Viewpoints: Weighing The Ballot Measures in Miss. And Ohio; The Super Committee’s Task
USA Today: Mississippi 'Personhood' Measure Goes Too Far
For all their sincerity and fervor, proponents of the personhood movement represent a small minority nationwide. In Gallup polls, support for a total abortion ban is almost exactly where it was in 1973 —at just over 20%, despite a rise in backing for limitations. Most people certainly don't want homicide charges brought against women who choose to have abortions or doctors who perform them. No matter how deeply one-fifth of the public considers abortion to be wrong under any circumstance, the nation remains far from the sort of social consensus that would allow them to impose their belief on the other 80% (11/6).
USA Today: Personhood USA: Life Begins At Fertilization
(T)he people of Mississippi have become the target of an unrelenting campaign of scare tactics and doomsday predictions from abortion proponents. These scare tactics are exposed by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, which concluded in its legal analysis that Initiative 26 will not ban birth control or in vitro fertilization, nor criminalize lifesaving medical treatment or accidental deaths (Gualberto Garcia Jones, 11/6).
Politico: Ohio's Battle For Health Care Freedom
Since passage of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation in March 2010, this attempted government takeover of health care has drawn protests across the country from Americans concerned about their loss of liberty. Ohioans went a step further — circulating petitions for an amendment to their state’s constitution to protect health care freedom (Ed Meese and Jack Painter, 11/7).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: We Can Fix Medicare Without Gutting Services
A congressional supercommittee is at work on a deficit-reduction plan, and Medicare is sure to be on the table….We can choose smart policies that both reduce costs and protect health care. Here's how. Each year, we spend billions on care for problems the health care system creates….Problems such as these cause needless spending and unnecessary suffering. So how can we start minimizing them? One common-sense approach is to stop subsidizing them (Restuccia, 11/5).
Denver Post: The Supercommittee's Epic Fail
It's too easy sometimes to give in to despair, unless, of course, you write about politics, in which case you don't really have any other option. Let's take the so-called congressional supercommittee, which is set up — and has always been set up — for what the kids call an epic fail... It's not the likelihood of failure that bothers me so much. It's the expectation of failure, which is the perfect snapshot of our time (Mike Littwin, 11/6).
Des Moines Register: Republicans Are The Ones Who Are Flip-Flopping, Not Romney
Romney is accused of flip-flopping on issues and has come under especially heavy criticism for signing health care legislation as governor implementing an individual mandate. As governor, he was forced to work with a state legislature that was 84 percent Democrat. In order to get anything passed in one of the most liberal states in the country, he was forced to make a few compromises. Romneycare was a bipartisan plan directed at insuring the uninsured, using the private sector to provide those services (Rachel Alexander, 11/5).
The New York Times: A New Battle Over Contraception
The Obama administration made the right call in August when it issued new standards requiring all insurers to cover contraceptives without a deductible or a co-payment, starting next year. The White House now needs to resist pressure from House Republicans, the Roman Catholic Church and other groups out to eliminate or significantly weaken the contraceptives mandate (11/5).
Los Angeles Times: FDA's Off-Label Rule Under Attack
The government's approach to off-label uses has some weaknesses that deter research and make it harder for doctors to learn about new, effective treatments, but simply throwing out the restraints on off-label marketing would only encourage a less formal and rigorous process for drugs and devices entering the market (11/7).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Confusion About PSA Test
Men are confused, partners are concerned and patients with prostate cancer and those who treat them have been outspoken in the last few weeks about a recommendation that men no longer be screened for prostate cancer with a PSA test…. It is thus easy to understand the panel’s rationale, even if you do not agree with their ultimate recommendation. That said, a data-supported, reasonable recommendation is that men at average risk should receive information, including a PSA test if they want it, at an appropriate middle age, although African American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer should receive information at an earlier age, such as 40 or 45 years (Viraj Master, 11/4).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 20 Years Of Progress Hangs In Balance
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended healthy men no longer receive prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests as part of routine prostate cancer screening. This decision is being made by a panel that does not include a urologist or medical oncologist and is chaired by a pediatrician….As the Southeast’s largest urological practice and caregivers of more than 9,000 prostate cancer patients, the physicians of Georgia Urology strongly disagree with the task force’s latest findings (Scott Miller, 11/4).
Bloomberg: A Healthier Way To Provide U.S. Universal Care: Howard Gleckman
Despite the death of CLASS, the challenge of long-term care financing is not going away. So, how can we fix a badly broken system? The best way is probably through universal long-term care insurance. Every major developed country on the planet -- except for the U.S. and the U.K. -- has already gone this route. ... We’ve just had a nasty debate over public health insurance, and it’s clear that Congress isn’t interested in universal coverage. However, there are ways government could create a public mechanism to encourage people to voluntarily buy insurance (Howard Gleckman, 11/6).
Modern Healthcare: From The Purchaser's Perspective
The take-home from this year's survey from Modern Healthcare: Growth in health costs fuels growth in health costs. The burden of employee health costs impacts the operational expenses of hospitals, which in turn fuels overall health cost increases. There's evidence that hospitals and systems, chief among this year's survey participants, are feeling the pinch of health cost increases, which averaged 11% last year, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. The Modern Healthcare survey shows some health systems moving toward high-deductible health plans that require employees to pay out of pocket for significant amounts of their healthcare needs (Leah Binder, 11/7).
Modern Healthcare: No Sleight Of Hand
People often imagine that healthcare information technology works a bit like “The Wizard of Oz,” where a genius behind the curtain does marvelous, mysterious things. But the real benefit of healthcare IT is that it produces very down-to-earth results: better patient care, greater physician satisfaction, higher reimbursement and improved quality and compliance. In short, healthcare IT solves ordinary problems in extraordinary ways (Wayne Winistorfer, 11/7).
Modern Healthcare: A Must-Read
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has taken an important step in launching the first national effort to give consumers electronic access to their laboratory results. We certainly agree with the secretary that “When it comes to health, information is power.” But at a time when all Americans are increasingly relying on electronic technologies to access information they need to make important decisions, we urge the government, other payers, clinicians and consumers to move even further forward. If consumers are to become truly active partners in their own healthcare, they should be able to retrieve their personal medical information readily, including their doctors' notes (Tom Delbanco and Jan Walker, 11/7).
Modern Healthcare: In Search Of Model Behavior
The U.S. healthcare industry is in the midst of a historic shift impacting purchasers and providers alike. Unprecedented economic conditions have magnified the need for quality and cost savings for employers to remain competitive in a global economy; the implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions is under way; and we are soon approaching the uncertainty of a presidential election. All of this is occurring while the trend of rising health benefit costs continues to spike (Andrew Webber, 11/7).
Denver Post: Colorado Needs Concrete Ideas, Not Blue-Ribbon Panels
We don't need another blue-ribbon panel or death-by-a-thousand-cuts budget; we need real leadership that uses the budget shortfall as an opportunity to advance bold reform. Leadership is offering real solutions. Let's try... Medicaid reform.This is hard and it will take a commitment from both parties, but we don't have a choice. We should walk this entitlement reform tightrope together (State Sen. Greg Brophy, 11/7).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Editorial: Don’t Retreat From War On Cancer
Forty years after President Richard Nixon launched the "war on cancer,'' the nation may be on the verge of beating a regrettable retreat, one it can ill afford from either a health or economic standpoint. Minnesota's congressional delegation, whose home state includes world-class medical research centers and providers, needs to wield its growing clout to ensure that scientific research isn't gutted in a shortsighted rush to reduce the nation's $14 trillion-plus deficit.Yes, expenditures need to be reined in. But federal programs need to be weighed carefully, with some safeguarded more than others from the budget axe the congressional deficit "supercommittee" will swing with the release of its historic report 17 days from now (11/5).