Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - September 30, 2011

Gingrich proposes "pro-market" health care

Anne Telnaes

Some Common Ground for Legal Adversaries on Health Care

WASHINGTON — The 2010 health care overhaul law has provoked an unprecedented clash between the federal government and 26 states, dividing them on fundamental questions about the very structure of the federal system. But the two sides share a surprising amount of common ground, too, starting with their agreement in briefs, filed on Wednesday, that the Supreme Court should resolve the clash in its current term.
Until just days ago, it was hardly clear that the Obama administration would agree with the states on the need for prompt review, as there were good political reasons for moving slowly. The court’s decision is now most likely to come just months before the 2012 presidential election.
Their briefs also reflect agreement on matters of substance. The two sides, along with the judges in the majority in the appeals court decision most likely to be reviewed by the justices, all said the dispute is about means rather than ends. There are other ways, they said, for Congress to achieve near-universal health coverage, some of them more expansive than what was enacted

Costs Of Employer Insurance Plans Surge in 2011

SEP 27, 2011
Employers' spending on health coverage for workers spiked abruptly this year, with the average cost of a family plan rising by 9 percent, triple the growth seen in 2010.
Family plan premiums hit $15,073 on average, while coverage for single employees grew 8 percent to $5,429, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. (KHN is an editorially-independent program of the foundation.)

Health Insurers Push Premiums Sharply Higher

Major health insurance companies have been charging sharply higher premiums this year, outstripping any growth in workers’ wages and creating more uncertainty for the Obama administration and employers who are struggling to drive down an unrelenting rise in medical costs.

A Jump in Health Care Premiums

After years of fairly small increases in health care premiums, average costs rose sharply this year.

Decoding the God Complex

Medical schools are starting to train doctors to be less intimidating to patients. And patients are starting to train themselves to be less intimidated by doctors.
We haven’t completely gotten away from the syndrome so perfectly described by Alec Baldwin’s arrogant surgeon in the movie “Malice”: “When someone goes into that chapel and they fall on their knees and they pray to God that their wife doesn’t miscarry or that their daughter doesn’t bleed to death or that their mother doesn’t suffer acute neural trauma from postoperative shock, who do you think they’re praying to? ... You ask me if I have a God complex. Let me tell you something: I am God.”

Supreme Court Is Asked to Rule on Health Care

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear a case concerning the 2010 health care overhaul law. The development, which came unexpectedly fast, makes it all but certain that the court will soon agree to hear one or more cases involving challenges to the law, with arguments by the spring and a decision by June, in time to land in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Americans get too much healthcare, their docs say
Frederik Joelving, Reuters Health, Sep 26, 2011
Here is a diagnosis of what's wrong with health
care in America, straight from the horse's mouth: There's too much.
In a new poll of primary care physicians, nearly
half of them said their patients received too
much medical care and more than a quarter said
they were practicing more aggressively than they'd like to.

Hospitals push age hike for Medicare

Seek to avoid cuts in federal payments

Monday, September 26, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - September 27, 2011

Growing Size And Wealth Of Children's Hospitals Fueling Questions About Spending

SEP 25, 2011
This story was produced in collaboration with mcclatchy

To Save on Health Care, First Crack Down on Fraud

Santa Barbara, Calif.
LAST week, the Obama administration announced a plan to cut $320 billion over 10 years from the projected growth of Medicare andMedicaid. The plan would raise premiums and deductibles, lower payments to hospitals and require elderly people who receive care at home to make co-payments.

Decision on health-care law means Supreme Court will likely determine constitutionality next summer

By Published: September 26

The constitutionality of the 2010 health-care law could be determined by the Supreme Court this term, with a decision coming next summer in the thick of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - September 26, 2011

September 23, 2011

When Your Therapist Is Only a Click Away

THE event reminder on Melissa Weinblatt’s iPhone buzzed: 15 minutes till her shrink appointment.
She mixed herself a mojito, added a sprig of mint, put on her sunglasses and headed outside to her friend’s pool. Settling into a lounge chair, she tapped the Skype app on her phone. Hundreds of miles away, her face popped up on her therapist’s computer monitor; he smiled back on her phone’s screen.
She took a sip of her cocktail. The session began.

Deep health care divide in Rick Perry’s Texas - Nation - The Boston Globe

HOUSTON - The cutting edge treatments and renowned doctors here at the Texas Medical Center draw Arab sheiks and former first ladies to gleaming facilities adorned with spraying fountains and aquariums. Billed as the world’s largest medical campus, the towering glass and sandstone buildings house 14 hospitals and three medical schools, spread across 14 square blocks.

Toughest health care job in Mass. - Business - The Boston Globe

Kate Walsh has worked for the region’s dominant health care system and for a leading global drug maker. But her education on urban health issues - and the challenge of leading the state’s largest safety net hospital in a sluggish economy - began just 18 months ago when she took over as chief executive of Boston Medical Center.
The vast majority of the hospital’s patients come from low-income families. Many are elderly, disabled, or recent immigrants struggling with their English. Most get health insurance from the state or federal governments. Some have difficulty getting to the South End hospital from homes and jobs in far-flung neighborhoods.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2011, 7:00 AM

How One Small Group Sets Doctors’ Pay

Despite decades of warnings of a primary care crisis and the fact that some 60 million patients are without primary care doctors, the medical profession has continued to produce legions of specialists.

When asked, most of my colleagues will point to the system that determines how medical charges are reimbursed by insurance, and how doctors in different areas of medicine are paid.

Cancer cost 'crisis' warning from oncologists

The cost of treating cancer in the developed world is spiralling and is "heading towards a crisis", an international team of researchers says.
Their Lancet Oncology report says there is a "culture of excess" with insufficient evidence about the "value" of new treatments and technologies.
It says the number of cancer patients and the cost of treating each one is increasing.

Bartering For Health Care: Yardwork For Treatment

Deb Barth is raking leaves for Lesley Jones. But Barth isn't earning money for her yardwork, at least not in physical currency. She's earning "time dollars" — for every two hours she spends doing odd jobs, she'll earn a free visit with her doctor.
As a struggling artist, Barth's income qualifies her for the program at True North, a nonprofit health care clinic in Falmouth, Maine. She's one of 33 patients who pay with time dollars there.

Who knows your body best?

September 23, 2011

How Do You Say ‘Economic Security’?

IN the face of nothing but bad economic news, Americans often take heart in remembering that we have been here before — during the Great Depression, when conditions were far worse than they are today — and we survived.
But there is a crucial difference between then and now: the words that our political leaders use to talk about our problems have changed. Where politicians once drew on a morally resonant language of people, family and shared social concern, they now deploy the cold technical idiom of budgetary accounting.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Health Care Reform Articles - September 23, 2011

September 21, 2011

Young Adults Make Gains in Health Insurance Coverage

Young adults, long the group most likely to be uninsured, are gaining health coverage faster than expected since the 2010 health law began allowing parents to cover them as dependents on family policies.
Three new surveys, including two released on Wednesday, show that adults under 26 made significant and unique gains in insurance coverage in 2010 and the first half of 2011. One of them, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates that in the first quarter of 2011 there were 900,000 fewer uninsured adults in the 19-to-25 age bracket than in 2010.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2011, 9:00 PM

Breaking News: The Civil War Is Over

Linda Greenhouse on the Supreme Court and the law.
Judicial opinions on the constitutionality of the new health care law are pouring out of the federal courts. With the general expectation that the Supreme Court will have to resolve what is now a clear conflict between two federal courts of appeals, the individual lower-court decisions have pretty much ceased to make news. By the time the Supreme Court rules, if and when it does, a decision earlier this month by the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., throwing out Virginia’s challenge to the statute without reaching the ultimate constitutional question, will be all but forgotten.

The Gaping Hole in Ron Paul's Health Care Policy

The Paul plan for healthcare simply does not work.