January 4, 2010

January 4: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

How Hospitals Care for the Dying

Re “Weighing the Medical Costs of End-of-Life Care” (“Months to Live” series, front page, Dec. 23): As you report, the Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center has comparatively high costs for patient care…


While that may be true when the center is judged against the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., it does not explain the differences when compared with others serving indigent populations.


NY Times, Letter to the Editor, 1/2/2010



Top stories


Senate health-care bill would still leave millions uninsured

The Washington Post
Jan. 2, 2010

Even as Democrats seek the biggest expansion of health coverage in decades, as many as 23 million people could still be without insurance by 2018, illustrating the complexity of achieving the long-held Democratic goal of universal health care.



Health Insurers' Rescission Practices are Exposed to More Scrutiny

The Los Angeles Times
Jan. 2, 2010


Local prosecutors, such as city attorneys, can sue over the practice of revoking sick patients' policies, an appellate court rules.




Harvard Teaching Hospitals Cap Outside Pay

The New York Times

Jan. 3, 2010


The owner of two research hospitals affiliated with the Harvard Medical School has imposed restrictions on outside pay for two dozen senior officials who also sit on the boards of pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. The limits come in the wake of growing criticism of the ties between industry and academia.


Wellness/Chronic Care


Did Americans Get Any Healthier Over Past Decade?
AP/The Washington Post

Dec. 31, 2009

About 10 years ago the government set some lofty health goals for the nation to reach by 2010. As we move into a new decade, the government is analyzing how well the nation met the 2010 goals and drawing up a new set of goals for 2020 expected to be more numerous and - perhaps - less ambitious.

State news


Governor Calling for Federal Aid To Help Close State Budget Gap

California HealthLine

Jan. 4, 2010


Gov. Schwarzenegger and other state officials are calling on the federal government to amend Medicaid reimbursement rates and offer additional assistance to help California mend an expected budget deficit.




Program for Children Has Uncertain Future

The New York Times
Jan. 3, 2010


As Democratic Congressional leaders work to merge the House and Senate versions of major health care legislation, a big question is what they will do about the Children’s Health Insurance Program.




Mayo Clinic in Arizona to Stop Treating Some Medicare Patients

Bloomberg News
Dec. 31, 2009


The Mayo Clinic stopped accepting Medicare patients on Jan 1 at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little. More than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at a Mayo family clinic in Glendale, AZ.


Will Bundling Include Doctors? Medicare Looking for Alternative Payment Plans

American Medical News

Jan. 4, 2010


CMS is testing bundled payments to hospital-physician groups for inpatient episodes of care. Expanding to post-acute care may be the next step.


Reform efforts


Some Foes of Health-Care Bill Hope Courts Will Stop Legislation

The Washington Post

Jan. 3, 2010


A small but vocal contingent of legal scholars and many Republican lawmakers argue that the measures passed by both chambers are unconstitutional and will be ruled so by the Supreme Court. Their primary target: the individual mandate, which requires people to get health insurance or pay a financial penalty of at least 2 percent of their income to the government.


Health Care Overhaul: Critics on Left, Right Unite Against Mandate

The Chicago Tribune
Jan. 4, 2010


The mandate for near-universal coverage is generating opposition not just from libertarians but from some liberals as well -- and even from some members of the insurance industry, which stands to gain millions of new customers.


The Resurrection of Howard Dean

Jan. 3, 2010

After four relatively low-profile years pushing the official party line as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Dean is once again the tribune of frustrated liberals. And after he called out President Barack Obama and his congressional allies over their concessions on health care, those close to him predict he’s just getting warmed up.

Heat Rises on Nebraska's Nelson

The Wall Street Journal

Jan. 2, 2010

Facing an outcry at home in Nebraska for casting the critical vote in favor of a health-care overhaul, Sen. Ben Nelson has launched a new ad campaign to defend his position.



In Health Bill for Everyone, Provisions for a Few

The New York Times
Jan. 3, 2010


Early versions of the Senate’s far-reaching health care bill said that small businesses with fewer than 50 workers would not be penalized if they failed to provide insurance. That was before labor unions in the construction industry went to work and persuaded Senate leaders to insert five paragraphs.




Nursing Students Turned Away Amid Faculty Shortage

The Chicago Tribune

Jan. 3, 2010


Amid a looming shortage of nurses nationwide, Indiana nursing programs rejected about 2,500 qualified applicants because the schools didn't have the full-time faculty needed to teach them, a survey found.


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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