Viewpoints: Health Law Curbs Savings From OTC Meds; Calif. Wrestles With Managing Medical Marijuana
Roll Call: A Flexible Solution For Cutting Health Costs
[Over-the-counter] medicines play an important role in our nation's health care system, with almost 90 percent of physicians recommending patients try to address many ailments with self-care interventions, including the use of OTC medication, before seeking professional care. With this in mind, it is unfortunate that a provision within the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires millions of patients using flexible spending arrangements, or other tax-preferred accounts, to make an unnecessary trip to their doctor to obtain a prescription to be eligible for reimbursement (Scott Melville and Peter W. Carmel, 10/24).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Yes, Let's Put Health Care On The Table
Yes, let's reimagine our health care system! We could start by considering a unified state system — not one for the poor, one for the veterans, one for the seniors, one for the self-employed and one for employees of large firms, but one system, with cradle-to-grave continuous coverage, a system focused on effective health care for everyone rather than just those wealthy enough to afford it. While the debate rages nationally over the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, many states are reimagining health care, and Vermont is leading the way toward a unified system. Minnesota could be next (Amy Lange, 10/23).
The Connecticut Mirror: Don't Mourn SustiNet; Move On To Reform
Any plan to create jobs by the administration will be incomplete without addressing health care costs and providing small businesses with affordable and dependable health insurance options (Juan A. Figueroa, 10/23).
Modern Healthcare: Not By Money Alone
For more than a decade, consumers and purchasers have been convinced that financial incentives, such as pay-for-performance, are a key to improving our health care system. Results of this concept — a form of extrinsic motivation — have been mixed. ... We are confident that a powerful and complimentary pathway to health care quality lies in tapping into the physician's intrinsic motivation for improvement and professional growth. It is this internally directed motivation that forms the foundation of professionalism and serves as the foundation for the American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification program (Dr. Kevin Weiss, 10/24).
Barron's: CLASS Act Warfare
The "CLASS Act" was supposed to be a memorial to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, but it has turned out to be a tribute to the legislative skills of former Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. ... Actuarially sound insurance and social insurance don't live in the same universe (Thomas G. Donlan, 10/22).
The Dallas Morning News: Ask the Editor: DMN Managing Editor George Rodrigue Responds To Accusations From UT Southwestern's Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky
Our Sunday story on patient safety indicators among Texas' larger hospitals drew a rather heated response from Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center. His University Hospital-St. Paul finished rather badly in the standings, and Dr. Podolsky accused us of cooking the books. His theories are incorrect – we played it straight, and we included all the necessary caveats about the limitations of our data – but maybe, if you care about journalism or health care, you'll find our dialogue to be an interesting debate (10/21).
San Francisco Chronicle: Medical Marijuana — Lost In The Haze Of State Law
Californians need to be honest with themselves: The marijuana industry that is flourishing in plain sight is not really about medicine. … The ideal solution would be for the federal government to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, clearing the way for research and allowing states to establish medical marijuana programs without fear of federal interference. But that is not likely to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, if California wants to argue with a straight face that it has legalized marijuana for medical use — nothing more, nothing less — then it should move toward a Colorado-type structure of real oversight on supply and distribution (John Diaz, 10/23).
Sacramento Bee: Harris Must Do More To Solve Medical Pot Muddle
It's a good thing that some legislators are willing to take on California's medical marijuana morass. … But for the state's top law enforcement officer, that's just not good enough. Patients, legitimate dispensaries, local governments and others desperately need more clarity on what they can and can't do – and they were right to look to (Attorney General Kamala) Harris for help. This past week, the city of Sacramento put its medical marijuana licensing and taxation on hold, an entirely reasonable decision given the general confusion (10/23).
McClatchy/Kansas City Star: Doctor Questions How HPV Vaccine Is Marketed
Diane Harper watched from the sidelines recently as two Republican presidential contenders got tangled up in the provocative politics of HPV vaccinations. The University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School professor and OB/GYN was deeply involved in the patient studies that led to FDA approval of the two HPV vaccines, Gardasil and the less-used Cervarix. ... What troubles Harper are the implicit promises being made for HPV vaccination that it doesn’t live up to (Alan Bavley, 10/24).
Arizona Republic: No Excuses For Not Getting Inoculated Against Diseases
Tattered though it may be, your immunization record shouldn't be filed away with other relics of your childhood and forgotten. Grown-ups need vaccinations, too. The most direct evidence: Every year, 40,000 to 50,000 U.S. adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases, says physician Karen Lewis, medical director of the Arizona Department of Health Services' immunization program (Midey, 10/21).