March 15th, 2010

March 15: Health Care Reform News

By Kelley Luckstein

Health Care 101: A consumer primer on Obama's bill

It took lawmakers a year to shape President Barack Obama's health care bill. If it finally passes Congress, it'll take the better part of a decade to write the user manual for consumers and doctors, employers and insurance companies…


The House could vote on the final legislation as early as this week, with the Senate to follow. Here's a primer on some of the major effects for consumers and other key players: Doctors and hospitals would be encouraged to band together in "accountable care organizations" modeled on the Mayo Clinic.


AP, by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar,


Additional Mayo Clinic mentions in health care reform news:

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Montgomery Advertiser




Top stories


House Democrats Release Bill for Budget Markup Monday

The Hill

March 14, 2010


The House Budget Committee on Sunday evening released text that will serve as the base legislation for the changes the House will seek to the Senate bill this week. Click here to see the legislation.


Homestretch Scramble for House Votes on Health Care

March 15, 2010


After nearly a year of haggling, most of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 252 Democratic colleagues still have concerns about passing the Senate bill, even with some fixes. Related:

Democratic Leaders Say Health Bill Will Pass, The Washington Post

Dem House Vote-Counter Lacks Health Care Votes Now, AP

Health-Care Endgame Begins , The Wall Street Journal

Health-Care Fight Targets Waverers, The Wall Street Journal


Obama Heads to Ohio Looking for Health Care Votes

The Washington Post

March 15, 2010


Still seeking votes for his proposed health care overhaul, President Barack Obama appears ready to reverse his position and allow unpopular deal-sweetening measures in the hopes of finding Democratic support for legislation whose future will be decided in coming days.


The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Care Reform

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
March 14, 2010


A new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute predicts that: 'Without significant reform to the current health care system, the number of uninsured Americans could grow by 10 million people in just five years, and spending on government health care programs for the poor could more than double by 2020.’ The report projects that by 2015, there could be as many as 59.7 million people uninsured – and further estimates that the number could swell to 67.6 million by 2020.




Insurers Alone Can't Be Blamed for Rates, Economists Say

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

March 15, 2010


Health economists contend that insurance companies, while often meriting criticism for their practices, aren't to blame for high health care costs.




Learning to Keep Patients Safe in a Culture of Fear

The New York Times

March 11, 2010


One of the first steps to keeping patients safe is to change the culture in which doctors are asked to report the mistakes they make, writes Dr. Pauline Chen.


For Doctors-in-Training, a Matter of Time

The Boston Globe

March 14, 2010


Last year, a national accrediting agency put a Mass. General Hospital program on probation for violating patient-protection rules that limit trainees' work hours. Now, senior surgeons and residents say the program is in complete compliance with the rules that require trainees to average no more than 80 hours of work a week and have 10 hours off between shifts.



Third-Party Reviews of Devices Come Under Scrutiny at the FDA

The Wall Street Journal

March 15, 2010

When medical-equipment makers like Philips Electronics NV, Siemens AG and General Electric Co. need approval for some new devices, they don't always have to start at the Food and Drug Administration. They can pay companies to do the reviews, which are then routinely approved by FDA officials most of the time. Now this third-party outsourcing program has come under fire at the FDA, and the agency is weighing whether to end it.

Wellness/Chronic Care


Studies: Intense Treatment Doesn't Help Diabetics

The Washington Post

March 15, 2010


Key results from a landmark federal study are in, and the results are disappointing for diabetics: Adding drugs to drive blood pressure and blood-fats lower than current targets did not prevent heart problems, and in some cases caused harmful side effects.


State news


FL: Warnings of Crisis at Jackson Health System Went Unheeded

The Miami Herald

March 13, 2010


A Miami-Dade Public Health Trust member warned the system's top financial officer of an impending `perfect storm' of failed finances.


MN: Reinventing Care for Poor Means Relying Less on ER

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
March 13, 2010

Even before getting legislative approval, hospitals are rushing to create a new health system for the poor.

MN: Thousands Rally at State Capitol to Kill Health Care Bill

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

March 15, 2010

A day after congressional Democratic leaders announced their final legislative push to enact a bill to overhaul the nation's health care system, opponents rallied in Minnesota to send a noisy contrary message.

State Lawmakers Try to Head Off Health Bill

USA Today
March 14, 2010


Some states are trying to block key parts of President Obama's health care plan, which could spark a legal fight.


Reform efforts

Most Americans Want Health Care Reform
The Washington Post
March 13, 2010

Joel Benenson, president and co-founder of Benenson Strategy Group and the lead pollster to President Obama, writes thatNo pollster could look at the recent data and responsibly say anything other than that the American public is closely divided when it comes to supporting or opposing various health-care plans.”

Millions Spent to Sway Democrats on Health Care

The New York Times

March 15, 2010


The yearlong legislative fight over health care is drawing to a frenzied close as a multimillion-dollar wave of advertising that rivals the ferocity of a presidential campaign takes aim at about 40 House Democrats whose votes will help determine the fate of President Obama’s top domestic priority.


Undecided Democrats Hold Power Over Health Bill

USA Today
March 15, 2010


A breakdown of the positions of: Reps. Stupak, Grijalva, Cooper, Herseth Sandlin, Arcuri and Altmire.


Reform's Not Passed, But Implementation Plans Are Already Underway

March 15, 2010


'Supporters and opponents of health reform continue to duke it out ahead of next week's expected final House vote, but both sides are already laying the groundwork to effectively implement reform should it pass.


Can Incremental Health Reform Provide A Path Forward?

Kaiser Health News

March 15, 2010


Columnist Gail Wilensky, senior fellow at Project HOPE, writes, “As we await another historic vote in the House on whether lawmakers will support the Senate version of reform, it's worth asking whether incremental reform would have been a better path.”


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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