Viewpoints: Insuring Medical Treatments Are Well Researched; GOP Govs Reluctance On Exchanges May Backfire
The New York Times: Testing What We Think We Know
By 1990, many doctors were recommending hormone replacement therapy to healthy middle-aged women and P.S.A. screening for prostate cancer to older men. Both interventions had become standard medical practice. But in 2002, a randomized trial showed that preventive hormone replacement caused more problems (more heart disease and breast cancer) than it solved. ... Then, in 2009, trials showed that P.S.A. screening led to many unnecessary surgeries and had a dubious effect on prostate cancer deaths (Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, 8/19).
Bloomberg: Republican Governors Should Want Homemade Exchanges
Even though the Health and Human Services Department staffers who are working on plans for the federally imposed exchanges are trying their best to get input from insurance officials in every state, they will be hard-pressed to design unique exchanges for each of the states that refuse to design their own. It's more likely that the federally operated exchanges will have a one-size-fits-all quality. And this will make the states’ health-insurance systems more difficult and costly to administer (Elena Marks, 8/19).
Politico: A Health Mandate Businesses Might Like
The health reform law may have been upheld by the Supreme Court, but it won't alter the alarming fact that employee health costs have exploded to become the third largest expense in business today, eroding the financial health of thousands of companies. That's because the cause of this health cost crisis has nothing to do with the health law, but is instead due to the declining health of the American worker. A recent study found that an astonishing 86 percent of all full-time employees in the U.S. -- that's six of every seven workers -- are now either overweight or have a chronic (but usually preventable) health condition that significantly raises their health costs (Darrell Moon, 8/20).
Los Angeles Times: A Flawed Medi-Cal Fix
The state Senate's top Democrat, Darrell Steinberg, is making a last-minute push for a bill that would allow some injured people to seek recovery for medical bills that are larger than what their doctors and hospitals actually collected. The goal, Steinberg says, is to generate more money for Medi-Cal, the state's version of Medicaid. Indeed, state and federal laws have made it difficult for Medi-Cal to recover much of what it spends on medical care even when the victims win judgments against the people who injured them. But Steinberg wants to solve that problem the wrong way (8/17).
The Dallas Morning News: Parkland Requires A Turnaround Mind-Set
If there was any doubt that tough and decisive hands-on leadership is needed at Parkland Memorial Hospital, recent headlines drive home the point: first, federal monitors' most recent harsh critique of Parkland's reform efforts, then the hospital's stunning announcement last week that it is severely understaffed and in "crisis mode" (8/19).
Health Policy Solutions: Peaceful Death At Risk When Emotion Overwhelms Good Medicine
Doctors often try to dissuade patients and their families from seeking treatments they believe to be futile, and as a result, many choose instead to focus on care that enriches their quality of life. But there are some who challenge this practice, saying that doctors who discourage further treatment and allow patients to die comfortably and in peace are killing them. The critics suggest that doctors who recommend against further treatment show a lack of respect for the elderly, the disabled and the very sick. They say (maybe even believe) that doctors and hospitals have financial incentives for not treating them. They fail to accept that the reality is exactly the opposite (Dr. Aroop Mangalik, 8/19).