November 11, 2009

November 11: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

At RCTC, Walz pushes for payment reform in health care

Surrounded by doctors and nurses, 1st District Rep. Tim Walz said on Tuesday that the final health care bill inwalz Congress would have to include a strong provision aimed at changing how health care is paid for in order to win his support…


Mayo Clinic's Health Policy Center Executive Director Jeff Korsmo joined Walz and expressed the clinic's support for payment reform…"They are paid for doing more. It's not necessarily the right way to reward," Korsmo said.


Post-Bulletin by Heather Carlson, 11/10/09


Also in:

Mankato Free Press






Cleveland Clinic chief Toby Cosgrove says health reform proposals fail to reduce costs

Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the leader of the Obama-praised Cleveland Clinic, predicts that in the next four to five years Americans will demand another health reform bill because the proposals moving through Congress do little to control costs…


The House bill passed last weekend and two Senate proposals fail to make the health system more efficient, and do not do enough to help Americans get healthy, Cosgrove said during a speech at Jones Day law firm in downtown Cleveland Tuesday.


But both the Clinic's Cosgrove and Mayo's Chief Executive Dr. Denis Cortese have voiced concerns recently that current health reform proposals do little to change the fee-for-service payment system and thus little to improve efficiency in health care delivery. "They are a step in the right direction but they're not going to go far enough," said Jane Jacobs, spokeswoman for Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center…


Mayo does not endorse or oppose any of the proposals right now and Jacobs said the institution would not be as specific as Cosgrove and predict when Americans would want another round of reform.


Cleveland Plain Dealer, by Sarah Jane Tribble, 11/10/09



Premiums 'Will Go Down' Under Health Bill, Orszag Says

In an interview with Judy Woodruff, Peter Orszag, director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, outlines how health care reform will reduce medical costs.


JIM LEHRER: Next tonight: Is the push for health care reform cutting costs, as well as changing the system?

Judy Woodruff gets two sets of answers.


JUDY WOODRUFF: First, we turn to the president's point person on costs. He is Budget Director Peter Orszag.


Peter Orszag, thank you for joining us.


PETER ORSZAG, Director of Office of Management and Budget: Thanks for having me.


JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned that there are a number of reforms in this legislation. But people like the head of the Mayo Clinic say that these plans don't really adequately tackle the so-called fee-for-service system that pays doctors essentially piecemeal for the work that they do.


PETER ORSZAG: Well, if you take -- again, take the Senate Finance legislation as an example, it includes not only movements toward value-based purchasing for hospitals and paying doctors for quality, rather than quantity, but it also includes a Medicare commission, which will be a flexible way of moving towards that fee-for-value, rather than fee-for-service, system over time.


And I have had lots of discussions with Denis Cortese. I respect him a lot. But I think even he would say, up or down, Senate Finance bill, he would take it. Perhaps, you know, sitting in a think tank or somewhere else, you could always do more, but in terms of a real piece of legislation, this is moving in an important way towards delivery system reform.


PBS-News Hour by Jim Lehrer, 11/10/09


Additional Mayo Clinic health care reform coverage:

Med City News



Top stories


Reid Says Health Bill Will Be Done by Christmas

The New York Times

Nov. 10, 2009


The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Tuesday that he expected to bring major health care legislation to the floor next week and to complete work on the bill before Christmas. But other Democratic leaders said it was unlikely that a bill could reach President Obama’s desk by year’s end.


Reid Begins Procedural Moves

Nov. 10, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday took the first procedural step necessary to begin debate on the health care reform bill next week. Reid started the Rule 14 process, which essentially means the majority leader is getting into a procedural position to open debate on the bill. Reid could schedule a vote on the motion to proceed -- the crucial test vote that requires 60 senators -- as early as Tuesday. 

On Hill, Bipartisan Support Emerging For Commission To Control Health Costs

Kaiser Health News
Nov. 11, 2009


The drive on Capitol Hill to create a bipartisan entitlement and tax reform commission to help “bend the cost curve” of health spending and address mounting deficits picked up momentum yesterday, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a handful of moderate Democrats and Republicans voiced support for the effort.




Journal Editors Propose Stricter Conflict-of-Interest Disclosures

Fierce Healthcare

Nov. 10, 2009


A group of medical journal editors has proposed that the industry use a tough new conflict-of-interest disclosure form which asks authors for far more detail than is currently submitted by authors. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, which includes 12 of the leading medical journals from around the globe, would like to see their uniform disclosure form become the industry standard.


State news


‘Opt-Out’ Proposal Puts State Leaders to the Test

The New York Times
Nov. 10, 2009


In the two weeks since the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, embraced a proposal that would allow states to opt out of a new government health insurance plan, state leaders have begun debating whether to take part, and the question has emerged as a litmus test in some campaigns for governor.


Maine Finds a Health Care Fix Elusive

The New York Times

Nov. 11, 2009


Maine’s history is a cautionary tale for national health reform, as many overhauls to the system have done little more than solve one problem while worsening another.


Minnesota's Poor Being Shifted to Different Medical Plan

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Nov. 9, 2009

The Pawlenty administration, which faced criticism for proposing to eliminate a state health-care program for the indigent, has decided to transfer most of those recipients to a subsidized insurance plan for the working poor.

Reform efforts


On Hill, Bill Clinton Gives a Health-Care Pep Talk

The Washington Post

Nov. 11, 2009


Former president Bill Clinton urged Senate Democrats on Tuesday to resolve their differences with a health-care bill and pass an overhaul as soon as possible. Summoning the lessons of his own history with health-care reform, Clinton warned, "The worst thing to do is nothing."



Bill Clinton Urges Fast Action by Senate Democrats, The New York Times

Bill Clinton Presses Senators to Pass Health Bill, The Wall Street Journal


Falling Far Short of Reform

The New York Times

Nov. 11, 2009


Overhauling the health care system means making it more efficient, saving lives and giving Americans a long overdue raise. But the House bill won’t meet these goals.


GOP Tries to Recapture Town Hall Anger

Nov. 10, 2009

Republicans are looking to resurrect the angry town halls of August in the last few weeks of November. Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander said Republicans are “quietly” planning some 50 in-person and telephone town hall gatherings over the next three weeks to drum up opposition to Democratic health care bills.

Health Vote Pits Democrat vs. Democrat
Nov. 10, 2009

Democrats who thought a vote against the sweeping health care package would inoculate them from political attack are facing serious blowback from angry constituents and interest groups on the left—fierce opposition that could prove as consequential as anything Republicans could have thrown at them.

Prescription drugs


New Evidence of Pharma's Sweetheart Deal

The New Republic
Nov. 10, 2009


Critics have complained that a drug industry got a sweetheart deal when it struck a bargain with the White House and Senate Finance Committee over health care reform.


Health Information Technology


Payers Setting Own Rules for Sharing Health Information


Nov. 10, 2009


Right now, payers and providers that want to share information between them have some big problems on their hands. One of the toughest is that payers and providers may not have compatible networks or computer systems, which can make data sharing difficult or even impossible.

However, a group of 100-odd payers, trade associations and government payers (CMS and the VA) hopes to solve that problem. The group--the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH)--is setting standards for sharing electronic health data that it hopes will save time, effort and money. In fact, a study by the group has predicted that if health plans and providers adopt its rules, it could save $3 billion over three years. Click here to visit the CAQH Web site.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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