KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Lessons From Massachusetts?; FTC And ACOs; Arizona Partner Benefits

The New England Journal of Medicine: Health Care Reform and the Health Care Workforce — The Massachusetts Experience
[T]he Massachusetts experience provides lessons for national health care reform. First, reform may accelerate the trend toward health care’s being the dominant employment sector in the economy.  ... our analysis supports physicians’ concerns about the administrative burden of health care reforms ... Finally, rather than requiring greater numbers of physicians and nurses, reform may require larger numbers of people supporting the work of such health care professionals (Douglas O. Staiger, David I. Auerbach and Peter I. Buerhaus, 9/7). 

The New England Journal of Medicine: Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform and Emergency Department Utilization
Does an expansion of health insurance increase or decrease use of the emergency department (ED)? ... the similarity between key provisions of the Massachusetts law and those of the [Affordable Care Act] suggests that the growth rate for total and inpatient ED visits may not change significantly. At least for now, physicians’ and lawmakers’ fears that the ACA will increase ED visits may be unfounded (Christopher Chen, Gabriel Scheffler and Amitabh Chandra, 9/7).

California Healthline: FTC Emerges As Another Obstacle to Health Reform Law
True to its name, the Affordable Care Act tries out a number of new ideas to make health care less expensive. As one tactic, the law provides incentives for the creation of accountable care organizations to care for dedicated populations of Medicare beneficiaries. However, the White House and FTC don't see eye to eye on ACOs' antitrust implications (Dan Diamond, 9/7).

The Arizona Republic: Arizona Continues Fighting The Bad Fight
Gov. Jan Brewer is outraged that two federal courts and four different judges (so far) have said that Arizona cannot discriminate against people it doesn't like. In this case, people who actually work for the state. And who happen to be gay. ...  The trouble arises when the state decides to pick and choose which employees get the benefits based on whose lifestyle it condones (E.J. Montini, 9/7).

Los Angeles Times: What The Doctor Ordered 
Many physicians say the close ties between drug and device firms and doctors lead to new and more effective medications, life-saving innovations and a better-educated profession. Although this is certainly true, the relationships also can cause physicians to — consciously or not — downplay side effects and poor research outcomes, studies show (Tracy Weber and Charles Ornstein, 9/8).

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