April 8, 2010

April 8: Health Care Reform News


Top stories


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Sounds a Warning on Growing Deficit

The Washington Post

April 8, 2010


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Wednesday that Americans may have to accept higher taxes or changes in cherished entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security if the nation is to avoid staggering budget deficits that threaten to choke off economic growth.


Can Massachusetts' Experiment Tell Us What’s Next?

Kaiser Health News
April 8, 2010


The president himself has said that the national plan contains many of the features of the Massachusetts program, now operating in its third year. He is right. There are striking similarities between the reform plans, which is why what’s happening in Massachusetts today is very instructive.




Study: Health Care-Savvy Workers Cost-Conscious

The Boston Herald

April 8, 2010


Workers who better understand their health insurance plans -- from their share of premiums to co-payments for doctor office and emergency room visits -- are more likely to make more cost-efficient decisions, a new study finds




White House Announces New Bioethics Commission Members

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues

April 7, 2010


Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint 10 individuals to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.


‘Alarm Fatigue’ Linked to Patient’s Death

The Boston Globe

April 8, 2010


A recent patient death has been linked to "alarm fatigue," a phenomenon where providers may not hear -- or ignore -- monitoring devices, putting patients at risk. Alarm fatigue -- spurred by hospitals' monitoring machines and alarms that produce a deluge of noise that may cause providers to miss warnings that patients are in distress -- is a national problem plaguing many hospitals.


Four Percent of Healthcare Workers MRSA-Positive


April 8, 2010

About 4 percent of healthcare workers are infected with some strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to a recent voluntary screening of 3,638 clinical and non-patient-care employees.

Wellness/Chronic Care


Health Care Reform in Action — Calorie Labeling Goes National

The New England Journal of Medicine
April 8, 2010


The author argues that calorie labeling provides an incentive to avoid large portions.


85 Percent of Americans Claim to Be Healthy and Continue to Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

American Public Health Association

April 5, 2010


Eighty-five percent of Americans characterize their lifestyle as somewhat or very healthy, according to a survey by the American Public Health Association. 


State news


State Creates Health Care Reform Office

The Milwaukee Journal

April 7, 2010


Gov. Jim Doyle has created an Office of Health Care Reform to prepare for the sweeping changes from health care reform that take effect in 2014.


GOP Govs Bypass Dem AGs


April 7, 2010

Three Republican governors are going around their Democratic attorneys general to file lawsuits against the recently signed health care law. Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Jan Brewer of Arizona and Jim Gibbons of Nevada have all announced in recent days that they are bucking the opinion of their attorneys general.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Pushes Suit Against Health Reform

The Tennessean

April 8, 2010


Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Wednesday he would be open to hiring an outside lawyer to represent the state in a lawsuit challenging federal health-care reform after the attorney general indicated he was unwilling to do so.


Tennessee Removes About 100,000 People From Medicaid Rolls

Kaiser Health News
April 8, 2010


About 100,000 people -- mostly elderly or disabled residents -- have been dropped from TennCare, the state’s Medicaid Program, since January 2009, including approximately 37,000 who had relied on the state program for all their health care needs.


MA Insurance Standoff Eases

The Boston Globe

April 8, 2010


Seeking to tone down their dispute with state regulators, two Massachusetts health insurers yesterday said they will, as ordered, resume making new policies available for individuals and small businesses -- using last year's base rates, not the requested double-digit increases rejected by the state last week.


Senate Wants 3 Plans That Ensure Health Care for All Vermonters

The Burlington Free Press


The Senate voted 28-2 to give preliminary approval to a bill that directs the Legislature's Health Care Reform Commission to hire experts to write three sets of plans that would implement a universal health care system in Vermont beginning in July 2012. One of the options must be a government-administered, publicly financed health benefits system. 


States Reignite Abortion Debate

The Wall Street Journal

April 8, 2010

Less than three weeks after the passage of the landmark national health-care bill, the abortion debate is being reignited: Lawmakers in least six states are pushing for legislation to block abortion coverage in some health plans.

FL: Financial Health Improving at Jackson Health System

The Miami Herald

April 8, 2010

Jackson Health System executives reported Wednesday they're making progress improving the troubled public hospitals' cash situation, while a union leader expressed continued concerns about upcoming layoffs.



New CMS Web Site Shines Light On Medicare Spending

Kaiser Health News

April 8, 2010


The new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Web site is making more claims data available to the public. The so-called "CMS Dashboard" reveals Medicare spending for the top 25 conditions in hospitals, and allows users to compare spending by state, conditions by spending and to review the top-10-spending states for each condition. Click here to view.


Implementing the Legislation


Tax Burden Mounting for High Earners

The Los Angeles Times
April 8, 2010


With enactment of his signature healthcare law, President Obama has also made good on another major campaign promise: to ease the tax burden on middle-class Americans and pay for his domestic agenda by raising taxes on the wealthy.


The New Health Care Law and You

April 2010


As a part of its efforts to help older Americans understand the impact of the recently enacted health reform package, AARP has launched new on-line resources for people with questions about the new law.


Public Opinion at the Time of the Vote on Health Care Reform

The New England Journal of Medicine

April 8, 2010


A comprehensive review of findings from 33 independent polls conducted before and immediately after Congress voted on the legislation and the President signed it, in order to examine the state of public opinion at the time it was enacted and to explore the possible implications for public support over the course of its implementation phase.


Will Retail Clinics Be a Key Player in Post-Health Reform World?

HealthLeaders Media

April 8, 2010


Retail clinics in drug or grocery stores can be an essential part of the nation's healthcare delivery system in a post-health reform era, providing low-cost, high-quality care for millions of newly insured patients who otherwise would crowd emergency rooms or go untreated. But organized physician groups have a very different view.


Health Information Technology


Savings From Computerizing Medical Records Are Hard To Measure

Kaiser Health News

April 7, 2010

When it comes to health policy, few ideas find as much bipartisan support as the notion that widespread adoption of health information technology could improve medical care and save money. But putting a realistic number on those savings remains an elusive goal for health IT advocates.




Sitting Should Be Part of Doctors' Bedside Manner, KU Research Finds
Kansas City Star

April 8, 2010


Patients gave their doctor significantly higher marks for satisfaction and thought they had spent more time with him when he sat—rather than stood—by their bedsides, researchers at the University of Kansas Hospital found. References a Mayo Clinic study that reached a similar conclusion.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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