Viewpoints: Walmart’s Cuts In Insurance Grow From Health Law; Online Marketplace Still Lacks Transparency
Los Angeles Times: Wal-Mart's ACA-Approved Path To Cut Costs: End Part-Timers' Coverage
Wal-Mart gave lawmakers a concise lesson in economics Tuesday when it disclosed that it would no longer offer health insurance to yet more of its part-time employees. ... I'll just argue that what we're seeing is the entirely predictable result of the employer mandate in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- a mandate, by the way, that Wal-Mart lobbied for. The company was offering health benefits for most employees at the time, and may simply have been trying to force its competitors to do the same (Jon Healey, 10/7).
The Wall Street Journal: Everyday Low Benefits
Wal-Mart endorsed ObamaCare in 2009 and helped drag the bill through Congress, and so far it hasn’t recanted. By holding back economic growth and incomes, perhaps the law is expanding the retailer’s customer base. Another plus—at least for management—is that Wal-Mart can jettison its employees into the ObamaCare insurance exchanges (10/7).
The New York Times' The Upshot: HealthCare.gov Still Suffers From Lack Of Transparency
The new chief executive of HealthCare.gov, Kevin Counihan, is setting expectations really high for the website's performance during its second year of open enrollment, set to begin in mid-November. In an interview with Alex Wayne of Bloomberg News, Mr. Counihan said his goal was to create a consumer experience so satisfying that it would result in "raving fans" for the insurance shopping site. But here’s one big hurdle: The site still won’t have any tools to allow consumers to see which doctors and hospitals are covered by individual insurance plans (Margot Sanger-Katz, 10/7).
The New York Times’ Room For Debate: Did The Blockbuster Prozac Help Or Hurt Medicine?
Prozac’s introduction by Eli Lilly and Company in 1988 transformed not only the treatment of depression but also our views and expectations of pharmaceuticals. But was it a true step forward in medicine, or did it just open the flood gates to aggressive marketing and commercial branding of drugs? (10/7).
USA Today: Health Care's Innovator's Dilemma
America is facing a crisis. One that has the potential to bankrupt our country and compromise the well-being of our 300 million citizens. Unsurprisingly, I am talking about the state of our health care industry. Consider the fact that the Affordable Care Act represents the first real major reform in decades. Or look at the disheartening data released by investor Mary Meeker: While U.S. per capita spending on health care is more than three times the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) average, our life expectancy and other health care indicators fall behind countries that spend far less (Aaron Levie, 10/7).
Politico: Ebola is Bad. But the Flu Is Worse.
As we stare with horror at the ravages of Ebola, it is easy to overlook an old familiar foe: the flu. Ebola has claimed fewer than 4,000 lives globally to date, none in the United States. Flu claims between 250,000 and 500,000 lives every year, including over 20,000 in the United States—far more American lives than Ebola will ever claim (Kendall Hoyt, 10/7).
Sacramento Bee: Endorsement: Dave Jones Best Choice For Insurance Commissioner
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has shown himself to be an aggressive regulator and has earned a second four-year term. ... Jones has pushed insurance companies to provide greater coverage for treatment of autism and mental health care, and advocated for more disclosure by insurance companies about costs and benefits of policies. He is a leading proponent of Proposition 45, which would grant his office control over health insurance. The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board opposes that initiative, believing it would undermine the Affordable Care Act. But Jones also acts a check on Covered California, the agency that is implementing Obamacare in California (10/8).
CT Mirror: Connecticut And The Nation Need More Hispanic Nurses
The health disparities that affect Hispanic/Latino communities have become an extensive and complex problem for our healthcare system. As a group, they have the largest number of uninsured and are often dealing with various language, cultural and access to care issues. While the Institute of Medicine notes that the root causes of health disparities are multifactorial, the under-representation of minority nurses in healthcare is considered a significant part of the problem. One of the ways targeted to alleviate some of the burden and to improve their health outcomes is to increase the number of Hispanic nurses (Jessica Alicea-Planas, 10/8).
Arizona Republic: A New County Hospital: Yes, No, Maybe, And … Who Knows?
Diligent voters will have a hard time with Proposition 480. There are a lot of crosscurrents. They begin with the broad policy question of how to provide health care to the poor. There is a Maricopa County health care district that owns a hospital and a network of primary-care clinics. The district wants voters to approve a $1.6 billion bond (principal and interest) to refurbish its facilities. The bulk of the money would go to build a new hospital. This used to be the way health care was provided to the poor: publicly-owned facilities in low-income areas. But the county system is now pretty much a relic (Robert Robb, 10/7).
San Francisco Chronicle: Screening, Though Flawed, A Useful Tool In Fighting Lung Cancer
I endorse screening in centers with committed physicians from multiple specialties with expertise in managing patients with lung nodules as well as lung cancer. Also, counseling patients about potential false positives before screening is important to prepare them for this likely outcome. While lung cancer screening is not without drawbacks, this is the first effective screening test for the No.1 cause of cancer-related death in this country (Dr. Benson Chen, 10/8).