December 14, 2009

December 14: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

New Head at Mayo Clinic

Dr. John Noseworthy is Mayo's new President and CEO.  We talk with him about the Mayo system and his thoughts on reform ideas coming out of Congress.


TPT Almanac, 12/11/09


Health reforms may not be enough to change bad habits

Americans are unfit, unhealthy and costing the nation billions of dollars to treat illnesses that could easily be prevented. And health experts believe it's only going to get worse…


Some public-health experts believe that directly tying wellness to a patient's wallet could entice them to improve their overall health. "I think the real incentive for people to embrace a healthful lifestyle is to help get money in their pockets," said Dr. Douglas Wood, chairman of the division of health-care policy and research at the Mayo Clinic. "The question is, how many of them would actually participate?"


Arizona Republic  by Ginger Rough, 12/13/09


Mayo Clinic blasts idea of Medicare expansion

Mayo Clinic leaders on Friday attacked a proposal to expand Medicare as part of the Senate's health care reform plan, warning it could lead to $600 million in losses for the clinic and would "be bad for the citizens of this country."


Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy said lost revenue would total $1.4 billion, if you include the clinic's existing Medicare losses due to low reimbursement rates. He added that Medicare has a track record of failing to control costs, and its payment system rewards volume of care instead of value.


"To grow the public plan that is already crumbling will be bad for citizens of this country," he said.


Post-Bulletin by Heather Carlson, 12/11/09


Local medical providers say health care reform compromise would burden hospitals

A health care reform bill compromise that would expand Medicare coverage to more Americans would be devastating if Medicare reimbursement rates remain at their current levels, local and state health care providers say…


Mayo Clinic's Health Policy Center reacted quickly to the compromise, saying the plan would be the "financial ruin of hospitals and doctors across the country."


Rapid City Journal by Lynn Taylor Rick, 12/12/09


Additional Mayo Clinic health care reform coverage: Washington Times, FOX News, National Review, Galen Institute, The Atlantic, The Hill, RACE 4 2012 Blog, New Yorker, NY Times



Top stories


Two Senators Doubt Medicare Compromise

The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 14, 2009


Sens. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) on Sunday voiced strong doubts about the Medicare proposal, which would allow individuals as young as 55 to buy into the program.


Related: Lieberman Rules Out Voting for Health Bill, The New York Times

Lieberman and Nelson: Public Option Compromise Still Not Good Enough, The Hill


Disputes Threaten '09 Passage of Health Bill

The Washington Post

Dec. 14, 2009

The next 48 hours will be critical to the fate of health-care reform in the Senate, as Democratic leaders struggle to settle disputes that stand in the way of holding a final vote this year on the massive package.

Obama, Democrats Waiting for Nelson on Health Care
AP/The Washington Post
Dec. 14, 2009

Sen. Ben Nelson is the Democrat making everybody wait for the answer to the burning Washington question: Will he be the last vote that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gets to advance President Barack Obama's health care remake?

Wellness/Chronic Care


Poor Being Turned Away From Free Cancer Screenings

AP/Yahoo News
Dec. 12, 2009


As the economy falters and more people go without health insurance, low-income women in at least 20 states are being turned away or put on long waiting lists for free cancer screenings, according to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.


State news


N. J. Targets Doctor-Drugmaker Ties

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Dec. 14, 2009


New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram has recommended banning doctors licensed in the state from accepting gifts that don't directly benefit their patients, and requiring them to report consulting fees greater than $200. New Jersey has one of the nation's largest concentrations of pharmaceutical firms, and Milgram said she hoped the proposed rules would provide a model for other states.


Reform efforts


A Savings Mirage on Health Care

The Washington Post
Dec. 13, 2009


We are witnessing a determined counterattack by the Obama administration and its political allies on the matter of health-care costs.


Some Savings in Senate Reform Bill are Unrealistic, Says CMS Actuary
HealthLeaders Media
Dec. 11, 2009


By 2019, the number of uninsured could be reduced from an estimated 57 million to 24 million under the current Senate healthcare reform bill. However, the accompanying additional demand for services that would accompany this expansion would be difficult to meet initially with existing health provider resources—leading to "price increases, cost-shifting and/or changes in providers' willingness to treat patients with low-reimbursement health coverage," according to a Dec. 10 memo compiled by Richard Foster, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) chief actuary. Click here to read the memo.


Medicare for 50-Somethings?

The New York Times

Dec. 10, 2009

Does allowing people over 55 to buy into the Medicare program at subsidized rates make sense as a way to protect the “near elderly,” especially as these baby boomers lose their health care along with their jobs? Or is it a back-door attempt at providing a public option that is unaffordable and adds further risks to Medicare’s fiscal viability? The experts weigh in:

Medicare 'Buy-In': A Bargain or Burden?
USA Today
Dec. 13, 2009

Buying into Medicare at 55 — an option that may be added to the Senate's plan to revamp the health care system — might not be such a bargain.

Don't Undermine Providers
USA Today
Dec. 14, 2009

Richard J. Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, writes that expanding Medicare threatens hospitals’ ability to deliver services.

Medicare Cuts Could Hurt Hospitals, Expert Warns
The Washington Post
Dec. 12, 2009

A Senate plan to cut Medicare to pay for an overhaul of the health system would threaten the profitability of roughly one in five hospitals and nursing homes over the next decade, according to an analysis by Rick Foster, chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Nine Experts Weigh In On Plan To Replace Public Option In Health Bill  

Kaiser Health News
Dec. 14, 2009


Kaiser Health News staff writers asked nine health policy experts if a spinoff of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, which is the health insurance coverage for eight million federal workers and their families, as well as members of Congress, help some of the country's uninsured. With responses from Robert Moffit, the Heritage Foundation; Jacob Hacker, Yale University; Gail Wilensky, Project HOPE; Jonathan Gruber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute; Joseph Antos, the American Enterprise Institute; Frank McArdle, Hewitt Associates LLC; Marilyn Moon, American Institutes for Research; and Michael Tanner, Cato Institute.


Long-Term Care Stirs Health Care Debate

The New York Times
Dec. 14, 2009


A new insurance program would help people with severe disabilities, though the benefits could also be used to help pay for nursing homes or assisted living.


Mayo CEO Joins ASU to Lead Health Care Policy Program

ASU News
Dec. 8, 2009


Denis Cortese, M.D., will lead the ASU Health Care Delivery and Policy Program that is focused on facilitating and promoting a sustainable U.S. health care delivery system that produces high value health care for all citizens.




Small Business Wished for Reform, but Not This

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Dec. 14, 2009

Small business owners fear bigger insurance bills and government penalties if they don't play along with expanded health care coverage.



A Breath of Fresh Air for Health Care

The New York Times

Dec. 13, 2009


Kaiser Permanente’s collaborative, institution-wide effort known as KP Innovation could revolutionize health care for the whole industry.


Primary Care Shortages Hitting Communities Hard

Dec. 11, 2009


Five years ago, roughly half the doctors leaving medical school entered the work force as primary-care physicians; just 20 percent of current medical students are planning to work in primary care.


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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