November 5, 2009

November 5: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Franken's second floor speech is on health care

In his second speech from the Senate floor, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pushed for health care reform on Tuesday.


“We have dedicated, smart doctors and nurses and researchers and health professionals in this country.  They do amazing things.  And if you’re a member of the Saudi Royal family, you get on your private jet and come to my state for the best health care in the world,” Franken said. “The Saudi Royal Family is willing to travel 7,500 miles to Rochester, Minnesota, to get great care at the Mayo Clinic.  For a woman in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and her adult son, both with diabetes, that same great care is less than 300 miles away... but it’s really a world away.


MinnPost by Cynthia Dizikes, 11/4/09



Mayo's Cortese stays focused on health

The departing national CEO of Mayo Clinic does not plan to rest on his laurels when he retires later this month.


Instead, he has accepted an appointment as professor at the University of Arizona, and plans a renewed commitment to health care.  


Dr. Denis Cortese says he will teach in the business and engineering schools at the university after he retires, according to Mayo Today magazine, a publication sent to Mayo staff and family members.  


"I will be working to establish a center for health care delivery and health care policy, which will include bioinformatics, novel diagnostics, personalized medicine, the science of health care delivery and nursing," Cortese told the magazine.


Post-Bulletin by Jeff Hansel, 11/4/09


Top stories


Budget Monitor Says G.O.P. Bill Leaves Many Uninsured

The New York Times
Nov. 4, 2009


The Congressional Budget Office said on Wednesday that an alternative health care bill put forward by House Republicans would have little impact in extending health benefits to the roughly 30 million uninsured Americans, but would reduce average insurance premium costs for people who have coverage. Related:

Budget Analysts Say GOP Bill Would do Little to Expand Health Insurance Coverage, The Washington Post

Read the CBO’s estimate of H.R. 3962, Affordable Health Care for America Act.

House Expected to Vote on Health Bill Saturday
The Washington Post
Nov. 5, 2009

House leaders put in motion the machinery to hold a rare Saturday vote on the most far-reaching expansion of the health-care system in more than 40 years. Related:
House Democrats Push for Saturday Health Vote, The Wall Street Journal

CBO Releases Cost Estimate on House Doc Fix
Nov. 4, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the House plan to prevent cuts to doctors' Medicare reimbursement rates would cost $210 billion over 10 years. Read the full report here.

As Bill Heads for Floor Vote, AARP Ready to Endorse Health Care Overhaul
AP/The Boston Globe
Nov. 5, 2009

In a coup for House Democrats, AARP will endorse sweeping health care overhaul legislation headed for a history-making floor vote, officials told the Associated Press yesterday.



More employers Turning to United Healthcare's Diabetes Health Plan

Fierce HealthCare

Nov. 4, 2009


Employers are signing up for a first-of-its-kind health plan by UnitedHealthcare designed to help control the escalating costs of insuring diabetic and pre-diabetic employees and their families while improving their health. 



FDA Seeks to Reduce Drug Dosage Errors

The Los Angeles Times
Nov. 5, 2009


In an attempt to reduce the deaths and serious health problems caused by misuse of medication, the Food and Drug Administration is trying to identify the most serious threats and find ways to avoid them.


State news


Sanford, MeritCare Merger Creates Giant Health System in the Dakotas

HealthLeaders Media

Nov. 2, 2009


South Dakota-based Sanford Health and North Dakota-based MeritCare Health System wrapped up months of negotiations today and formally announced that they have merged to become one of the nation's largest, nonprofit, integrated rural healthcare systems.


Reform efforts


Dr. Brent James Will Make It Better

The New York Times Magazine

Nov. 3, 2009


Economics columnist David Leonhardt poses one of the more disturbing questions of the health care debate: If politicians cannot fix America’s fragmented, ailing health care system, who will? Physicians have reshaped medicine in the past, Mr. Leonhardt argues, and a few – like Dr. Brent James, chief quality officer of Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City – already are leading the way to the future.


Abortion Deal in Health Bill Sets Off Haggling in Congress

The New York Times
Nov. 4, 2009


House Democratic leaders struggled Wednesday to strike a deal that would restrict the use of federal money to pay for abortions under sweeping health care legislation headed for debate on the House floor this week.


Public’s View of Health Care Overhaul Has Familiar Ring

The Boston Globe
Nov. 5, 2009


Americans’ opinion of the health care proposals now before Congress is eerily similar to public sentiment about the Clinton health reform initiatives in 1994, according to an analysis published online yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine - and that may not bode well for Democrats.


Health Information Technology


WebMD Founder Plans New Medical Site
The Atlanta Journal Constitution
Nov. 4, 2009


During the Web boom of the late '90s, Jeff Arnold created WebMD, a portal of health information for consumers and the medical community. Now Arnold has created Sharecare, a Web-based health information platform he hopes will be more intuitive and useful than WebMD.




Expanding the Primary Care Workforce

Center for American Progress

Nov. 4, 2009


Another organization, the Center for American Progress, has published a set of recommendations on how to boost the supply of primary-care physicians.


Dying In a Hospital Costs More than Surviving an Inpatient Stay

HealthLeaders Media
Nov. 5, 2009


If anyone needs more evidence that healthcare spending is concentrated at the end of life, here's another raft of confirming statistics from the federal government for 2007.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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