Viewpoints: While Health Care Demand Rises, Medical Schools Turn Away Thousands; Jeb Bush On State-Based Medicaid Changes
The New York Times: America's Health Worker Mismatch
Despite high unemployment, there is one bright spot in the economy: while nearly all other sectors shrank during the recession, jobs in health care increased by more than 1.2 million, with most paying salaries of over $60,000. And demand for those workers will keep improving. ... But for American health workers, this is hardly good news. Despite a labor shortage, our crowded medical professional schools are turning away hundreds of thousands of qualified applicants; to fill the gap, we are importing tens of thousands of foreign workers. ... (schools in the health professions) have done little to expand their output. Even worse, ... public medical school tuitions have increased 312 percent (Kate Tulenko, 9/13).
The Washington Post: Health Care's Heap Of Wasteful Spending
How much waste is there in this nation's health care system? Try $765 billion. That's the estimate from the Institute of Medicine, covering everything from unneeded tests to excessive administrative costs. The estimate is for 2009, when health spending totaled $2.5 trillion. "Waste" was 31 percent, or almost one dollar in three (Robert J. Samuelson, 9/13).
USA Today: Bold Ideas Come From The States, Not Washington
Our Medicaid health insurance program is dysfunctional and costly. Instead of exponentially expanding this broken system, why not allow states to implement consumer-driven options that could be less costly with better health outcomes? Unlike Washington, states can't just print money, throw it at a program, and cross their fingers. Because most states are required to balance their budgets, they have become leaders in right-sizing government and investing tax dollars wisely (Jeb Bush, 9/13).
Christian Science Monitor: Health-Care Costs Shift From Employer To Employee
Employer outlays for workers' health insurance slowed from a 9 percent jump last year to less than half that — 4 percent — this year, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Foundation. Good news? Our political class believes it is. ... But both sides ignore one big reason for the drop: Employers are shifting healthcare costs to their workers. ... When it comes to health insurance, employees increasingly have to choose between health-insurance policies with sky-high premiums or with sky-high co-payments and deductibles. And since they can't afford the former they're opting for the big co-payments and deductibles – or no insurance at all. The result is fewer visits to the doctor and less use of other medical services (Robert Reich, 9/13).
Bloomberg: Romney Re-Explains Why He Can't Be Trusted On Health Care
Over the weekend, Mitt Romney muddied the waters about where he stands on health-care reform with a series of vague statements from himself and his campaign about health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. His floundering is a subset of a larger problem: He has committed himself to a set of positions that won't allow for a replacement of Obamacare with something that actually fixes the problem of tens of millions of Americans without health insurance, including those with pre-existing conditions (Josh Barro, 9/13).
The Statesman Journal (Oregon): Health Care System In Future Will Require More Partnerships
Seismic change is coming to health care. ... Our current health care system excludes millions from decent coverage, is geared toward crisis care rather than keeping people healthy and produces outcomes that rank us well below other first-world countries. ... The Salem Health Board of Trustees sets the direction for Salem Hospital, West Valley Hospital and Willamette Health Partners. We pay attention to what people tell us they want, how health care is changing and how the system needs to change. We have determined that to thrive, health systems of the future must: Offer a depth and breadth of clinical services to a broader geographic area, work with physicians to integrate patient care so it is coordinated and effective, reduce variation in cost of care among physicians (Ken Sherman Jr., 9/13).