KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s OpEds: Medicare Reimbursements Threaten Health Care; Battling Health Care Fraud; A National Standard On Nurse-Patient Ratios

Low Medicare Pay For Doctors Puts Health Reform At Risk The Washington Post
The Senate on Friday passed the annual "doc fix" -- but this short-term stay on the reimbursement rates for physicians who treat Medicare patients does not resolve the underlying problem: Those reimbursements are woefully below market. And if Congress does not address this, the much-heralded health-care reform is at risk (Dr. Michael Newman, 6/19).

Even With The 'Grandfather Clause' Protection, Change Is Coming To Most Health Plans Kaiser Health News
Insurance changes all the time. And it's not usually for the better. … The point of health care reform is stop and, eventually, reverse this trend--to make sure everybody has access to an insurance policy, to make sure insurance policies actually provide adequate protection, and then to make sure coverage is affordable both for individuals and the country as a whole (Jonathan Cohn 6/21).

Congress Must Repeal Obama's Health-Care Rationing Plan The Kansas City Star
The media and the administration are finally realizing what the majority of Americans and I knew all along: Contrary to the president's promises, this bill is a takeover of the American health care system. It will not improve health care in America. In fact, it will likely make it worse (Sen. Pat Roberts, 6/20).

Fight Medicare Fraud The Orlando Sentinel
The health-care-reform law passed earlier this year gives federal authorities some new firepower to fight fraud in Medicare, the federal program that covers more than 44 million elderly and disabled Americans, including more than 3 million in Florida. But more weapons need to be added to the federal arsenal (6/21).

Is There A Nurse In The House? The New York Times
Cost-cutting at hospitals often means fewer nurses, so the number of patients each nurse must care for increases, leading to countless unnecessary deaths. Unless Congress mandates a federal standard for nurse-patient ratios, those deaths will continue (Theresa Brown, 6/18).

Tracking What Health Insurers Actually Spend On Health Care St. Louis Post Dispatch
Beginning next year, health insurance companies will be required to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care for the people they cover. … The implications are significant. Companies that don't meet the standards will be required to refund part of the premiums to customers (6/20).

The Genome, 10 Years Later The New York Times
Decoding the genome has led to stunning advances in scientific knowledge and DNA-processing technologies but it has done relatively little to improve medical treatments or human health (6/20).

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