaul would gain approval.


The Democratic Health Care Bills Could Be a Disaster for the Insurance Pool

Health Policy and Marketplace Review

October 8, 2009


By 2014 the penalty for no health insurance would be $200 per adult, $400 in 2015, $600 in 2016, and $750 by 2017. Coupled with the expectation middle class families would have to pay $6,000 to $10,000 a year for insurance we could be on our way to devastating the health insurance risk pool.




GOP Raising Money from Doctors

AP Headlines

October 9, 2009

The Republican Party is harnessing the furious debate over health care to raise campaign cash from doctors, dangling the promise of including donors' names in advertising that attacks President Barack Obama's overhaul plan.


Government Orders Columbia to Tell Patients ‘True Nature’ of Drug Study

Huffington Post

October 8, 2009


Officials say research may have caused harm to people who had heart surgery.



Mayo Drops Medicaid Services for Nebraska and Montana

Star Tribune

October 9, 2009


Mayo Clinic says it will stop serving Medicaid patients from Nebraska and Montana because of low government reimbursement rates.




Aetna Dropping Some Medicare Supplement Subscribers

The Philadelphia Inquirer

October 9, 2009


Enhanced Medicare coverage for 11 million Americans age 65 and older is under some strain. Aetna Inc. has advised 8,500 area customers that it will terminate two of its Medicare Advantage plans at the end of this year. Independence Blue Cross has given the same notices to 44,000 individual subscribers.




Pelosi Criticizes Baucus Health Bill

The Hill

October 8, 2009

Speaker Pelosi, an advocate of a government-run health insurance option, is not among those praising Sen. Max Baucus for bringing his health care bill in well under President Barack Obama’s $900 billion limit. 


Health Industry Holds Fire - For Now


October 9, 2009


Democrats may still have been enjoying a good CBO buzz yesterday, but some of Washington's most powerful lobbies were hard at work addressing major concerns with the Senate Finance legislation. Doctors, insurers, hospitals and drug makers have all raised objections, but no one has freaked out yet.


Senate Health Bill Gains Momentum

The Wall Street Journal

October 9, 2009


The White House-backed drive for a health care bill picked up steam Thursday, propelled by a favorable report on its price tag and positive comments by some key players.



All Eyes are on Olympia Snowe in Health Care Debate

The Los Angeles Times

October 9, 2009


No one will be more closely watched than Olympia Snowe when the Senate Finance Committee votes next week on a bill aimed at curbing costs, improving coverage and making insurance more attainable for those without.




Decline in Growth of Prescription Drug Revenue is Forecast

The New York Times

October 8, 2009


Growth of prescription drug revenue worldwide will probably decline 4 percent to 6 percent next year, the lowest rate in at least a decade.




Health Care Costs are Crushing Small Business

The Wall Street Journal

October 9, 2009


Too much of small business money is going into high health care premiums that are increasing faster than the prices of the products and services they provide.




Associations Between Structural Capabilities of Primary Care Practices and Performance on Selected Quality Measures

The Commonwealth Fund

October 8, 2009


To improve the quality of health care, primary care practices are being encouraged to invest in tools and processes like physician performance feedback, automated reminders for patients, language interpreter services, expanded practice hours, and electronic health records. However, it is unclear whether these structural capabilities will translate into higher-quality care.





Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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