Thursday, June 30, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - July 1, 2011

Sick: AZ Man Makes $12 Too Much to Get Coverage for Heart Surgery

By Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress
Posted on June 28, 2011, Printed on June 30, 2011
Since last year, low-income Arizonans have been feeling the impact of a series of brutal Medicaid cuts that officials predict will kick at least135,000 people off the state’s health care rolls by next year. Now, thanks to these cuts, a Yuma man may be unable to afford a heart surgery he needs to survive.

June 29, 2011

Round 1 in Appeals of Health Care Overhaul Goes to Obama

The Obama administration prevailed Wednesday in the first appellate review of the 2010 health care law as a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that it was constitutional for Congress to require that Americans buy health insurance.
The ruling by the Cincinnati court is the first of three opinions to be delivered by separate courts of appeal that heard arguments in the health care litigation in May and June. Opinions are 

une 30, 2011

Medicare Will Continue to Cover 2 Expensive Cancer Drugs

Medicare confirmed on Thursday that it would continue to pay for two expensive cancer drugs that had been at the center of debate — Avastin from Genentech for breast cancer and Provenge from Dendreon forprostate cancer.
A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the agency would continue to pay for Avastin for breast cancer, even if the Food and Drug Administration revoked the drug’s approval as a treatment for that disease.

June 30, 2011

Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work

Birmingham, Ala.
TODAY, after four arduous years of examinations, graduating medical doctors will report to their residency programs. Armed with stethoscopes and scalpels, they’re preparing to lead the charge against disease in its ravaging, chimerical forms. They carry with them the classic tomes: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine and Gray’s Anatomy. But I have an unlikely addition for their mental rucksacks: “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”

On 45th Anniversary, Medicare Under Siege

Posted: 07/ 1/11 09:20 AM ET

Forty-five years ago today, Medicare began operation and senior citizens started to use their brand new Medicare cards to obtain medical care. As President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, older Americans began to receive guaranteed access to care "not as an act of charity, but as the insured right of a senior citizen. July 1, 1966 marks a new day of freedom for our people."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - June 29, 2011

une 28, 2011

Administration Halts Survey of Making Doctor Visits

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Tuesday that it had shelved plans for a survey in which “mystery shoppers” posing as patients would call doctors’ offices to see how difficult it was to get appointments.
“We have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” the Department of Health and Human Services said late Tuesday.

Some hospitals back price curbs

Say temporary measures will correct market; Partners chief says changes could hurt care

Support is building among some Massachusetts hospitals for temporary government limits on health care prices, a remarkable development in an industry that has long favored letting the marketplace determine how much providers are paid for treating patients.

Top Democrats reject new plan to cut Medicare spending

Leading congressional Democrats immediately recoiled Tuesday from a new proposal to cut $600 billion in Medicare spending over the next decade — in part by raising the eligibility age.

Medicaid cuts could come from Dems
By: J. Lester Feder
June 28, 2011 11:26 PM EDT
Defenders of Medicaid have been fighting hard against Republican proposals to cut the program, but they’re just waking up to the threat of one proposed by the Obama administration.
It’s an idea to change the way federal matching funds work and save money in the process — and it would probably do it by shifting costs to the states. If that happens, Medicaid advocates fear, the states will just pass on the cuts to providers and, ultimately, the patients.

About That McKinsey Report… The Critics Were Right (Guest Opinion)

Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor of The New Republic
McKinsey and Company has finally released the details of its controversial paper on the likely effects of health care reform. And it looks like the paper's critics (including yours truly) were right to raise questions about it. Based on what the company has said, the paper offers no new reason to think Americans with employer-sponsored insurance will lose that coverage because of the Affordable Care Act.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - June 28, 2011

Canada May Have the Cure For US's Medicare Ailment

by: Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co. | Op-Ed
I keep hearing people say that Medicare in its current form is not sustainable in the United States, as if that were an established fact. It’s anything but.
What is Medicare? It’s single-payer coverage for the elderly.

June 26, 2011

U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors

WASHINGTON — Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

Medicare: "Biggest Deficit Driver" or "Solution" to Economic Recovery?

by: Michele Swenson, Daily Kos [3] | Op-Ed

Biotech fights Medicare cost panel

Kerry is a target of lobbying effort

By Tracy Jan

Globe Staff / June 27, 2011


A healthy dose of irony

By Adrian Walker
Globe Columnist / June 27, 2011
Mitt Romney deserves to simply take a bow for his role in bringing health care coverage to almost everyone in Massachusetts, and he knows it. If only politics were so simple.

June 27, 2011

New Drugs Fight Prostate Cancer, but at High Cost

A group of new drugs is promising to prolong the lives and relieve the symptoms of men with advanced prostate cancer, but could also add billions of dollars to the nation’s medical bills.

une 27, 2011

Concerns About Costs Rise With Hospices’ Use

As she surveyed patients’ charts, Nancy Romeo, a medical review auditor at a hospice company, was surprised by the resilience of those supposedly near death.
One patient admitted to hospice care in 2002 was still healthy enough in 2007 to stroll around his yard at home, she found. Another patient received hospice care for four years before the company for which Ms. Romeo worked, SouthernCare, determined she was not dying. “I looked at charts every day, and almost every chart was inappropriate,” said Ms. Romeo, a nurse.

Legislators vow bill to curb health care costs

By Liz Kowalczyk
Globe Staff / June 28, 2011
State legislative leaders made their strongest statements yet in support of placing significant cost controls on health care, predicting yesterday that they will agree on a bill as early as the fall.


RomneyCare vs. ObamaCare

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL candidate Tim Pawlenty was right. While he backed away from the nice term he coined — ObamneyCare — the health reforms enacted by then-governor Mitt Romney in 2006 and President Obama in 2010 have much in common, although both would deny it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - June 26, 2011

Google to End Health Records Service After It Fails to Attract Users

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - June 24, 2011

FQA's about Vermont's new health care law

Mass. finds new system not cutting health costs

By Liz Kowalczyk
Globe Staff / June 23, 2011

DR. JERRY AVORN Details for doctors

Existing-illness insurance scours Maine for clients

With only 14 subscribers so far, officials believe many people don't know about the federally subsidized health program.

Mainers who can't afford health insurance and have a history of serious illness may qualify for federally subsidized coverage.
For more about the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, call (877) 892-8391 or go to:
Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care also offers assistance, at (800) 965-7476.

But they probably don't know it, say federal and state officials and consumer advocates.

June 23, 2011

How AARP Can Get Its Groove Back

Claremont, Calif.
THE emerging debate over the future of entitlements is forcing an overdue identity crisis at AARP. Last week, leaders of the 37-million-member group issued a vague half-denial after news accounts reported that they were prepared to accept cutbacks in Social Security benefits. It was a wavering, confusing response that reflected mission drift and a loss of organizational focus and identity.

Health care's move to pixels slow
By: Matt DoBias
June 23, 2011 10:56 PM EDT
Electronic health records are at the center of some of the key reforms of the Affordable Care Act, because having reliable data to track patients, trends and possible fraud is one of the ways reformers think they will eventually be able to bend the cost curve.
But so far, only a scant number of providers are fully using the technology — and even fewer use it so as to qualify for federal incentive payments.
Through mid-May, just 1,026 registered hospitals and physicians out of a possible 56,599 have shown they use electronic records and other digital technology to meet federal “meaningful use” standards, and only 861 of them have actually received payment for doing so, according to data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and obtained by POLITICO.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - June 22, 2011

Families USA pushes for health care exchanges
Posted By Anne Galloway
A national advocacy group, Families USA, has given the Vermont Public Interest Research Group $25,000 for its health care “education” efforts in Vermont. VPIRG is the largest nonprofit consumer and environmental advocacy organization in Vermont.

Medicaid for middle class? Yes, for now

Health law detail has US analysts, officials worried 



Steven Pearlstein: Pundit protest 2.0

By , Published: June 21

David Brooks of the New York Times had a wonderful column the other day indicating that while he would be opining regularly about the upcoming presidential campaign, he would do so under protest. The reason: From his Hamiltonian perspective, the “two parties contesting this election are unusually pathetic. Their programs are unusually unimaginative. Their policies are unusually incommensurate to the problems at hand.”
I’ve never been quite sure what it means to be a Hamiltonian, but I don’t think you need to be one to agree with Brooks’s assessment. This is a particularly dispiriting time to be both citizen and pundit, particularly if you care about public policy and think it matters. The intellectual dishonesty, the political posturing, the absence of a sense of stewardship on the part of those who claim to be leading — it’s appalling, really.
Just take health care, which lies at the heart of the debates over the budget and the role and size of government.

Washington County men have lowest life expectancy in Maine

Posted June 21, 2011, at 8:36 p.m.
Washington County, which historically has garnered poor health standings among Maine counties, has the lowest life expectancy in Maine for men, and one of the lowest for women, according to a new national report from the University of Washington.
One Bangor physician said Tuesday that all rural Mainers face significant challenges to their health as they age, including habitual inactivity, poverty, geographic isolation and the quality of the health care they receive. And the state’s new public health director said the administration of Gov. Paul LePage is committed to improving the health of all Maine people.


Health Care Reform Articles - June 21, 2011


Uncertain diagnosis

Bachmann’s nonsensical Medicare-‘Obamacare’ claim