First Edition: January 6, 2012
In today's news, reports from the campaign trail and details about how nine states have asked the federal government for more funding to make sure their high-risk pools don't run out of cash before 2014.
Kaiser Health News: Collaborative Efforts Can Save Money And Improve Care
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Harris Meyer, working in collaboration with USA Today, writes: "The Hillsboro collaboration is one of a small but growing number of voluntary partnerships around the country to tackle the twin problems of unsatisfactory quality and rising health-care costs. Similar programs are underway in Atlantic City, N.J.; Lewiston, Maine; Muskegon, Mich.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco and Seattle. One is budding in Orlando" (Meyer, 1/5).
Kaiser Health News: Kansas, Oklahoma Insurers Won’t Get A Break On Rebate Rule
Kansas Public Radio's Bryan Thompson, reporting as part of a partnership with Kaiser Health News, NPR and Kansas Public Radio, writes: "Kansas and Oklahoma are the seventh and eighth states to get the thumbs down from the federal government on their requests to phase in new regulations that could result in health insurance rebates to consumers" (Thompson, 1/5).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: 9 States Seek Help For High-Risk Pools
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Phil Galewitz reports: "Nine states have asked the federal government for more money to make sure their new high-risk pools that provide health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions don't run out of money before 2014, the Obama administration said Thursday" (1/5). Check out what else is on the blog.
The New York Times: Romney Facing Risks Left And Right
To Democrats, it is a straw-man formulation that twists the facts of Mr. Obama's record and implies that the president is somehow less than American. The largest entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — were all enacted before Mr. Obama entered grade school. … To some conservatives, the Romney argument only highlights what they see as a lack of commitment from him to translate his words into specific actions to reverse the growth of government and expand markets and individual liberties (Harwood, 1/5).
The New York Times: After Santorum Left Senate, Familiar Hands Reached Out
In the years before he lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006, Rick Santorum worked hard to win hundreds of millions of dollars in additional Medicare money for hospitals in Puerto Rico. He sponsored at least two Senate bills and pushed to amend a mammoth Medicare overhaul to include the extra spending, which would have benefited Universal Health Services, a Pennsylvania-based hospital management company with facilities in Puerto Rico. If it seems at odds with the small-government philosophy Mr. Santorum now espouses in his presidential campaign, it was in line with his legislative efforts to help businesses in his state. And some of those businesses were happy to return the favor (McIntire and Luo, 1/5).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Santorum's Top Goals: $5 Trillion In Cuts, Entitlement Overhaul
Making his way through a crush of reporters and customers, Mr. Santorum also answered several questions on health care. He told one man that one of the principal reasons that health costs are high is because third-parties, not consumers, often deal with medical bills (Levitz, 1/5).
The New York Times: Report Finds Most Errors At Hospitals Go Unreported
Hospital employees recognize and report only one out of seven errors, accidents and other events that harm Medicare patients while they are hospitalized, federal investigators say in a new report (Pear, 1/6).
The Wall Street Journal: California Takes Aim At Budget Gap
The proposal—which typically serves as a template as legislators wrangle over the budget for the following fiscal year—calls for $4.2 billion in cuts to programs such as welfare and in-home supportive services, along with tax measures and other changes that would boost revenue by $4.7 billion (Vara, 1/6).
The New York Times: Massachusetts Health Plan Extended To Immigrants
Massachusetts cannot bar legal immigrants from a state health care program, according to a ruling issued Thursday by the state’s highest court, a decision that edges the state closer to its goal of providing near-universal health care coverage to its residents (Bidgood, 1/5).
The Wall Street Journal: Dendreon Reports Gains For Costly Cancer Drug
Dendreon Corp. reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue from its Provenge prostate-cancer drug, a rare bit of good news for the innovative but expensive treatment whose growth has slowed in recent months over reimbursement issues (Lamar, 1/6).
USA Today: Workplaces Ban Not Only Smoking, But Smokers Themselves
As bans on smoking sweep the USA, an increasing number of employers — primarily hospitals — are also imposing bans on smokers. They won't hire applicants whose urine tests positive for nicotine use, whether cigarettes, smokeless tobacco or even patches (Koch, 1/5).
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