February 25, 2010

February 23: Health Care Reform Coverage

By Kelley Luckstein

Former Sen. Daschle offers plain talk on health care

…President Barack Obama first introduced a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year health care plan — his latest push for reform — to Americans. His plans comes days before a televised health care summit with Democrats and Republicans.


A few hours later, former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle — Obama’s former nominee for head of the Department of Health and Human Services — addressed America’s health care issues at the Kent State University Stark campus…


Daschle said the country has three health care issues — higher costs, fewer  insured and less quality of care. “Not everyone can go to the Cleveland Clinic ... or the Mayo Clinic,” he said. He said about 50 million Americans lack health insurance.


CantonRep.com, by Benjamin Duer, 2//22/2010


Top stories


Obama Stays on Offense With Health-Care Proposal

The Washington Post

Feb. 22, 2010


There had been rampant speculation that the White House would narrow its ambitions for health-care legislation after the loss of the Democrats' filibuster-proof Senate majority last month. Instead, the president's proposal is striking for the extent to which it hews to the basic scale and framework of the bills on which Congress has toiled for months.


Additional coverage:

Obama’s Health Bill Plan Largely Follows Senate Version, The New York Times

New Health Care Plan, But With the Same Old Problems, Politico

Outlook No Brighter for Obama's New Health Plan, AP

Obama Renews Health Push, The Wall Street Journal

Obama Unveils a $950B Restart on Health, USA Today




Medical Insurers Slam Proposed Supervision

The Wall Street Journal

Feb. 22, 2010


The Obama administration's proposal to create a federal body to oversee insurance premiums drew fire Monday from insurers, which contended it would do little to contain spending and could ruin some companies.


State Regulators Criticize Obama Plan To Create Federal Authority Over Health Insurance Rates

Kaiser Health News
Feb. 22, 2010

State insurance regulators said President Barack Obama goes too far with his proposal Monday to give the federal government new power to reject health insurance rate increases.


Anthem Blue Cross: State Regulator Finds More Than 700 Violations

The Huffington Post

Feb. 22, 2010


California's insurance regulator said Monday his office has found more than 700 violations by the state's largest for-profit health insurer, including late payment of claims, giving misleading information to consumers and failing to cooperate with regulators.


House Democrats Seek to Revoke Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption

Feb. 22, 2010


House Democrats agreed to exclude medical malpractice insurers from legislation that would apply antitrust laws to health insurance companies, clearing the way for a vote on the measure this week.


Trial Begins Over Lawsuit Targeting Anthem Blue Cross

The Los Angeles Times
Feb. 22, 2010


A California man whose request to have a liver transplant done in Indiana, where wait times are shorter, was denied by Anthem Blue Cross is suing the firm. The firm's attorney says he wasn't sick enough to go out of network.




Doctor Training Aided by Drug Industry Cash

The New York Times
Feb. 23, 2010

More than half of the nation’s medical residency programs to train doctors in internal medicine accepted financial support from the drug industry, even though three-fourths of the programs’ directors said accepting the aid was “not desirable,” a survey found.

Study: Shorter Hospital Stays May Cost No More

Feb. 22, 2010


Hospitals that send patients home earlier can save money and the policy does not end up costing more later, researchers reported on Monday.


Study: Half of Infection Deaths Linked Directly to Hospital Care

The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 22, 2010


Sepsis and pneumonia, two infections that can often be prevented with tight infection control practices in hospitals, killed 48,000 patients and added $8.1 billion to healthcare costs in 2006 alone, according to a study.


State news


Pew Study Finds States Face $1 Trillion Shortfall in Retiree Benefits

The Pew Center on the States

Feb. 18, 2010


There was a $1 trillion gap at the end of fiscal year 2008 between the $2.35 trillion states had set aside to pay for employees' retirement benefits and the $3.35 trillion price tag of those promises, according to a new report released by the Pew Center on the States.  The shortfall, which will have to be paid over the next 30 years by state and local governments, amounts to more than $8,800 for every household in the United States.




AMA to Congress: One week left to act on Medicare physician payment

The American Medical Association

Feb. 22, 2010


With a sizable cut to Medicare physician payments taking effect in just one week, the American Medical Association is seeking clarity from Congress on its plan of action to stop the 21.2% reduction.


Will Health Care Costs Bankrupt Aging Boomers?

The Urban Institute
Feb. 4, 2010


Rising health care costs threaten boomers’ retirement security. In 2040, half of adults age 65 and older will spend at least 19 percent of their incomes on health care, up from 10 percent in 2010, if costs grow at the intermediate rate projected by the Medicare trustees. About 7 in 10 older Americans in the bottom two-fifths of the income distribution will spend more than 20 percent of their incomes on health care in 2040.


Reform efforts


Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals

Kaiser Family Foundation
Feb. 22, 2010


The Foundation has updated its interactive side-by-side health reform comparison tool to reflect provisions included in President Obama’s health reform proposal. The online tool allows users to quickly compare Obama Administration’s new proposal with the House and Senate bills approved separately in each chamber last year. In addition, the tool includes 11 other comprehensive reform proposals put forward by various members of Congress, committees and other leaders during the ongoing debate.


Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — February 2010

Kaiser Family Foundation

February 2010


The February Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds the public still split on health care reform legislation, with 43 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. However, the poll also finds that majorities of Americans of all political leanings support several provisions in the health reform proposals in Congress and most attribute delays in passing the legislation to political gamesmanship rather than policy disagreements.




Survey: Employers Fret Over Workers’ Poor Health Habits

The Wall Street Journal
Feb. 22, 2010


Workers’ poor health habits were cited by 67% of companies as a top challenge to maintaining affordable benefit coverage in a new survey by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health.


Health Information Technology


Medical Paper Trail Takes Electronic Turn

The New York Times

Feb. 22, 2010


Jane Brody, personal health columnist, looks at the benefits and concerns surrounding electronic medical records.


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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