KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: August 27, 2010

In the headlines today, news about U.S. plans to step up efforts to crack down on health care fraud.  

Groups Press Congress To End Patients' Wait For Medicare
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jessica Marcy reports: "Under federal rules, most people with disabilities who are younger than 65 aren't eligible for Medicare until more than two years after they qualify for Social Security disability income. A coalition of more than 65 organizations led by the Medicare Rights Center has been pushing Congress to do away with the waiting period. But the effort has stalled because of the high cost to the federal government – an estimated $113 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office" (Kaiser Health News). Watch the related slideshow.

States Press Workers On Health Care
As state and local governments push to get employees to pick up more health care costs, some employees are pushing back (The Wall Street Journal).

Schweitzer Cooking Up New Plan For Cheap Drugs
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, cooking up a new plan to get cheaper prescription drugs for state residents, said he wants to let every Montanan get discounted medicine through Medicaid (The Associated Press).

Palin Criticized Obama, Fla. Gov. On Abortion
Sarah Palin called President Barack Obama the most pro-abortion president ever Thursday and mocked Florida's governor for claiming to be pro-life after vetoing a bill that would have required women to get ultrasounds before having the procedure (The Associated Press).

Patrick Says Health Care For Immigrants May Not Come To End
More than 23,000 Massachusetts residents - legal immigrants who have been in the country for less than five years - are scheduled to lose their health insurance by the end of this year, but Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday he hopes to continue their coverage using recently announced federal funds (The Boston Globe).

U.S. Cracks Down On Healthcare Fraud
Dr. Anne Peters knew something was wrong when a fellow physician called to find out why she had been ordering so many MRIs for her patients (Los Angeles Times). 

Doctor Doesn't Work Hard To Hide Symptoms Of Medicare Fraud
When they were medical students in India, Sushil Sheth and his friends missed a train one day because he insisted that they wait in line to buy tickets rather than board without paying, according to a childhood friend. Well, times and personal ethics change. Dr. Sheth was recently sentenced by a judge in Chicago to five years in prison for ripping off Medicare and private insurers for at least $13 million - and possibly closer to $20 million (Chicago News Cooperative/The New York Times).

Doctor Whose Office Was Searched By Federal Agents Defends Her Procedures For Prescribing Drugs
A Rowland Heights physician suspected of illegally dealing prescription pain medications and other powerful narcotics to addicts - some of whom died of overdoses - said she is being made a scapegoat and that the responsibility for any misuse of the drugs belongs to the users (Los Angeles Times).

Future Of Primary Care? Some Say 'Medical Home'
Imagine a place where your doctor doesn't keep you waiting, does keep you healthy, and works with a whole team of other health care professionals. Oh, and imagine that place makes the doctor's life easier and health care cheaper. This is the second installment of a three part series (NPR).

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