December 8, 2009

December 7: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Health Reform Could Harm Medicaid Patients

Both the House and Senate health-care reform bills call for a large increase in Medicaid—about 18 million more people will begin enrolling in Medicaid under the House bill starting in 2013, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Actuary Richard Foster estimates. We at Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) endorse efforts to improve the quality and reduce the cost of health care. But we also understand all too well the impact a dramatic expansion of Medicaid will have on us and our state—and likely the country as a whole…


the Mayo Clinic, where, as President Barack Obama notes, "people fly from all over the world to Rochester, Minnesota in order to get outstanding care," people also fly from all over the world to obtain care from JHM. But unlike those other institutions, we also serve a large number of people who can't afford cab fare to the nearest hospital: poor, disadvantaged individuals, 150,000 of whom are in our Medicaid managed-care program, Priority Partners.


Wall Street Journal, Opinion by Dr. Edward Miller, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, 12/6/09


Top stories


Obama Presses Democrats on Health-Care Bill

The Washington Post
Dec. 6, 2009


President Obama made a rare Sunday visit to the Capitol to urge a fractious Democratic caucus to pull together to pass landmark healthcare legislation.


Push for Deal on Public Health Plan

The New York Times
Dec. 6, 2009


President Obama exhorted Senate Democrats on Sunday to put aside their differences and seize their moment in history by passing landmark health legislation. But senators said he did not mention sticky issues like abortion or a new government-run insurance plan.

New Government-Run Health Proposal Eyed
The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 7, 2009

Democrats wrestled with a new proposal on a government health-insurance plan that would give private entities a central role in running the program, in a bid for compromise on one of the health bill's most divisive issues.

Team of Ten’s Goal: A Not-Quite-Public Plan
The New York Times
Dec. 6, 2009

A team of 10 senators, tapped by the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, to fashion a last-ditch deal on the public option, is now focusing on the federal employees’ plan as a blueprint for a solution.

Deals Cut With Health Groups May Be at Peril

The Washington Post

Dec. 6, 2009


Heading into a make-or-break week, Senate Democratic leaders are struggling to preserve the fragile support of interest groups for an overhaul of the nation's health-care system, even as lawmakers seek to change the carefully crafted provisions that brought the groups on board.




CDC Video Urges Patients to Insist They Witness Provider Hand-washing

HealthLeaders Media

Dec. 7, 2009


A CDC video now being shown to hospitalized patients and visitors urges them to insist they witness providers wash their hands by the bedside, even if the doctor or nurse says he or she already washed just before entering the room.


Questioning a $30,000-a-Month Cancer Drug
The New York Times
Dec. 4, 2009


Experts question the value of the expensive lymphoma drug Folotyn, which shrinks tumors but has not been shown to prolong lives.


Reform efforts


Health Reform Could Harm Medicaid Patients

The Wall Street Journal – op ed
Dec. 4, 2009

Dr. Edward Miller, dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, writes that a vast expansion of the program will impose unsustainable costs on treatment centers.

Reid's Recipe for Getting Health-Care Deal Done

The Washington Post

Dec. 4, 2009


Despite the prospect of a potentially tough 2010 reelection fight, the combative Democratic leader has assumed full ownership of a 2,074-page health-care bill that would institute the most far-reaching changes to the system in generations.


Senate to Confront Abortion in Health Care Debate

AP/Yahoo News
Dec. 7, 2009


Buoyed by a presidential pep talk and intense rounds of negotiations, Senate Democrats hope to move closer to embracing a major health care bill this week by tackling the nettlesome issue of abortion.


Testing, Testing

The New Yorker

Dec. 14, 2009 edition

Atul Gawande writes that the health-care bill has no master plan for curbing costs, instead focusing on pilot programs that will attempt to rein in costs.


Prescription drugs


Drugmakers' Support for Health Overhaul Tested

The Washington Post

Dec. 7, 2009


The pharmaceutical industry may have to cough up more than the $80 billion it agreed to contribute to President Barack Obama's health overhaul effort, reflecting pressure from Democrats and their supporters for more money to cover older and low-income people.




Small-Business Lobby Retools For Current Political Picture

CQ Politics
Dec. 5, 2009


While the National Federation of Independent Businesses came out aggressively against the Senate health care bill earlier this month, the association had been quiet up until that point, trying to negotiate on several portions of the bill to make it more favorable for small-business owners. The move has frustrated Republicans and Democrats alike, who don't understand the group’s willingness to negotiate and their hesitancy to support a bill, respectively.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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