November 9, 2009

November 9: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Kline: Democrats spend too much, accomplish too little

Our nation is at a crossroads. The course we chart now will forever transform our health care system and send ripples through our economy, our communities, and our homes.


Down one path, we see $1.3 trillion in new government mandates, bureaucratic red tape, and stifling tax increases. On the other, we see a package of targeted reforms aimed at solving our most pressing challenges in a way our nation can afford.  


Features of our current system work well, as any cancer survivor or transplant recipient can attest. America is home to the greatest medical innovation in the world, much of it taking place at the Mayo Clinic right here in our own backyard.


Post-Bulletin, by Rep. John Kline, 11/6/09



Maybe a New Day for Doctors’ Pay

EVEN without a robust public option, any of the health care reform bills now under consideration would expand coverage greatly. But they would also start a competitive dynamic that would eliminate the fundamental conflict of interest that has made American health care so expensive…


The good news is that Dr. Gawande also identifies at least some health plans, like that of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, that have sidestepped the incentive problem by putting doctors on salary and operating their own hospitals But that raises a puzzling question: If the Mayo model is better and cheaper, why hasn’t it swept the market like wildfire?


NY Times by Robert Frank, 11/7/09


Top stories


House Democrats Pass Health-Care Bill

The Washington Post

Nov. 8, 2009

Hours after President Obama exhorted Democratic lawmakers to "answer the call of history," the House hit an unprecedented milestone on the path to health-care reform, approving a trillion-dollar package late Saturday that seeks to overhaul private insurance practices and guarantee comprehensive and affordable coverage to almost every American.

Related: Sweeping Health Care Plan Passes House, The New York Times
Obama’s Statement on House Health Bill, The New York Times


Obama Presses Senate to Act Quickly on Its Health Bill

The New York Times

Nov. 9, 2009


The White House, growing concerned that the Congressional timetable for passing a health care overhaul could slip into next year, is stepping up pressure on the Senate for quick action, with President Obama appearing Sunday in the Rose Garden to call on senators to “take up the baton and bring this effort to the finish line.”


Unhappy Docs Push AMA to Drop Support for House Health Bill

The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 9, 2009


A battle is brewing in Houston today as the American Medical Association considers whether to rescind the support it gave last week to the health-overhaul bill that passed the House on Saturday night.




Wider Oversight Looms for Insurers

The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 8, 2009


The House health-care bill would repeal an exemption from federal antitrust oversight that the health-insurance industry has enjoyed for decades, but the move alone might not make local insurance markets more competitive


Wellness/Chronic Care


Screening: Many Doctors Do Unneeded Pap Smears, Study Finds

The New York Times

Nov. 9, 2009

Many doctors are performing unnecessary Pap smears, ignoring guidelines issued by major medical organizations and adding to health care costs, a survey of physicians has found.

State news

Finding Hope for Health Care in Colorado


Nov. 4, 2009


Grand Junction, Co., a city of 120,000 people halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City, boasts what these days is a welcome distinction: It’s a place where, for the most part, health care works. NBC's Tom Brokaw reports.


Health Care Reform Debate in Critical Condition

Illinois State Medical Association


ISMS has launched a statewide effort to educate Illinois patients on the urgent need to advance health system reform legislation that ensures continued patient access to medical care. This open letter to patients is slated to appear in major newspapers around the state.


Ohio State Medical Association Opposes House Health Care Bill

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Nov. 4, 2009


A number of Ohio doctors cheer the health reform package working its way rapidly through the U.S. House of Representatives, but the largest group of Ohio physicians did the opposite on Wednesday.


Will Washington State's Experiment Work For The Nation?

Nov. 7, 2009


For two decades, Washington state has been trying out the "basic health plan," and a version of it is included in the Senate Finance Committee's bill. The idea is to let the state negotiate directly with insurance companies to come up with affordable insurance plans. How well has Washington's system worked?

Reform efforts


Comparing the Health Care Proposals

The New York Times
Nov. 8, 2009


Lawmakers in the House voted 220 to 215 on Nov. 7 to approve a sweeping overhaul of the nation's healthcare system. Senate Democrats are still working to merge bills from two committees. Here, the New York Times provides a look at how the measures compare on some key issues.


Abortion an Obstacle to Health-Care Bill

The Washington Post

Nov. 8, 2009

President Obama and Senate Democrats sought on Sunday to generate momentum from the House's passage of health-care legislation, even as a new hurdle emerged: profound dismay among abortion-rights supporters over antiabortion provisions inserted into the House bill.

Medical Industry Grumbles, but It Stands to Gain

The New York Times
Nov. 9, 2009


As attention now shifts to the Senate, where Democratic leaders are trying to merge two bills into one, virtually every business group with a stake in the outcome will be hoping to strike at least a slightly better deal than they found in the House version.


All eyes on Sen. Harry Reid

Nov. 9, 2009


As health reform shifts back to the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing dissent from fellow Democrats worried that he has no final bill, no Democratic consensus on the way ahead and no guarantee he’ll finish by year’s end.


Anh 'Joseph' Cao Jolts House


Nov. 9, 2009


The Louisiana congressman hands Democrats their only Republican vote on health care reform.


Health Policy Experts Review The House Vote

Kaiser Health News
Nov. 9, 2009

Health policy experts hold different views on Saturday's House overhaul vote. Kaiser Health News collected some of their responses:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: The House Bill Could Have Been Avoided
Jonathan Cohn:
The House Bill is a Great Start
Robert Laszewski: Loading More People Onto the Titanic
Karen Pollitz: From Now On, We're All in This Together


American Health Reform: Back From the Dead

The Economist

Oct. 29, 2009


While public plans could do some good, in the context of America’s health system they could also do damage.


Questioning the Reform Agenda (PDF)

Managed Care
October 2009


An interview with Richard “Buz” Cooper, M.D., professor of Medicine and senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.


Remarks by the President on the Announcements by AARP and AMA (see attached)
The White House
Nov. 5, 2009


Text of President Obama’s Nov. 5 remarks in response to the support of the AARP and AMA for the House health insurance reform bill.




Small Business Crunches Numbers

The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 9, 2009


Small business has fought the health-care bill as too costly. That made Saturday's vote bitter to many of the nation's roughly 30 million such entrepreneurs, if welcome to some.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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