Viewpoints: Is Berwick A Scapegoat?; Rep. Smith On Kagan; Daschle On Health IT
Boston Globe: Senate GOP Scapegoats Another Local Academic
Don Berwick, the prominent pediatrician and Harvard School of Public Health professor who headed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has officially stepped down, another victim of Washington's hyper-partisan politics. ... Berwick's transgression? In the past, he had spoken favorably of Britain’s National Health Service. What's more, he had had the temerity to acknowledge the obvious: Financial resources to pay for health care are limited, and therefore it makes sense to compare the effectiveness of various treatments and decide which are worth funding and which are not (12/2).
The Washington Post: The White House Needs To Come Clean On Elena Kagan And The Affordable Care Act
If the Supreme Court upholds the individual mandate, it will set a precedent for future Congresses and expand the federal government’s reach into our everyday lives. ... The NFL wouldn’t allow a team to officiate its own game. If, as solicitor general, Kagan did advise administration officials on the constitutionality of the president’s health-care law, she should not officiate when the matter comes before the Supreme Court (Rep. Lamar Smith, 12/1).
Minnesota Public Radio: Obama Shouldn't Wait For Supreme Court Ruling To Mount His Defense Of Health Law The moderate middle of America wants something done about both the coverage and the cost of health care. ... Obamacare is the result of years of experience in the Congress and in the country with efforts to both expand coverage and contain costs. While elected Republicans refused to provide votes to pass it, many of their fingerprints are all over the law, as are those of the insurance and health care providers. ... The new insurance rules, including the mandate, are critical to making both insurance and health care markets work (David Durenberger, 12/2).
The Hill: Sharing Information To Improve Health Care
To understand the changes taking place in health care, it is important to understand just how fractured our system has traditionally been. ... One of the costs of this fragmentation is that the flow of information — be it about medical best practices or quality and cost efficiencies — does not easily travel from one point to the next. As a result, both the utilization and the price of the same medicine, for example, can vary widely from one part of the country to another and from one patient to another. The result is variable quality of care and suboptimal pricing (Tom Daschle, 12/1).
The New York Times: Health Care For A Changing Work Force
Work is decentralized, workers are mobile, and working arrangements are fluid. However, the risks of life haven’t gone away: people still need protections. ... They need benefits that they can carry around, like their laptops. As things stand, millions of independent workers go without health and unemployment insurance, protection against discrimination and unpaid wages, and pension plans. It makes no sense (David Bornstein, 12/1).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Medicaid Needs A Timeout
With a mandate from Gov. Corbett and budget-conscious lawmakers to help squeeze $470 million in savings from the state's $10.6 billion in welfare spending, it's probably no surprise that the main focus of welfare officials has been on how they can trim the ranks of those who receive aid (12/2).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Core Principles For A Health Care Discussion
Given the current anti-worker climate, not just in Wisconsin but nationally, we have limited maneuvering room to ensure family-supporting jobs for all workers, public and private. ... There are core principles that must guide current discussions on health care — a vitally important issue that, quite literally, is a matter of life and death (Bob Peterson, 12/1).
Houston Chronicle: Medicare Enrollment Deadline Arrives Earlier
The 394,136 Medicare beneficiaries in the Houston area may have grown accustomed to making changes to their health care coverage right up until New Year's Eve in years past. But this year, if they wait until the ball drops, they'll be too late to adjust their Medicare coverage for 2012. … Medicare beneficiaries should take the time now to learn about their Medicare choices and select their 2012 coverage before the Dec. 7 deadline. The following reminders can help as you review your options (Holly Steinbrecher, 12/1).
Arizona Republic: State Getting Back On The Right Track
When Arizona slashed spending on AHCCCS, the pain was multiplied by the loss of federal matching money — usually a two-to-one match. Now, Gov. Jan Brewer and state hospital executives have come up with a way to recover some of those federal dollars. Without spending a penny of state money. The scale is limited, a Band-Aid on a huge cut. But it's one step toward restoring health coverage for children and relieving the burden on hospitals from unreimbursed care (12/2).
Des Moines Register: Untangling The Right Wing's Health Care Fantasies
A real conservative would say: "Government should stay out of health care. Let Americans meet their medical needs in the free market." ... The political problem for Republicans is that this ideal stands at odds with what the public wants. Rather than admit it, they drag the issue through their hall of funny mirrors — arguing that government shouldn't have a role in health care while simultaneously grumbling that government doesn't do enough (Froma Harrop, 12/1).
Des Moines Register: Iowa Needs To Get HIV-Positive Iowans On The High-Risk Health Insurance
When Iowa’s program opened last year it was expected to get about 1,000 Iowans insured. Now 237 people are signed up. Among those not joining are the very people Congress intended to help: Iowans who are HIV-positive. There are at least 100 who ought to be insured through the high risk pool, but they do not have coverage (12/1).