November 4, 2009

November 4: Health Care Reform Coverage

By Kelley Luckstein

Top stories


House Releases Final Bill--Vote Possible by Weekend

The Washington Post
Nov. 4, 2009


House leaders released the final version of their nearly 2,000-page health package late Tuesday, Nov. 3, clearing the way for a vote by the full chamber as soon as the weekend. Click here to read the bill.


G.O.P. Counters With a Health Plan of Its Own

The New York Times
Nov. 3, 2009


House Republicans have come up with an answer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, drafting an alternative health care bill that would reward states for reducing the number of uninsured, limit damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and allow small businesses to band together and buy insurance exempt from most state regulation. Click here to read the bill. Click here to read the NYT’s outline of the bill.


Health Bills Too Timid on Cutting Costs, Experts Say

The Washington Post
Nov. 4, 2009


Democrats in Congress are embracing the spirit of President Obama's call to slow the runaway rise of health-care costs but are shying away from some of the most aggressive techniques for achieving that. Instead of revolutionizing how care is delivered and paid for, experts say, the legislation being shaped takes a cautious approach to reining in costs.


Democrats See Health-Care Timetable Slipping

The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 4, 2009


Time is running short for Congress to deliver a health bill to President Barack Obama before the end of the year, prompting lawmakers to prepare for the debate to carry into 2010.




Insurance Discounts for Healthy Habits Spur Debate in Washington

The Los Angeles Times

Nov. 4, 2009


Some companies are charging lower insurance premiums to workers who meet benchmarks for healthy living, and the Senate's healthcare overhaul legislation would expand the trend. But some patient advocacy and health groups are worried that it could mean higher rates for less-fit Americans, possibly pricing them out of their employers' insurance plans.


Harkin Asks Big Health Insurers to Explain Their Rate Practices

The Des Moines Register
Nov. 4, 2009


Sen. Tom Harkin said Tuesday he was launching an investigation into health insurance pricing, asking four major insurers to justify their pricing practices.




Health Bills Aim a Light on Doctors’ Conflicts

The New York times
Nov. 4, 2009


As part of the health care overhaul under consideration by Congress, lawmakers have included so-called sunshine provisions intended to shed light on the financial relationships between the medical industry and doctors.

Wellness/Chronic Care


Premature Births Are Fueling Higher Rates of Infant Mortality in U.S., Report Says

The New York Times

Nov. 4, 2009


High rates of premature birth are the main reason the United States has higher infant mortality than do many other rich countries, government researchers reported Tuesday in their first detailed analysis of a longstanding problem.

 State news


Mass: Children’s Hospital, 3 Health Plans Push Cost-Control Effort

The Boston Globe

Nov. 4, 2009


Children's Hospital Boston has agreed to limit increases in fees it charges Massachusetts' major health insurers next year as part of a larger push to control the rise in pediatric healthcare costs. In exchange, the three health plans—Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Tufts Health Plan—along with the state's Medicaid program, will contribute a portion of their savings, about $10 million in total, to a fund that will enable Children's Hospital to accelerate pilot programs aimed at providing better care at lower costs.




Experts Favor Broad Medicare Reforms to Control Costs and Foster Health Care Innovations, Survey Says

The Commonwealth Fund
Nov. 2, 2009


A vast majority of leaders in health care and health policy believe Medicare has been successful in providing access to care and stable coverage to the elderly and disabled individuals; however only a small percentage think the program has realized its potential to achieve other important goals, like using its leverage as the country's largest purchaser of services to control costs and promote a high performance health system.


Reform efforts


Health Care Debate Focuses on Legal Immigrants

The New York Times
Nov. 4, 2009

The debate over health care for illegal immigrants continues to percolate in Congress despite the Obama administration’s efforts to put it to rest, with lawmakers in both houses also wrangling over how much coverage to provide for immigrants who have settled in the country legally.

Senate Moderates Flex Muscle on Health-Care Bill

The Washington Post

Nov. 4, 2009

Moderate lawmakers are exerting their outsize influence in the divided Senate to secure changes to health-care reform legislation, potentially adding more delays to a bill that has already missed several announced deadlines.

Live Webcast: Is the Health Care System Ready for Health Reform?

Kaiser Family Foundation

Nov. 4, 2009, 1 p.m. ET


The Kaiser Family Foundation will present a live webcast examining how ready the health care system is for the influx of newly covered individuals that health reform aims to deliver. Panelists will include Louis Sullivan, MD, president emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine and former secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Alan Weil, JD, MPP, executive director, National Academy for State Health Policy  and president, Center for Health Policy Development; and Candice Chen, MD MPH, assistant professor of Pediatrics, Department of Health Policy, George Washington University.


Health Information Technology


VA a Leader in Electronic Records

The Lawrence Journal-World
Nov. 4, 2009


The Veterans Health Administration was at the avant-garde of electronic medical records in the 1980s, and more recently, it's blazed the trail for exchanging health information between providers.



Electronic cigarettes not a safe alternative

Debbie Mooney pestered her aunt for months to switch from regular cigarettes to the electronic, smokeless version. This way, Mooney reasoned, her aunt could still receive the nicotine she craved without exposing her family to the dangers of secondhand smoke.


These include the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Legacy Foundation, Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, and Dr. Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic.


Herald-News by Denise Baran-Unland, 11/4/09

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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