KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: McKinsey Report Contentiousness; Medicare Facts Vs. Beliefs; Insurers’ HSA ‘Strategy’

The Wall Street Journal: Shutting Up McKinsey
The White House routinely tries to intimidate its health-care critics, but the campaign against McKinsey & Co. is something else. The management consultants attempted to find out how U.S. business will respond to the government restructuring of 17.3% of the economy, Democrats don't like the results, and so McKinsey must pay with its reputation (6/23).

The Washington Post: Let's Hope Employers Do Drop Health Coverage
Just when you thought Washington couldn't get more partisan and confused, along comes the phony tempest about whether President Obama's health-care reform will lead employers to drop coverage once the new insurance exchanges open for business in 2014. ... It would be a fantastic thing - not some calamity - if more people got coverage from the exchanges instead of from their employers. Yet both parties act as if it would be a disaster (Matt Miller, 6/22). 

Forbes: The McKinsey Health Insurance Survey Was Rigorous, After All
Obamacare's defenders have worked themselves into a tizzy, attacking the recent study published by McKinsey & Co., the world's leading management consulting firm. … Well, lo and behold, McKinsey decided to release the details: the full questionnaire used in their survey, along with a 206-page report detailing the survey's complete results. Accompanying these details was a thoughtful discussion of the survey's methodology, one that pops the balloon of those who tried to tar McKinsey as some sort of careless, partisan outfit (Avik Roy, 6/20).

USA Today: Who Is Tossing Whom Over A Cliff?
If you want an inkling of what the future holds when the Medicare and Social Security time bombs detonate, you need only ponder what adding several trillion dollars to our national debt in the past two years has done to our economy (Chris Laureys, 6/22). 

The New York Times: Opinionator: Medicare: Facts And Convictions 
When we are arguing from the facts, there is a reasonable possibility of convincing one another. When we find ourselves arguing about convictions, the ordinary point-counterpoint of political debate becomes ineffective. ... Once we've pushed the debate on Medicare or any other policy matter to the point where convictions become the sole basis of disagreement, it is time to vote (Gary Gutting, 6/22).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Accountable Care: A Culture And Payment Change
In today's environment, Providers are generally paid a fee for each service rendered. Therefore, Providers increase revenues by increasing patient visits and working longer hours to see more patients a day. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") policy and program initiatives have been driving to a new model, Accountable Care. Accountable Care takes the old model of fee for service and turns it upside down (Michele Madison, 6/22). 

New England Journal of Medicine: Comparative Effectiveness Research and Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions 
Researchers have largely shied away from the complexity of multiple chronic conditions - avoidance that results in expensive, potentially harmful care of unclear benefit. We cannot improve health care's quality, effectiveness, and efficiency without addressing its greatest consumers. Development and testing of innovative approaches to care for patients with multiple chronic conditions could prove the most lasting legacy of CER (Drs. Mary E. Tinetti and Stephanie A. Studenski, 6/23).

iWatch News: Health Savings Accounts Lucrative For Insurers, Costly For Consumers  
In its ongoing attempt to weaken a key provision of the health care reform law-the one that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care-the insurance industry is predicting dire consequences for people enrolled in health savings accounts (HSAs) if lawmakers don't act soon. ... HSAs and similar high deductible plans are a central part of the industry's strategy to shift more and more of the cost of care from them to us (Wendell Potter, 6/22).

The New York Times: Budget Cutters V. The Law
The last three years have been the hardest for state budgets since the depression, and virtually every state has cut services. Most often, it is the poor, the young, and the elderly who are most hurt, as 34 states cut K-12 education, 31 health care, and 29 elderly and disabled services (6/22). 

The Times of Trenton: N.J. Pension, Health Care Changes Will Harm Public Employees For Generation 
It's ironic that Republicans, who railed against the Obama health-care plan, want a New Jersey plan that will limit access to health care at the same time it could increase subscriber costs by several hundred percent. It takes away people's right to choose where they go when facing life-threatening diseases unless they purchase an even more expensive plan (Robin Williams, 6/23). 

Dallas Morning News: Parkland Officials' Evasive Behavior Put Hospital At Risk 
[Parkland Memorial Hospital and UT Southwestern Medical Center representatives'] protests that this newspaper has treated them unfairly ring hollow amid a growing body of evidence suggesting they've tried to conceal information and prevent investigators from uncovering serious irregularities. ... [Parkland] already faces a long-running Justice Department investigation into allegations of Medicare fraud. Officials risk digging themselves into a deeper hole, putting the hospital and patients in jeopardy, with taxpayers left holding the bill (6/22). 

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