KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s OpEds: Health Law And Private Insurance; Corporate Wellness Programs; Geriatric Mental Health

Economy Tied To Health Insurance The Denver Post
Once again, average health insurance rates are expected to rise by double digits next yearas they have every year since 2002. ... Given that Obama would veto a repeal, we hope the next Congress instead begins the hard work of re-crafting the new law with a goal of breaking the annual spikes in cost (The Denver Post, 11/1).

The Merits Of Medicare Advantage Houston Chronicle
I'm convinced that, when it comes to controlling costs and improving quality, the way we care for our patients is part of the solution, not part of the problem. So let's forget for a moment that TexanPlus is a Medicare Advantage plan and look at the innovations that it has achieved (Dr. Miguel Franco, 10/31).

America's Awful Healthcare Mother Jones
We may spend more on healthcare than any other country in the world, but hey - at least we get a first class system in return for all that dough, right? I mean, aside from all those poor schmoes who don't have health insurance. At least the rest of us get great healthcare, don't we? No… With the exception of available technology, we do not rate well against comparable countries (Kevin Drum, 10/31).

Obama Is Dismantling Private Health Care The Washington Examiner
Having failed to deliver a death blow to the (private insurance) industry, Obama's new strategy is apparently death by a thousand cuts – some of them very deep cuts. Consider a little-known requirement of "Obamacare" called the Medical Loss Ratio (Bill Wilson, 10/30).

Gazette Opinion: Mental Health Care Ought To Be Covered Like Other Care Billings Gazette
For the new federal health care law to truly cover the uninsured, it will have to ensure mental health parity. That ought to be a bipartisan goal in Congress and in the Montana Legislature. If every plan covered mental illnesses like other illnesses, fewer Americans would be forced into poverty and public programs. Meanwhile, more people could get the right care at the right time - and keep working (11/1).

How To Make Corporate Wellness Work (Minneapolis-St.Paul) StarTribune
Rather than implementing a 'wellness program,' implement a new 'well-being benefit' of employment that employees help to create. The benefit should be derived from an employee survey of the company's culture and address all areas of well-being. Teams or task forces should be created to ensure this is an employee-driven benefit, not a HR or leadership initiative to cut health care costs (Rosie Ward, 10/31).


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