Viewpoints: The Dangers Of Targeting The AARP; Health Reform In Rural Areas; Prisoners Faring Better In Calif. Than Disabled
Politico: Don't Play Politics With AARP
In hearings Friday, some of my former congressional colleagues are due to explore the operations of the AARP, the nation's oldest and largest organization representing Americans age 50 and older. Specifically, the hearing is to examine the group's tax status, evaluating it in view of its management structure and funding. Make no mistake, I have not always seen eye-to-eye with AARP - and still don't on several issues. However, as both a former chairman of a major congressional committee and the chief executive officer of a large non-profit organization, I hope the hearings don't result in significant - and unintended - consequences (Billy Tauzin, 4/1).
The New York Times: Economix: The Economics Of Privately Sponsored Social Insurance
To see why the Affordable Care Act is actually trying to mimic employment-based private health insurance, let me propose this definition: Employment-based group health insurance, American style, is publicly subsidized, privately sponsored, community-rated social insurance sold to American employees on formally organized health insurance exchanges. Let me explain how I come to this definition (Uwe Reinhardt, 4/1).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Might Republicans Replace Obamacare With Obamacare?
When, and if, Republicans put forward a detailed health reform plan, we may learn whether they can increase access to coverage and cut costs without the complexity of Obamacare. Until then, what they have given us is a stripped down version of some familiar themes. Perhaps we should call it Obamacare lite (Robert Field, 4/1).
The New England Journal of Medicine: Perspective Launching Accountable Care Organizations - The Proposed Rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program
The creation of ACOs is one of the first delivery-reform initiatives that will be implemented under the ACA. Its purpose is to foster change in patient care so as to accelerate progress toward a three-part aim: better care for individuals, better health for populations, and slower growth in costs through improvements in care. Under the law, an ACO will assume responsibility for the care of a clearly defined population of Medicare beneficiaries attributed to it on the basis of their patterns of use of primary care. If an ACO succeeds in both delivering high-quality care and reducing the cost of that care to a level below what would otherwise have been expected, it will share in the Medicare savings it achieves (Dr. Donald Berwick, 3/31).
Des Moines Register: A Win For Rural America On Health Care
Some of what [the Department of Agriculture] talked about amounted to recasting the law in a "rural" light. State-based exchanges where people can buy coverage and tax credits for small employers who help insure workers will benefit all Americans, no matter where they live. But other aspects of the new law are particularly relevant to rural areas and small communities. One that hasn't gotten much attention: incentives for health providers to locate in rural areas. One of the ironic fears about the health reform is that when millions more Americans get health insurance, there may not be enough professionals to treat them. Someone in rural Iowa may have insurance, but that doesn't do much good if he or she can't find a doctor within a reasonable distance (3/31).
The Sacramento Bee: Obamacare Should Be Defunded Now
Absent action, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that from 2014 to 2023, America will spend $2 trillion - a little over 14 percent of the national debt - on the president's health care reform effort. Simply put, the American people can't afford Obamacare - and would like a defund (Sally Pipes, 4/1).
The Sacramento Bee: Reform Is Working For Small Businesses
One year after Congress passed one of the most sweeping health care reform bills in history, most small-business owners still don't know what's in it for them. And that's unfortunate, because when they learn more, they're optimistic about the opportunities (John Arensmeyer and Beth Sirull, 4/1).
The Seattle Times: Access To Health Care Trumps Political Attacks
All of the "Obamacare" taunts fall flat before the changes the Affordable Care Act brings to regular lives. Stressed-out families in Washington are discovering the federal law eliminates pre-existing conditions for children under age 19. Sick children with new options. As state lawmakers work on more than a half-dozen bills to align state law with new federal requirements, the politics muddle onward. ... Affordable access to health care will be embraced. Empty arguments and those who make them will be deemed irrelevant (Lance Dickie, 3/31).
San Francisco Chronicle: Would Disabled Receive Better Care In Prison?
I'm beginning to hope my son will be sent to prison -- perhaps Death Row. Rob stands accused of no crime. And I am not an unloving mother. Let me explain: Rob has a developmental disability, and California is balancing its budget by gutting the services that keep him alive. The situation is dire enough that I must wonder: Once Rob's services are cut, will Death Row be a safer place for him (Laura Repke, 4/1)?
Los Angeles Times: An Assault On Women's Right To Choose
Imagine you decided to have a medical procedure but state law said that, even though your doctor supported your decision, you had to be screened to see if you were mentally fit for it, and then had to go to a clinic that directly opposes doing the procedure and listen to its spiel before you could go ahead. Most of us would call that unconscionable interference in our ability to make decisions about our own health. Now imagine you're a pregnant woman in South Dakota. Under a law signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard last week, women who seek an abortion will have to wait 72 hours, undergo two visits to physicians to be checked for unspecified physical and mental risk factors, and be proselytized by an antiabortion counseling center before they can have the procedure (4/1).
The Arizona Republic: Is Brewer Trying To Transplant Blame To Feds?
When (Gov. Jan) Brewer says that restoring transplant funding is "only possible through a comprehensive plan" she knows that it isn't true. Everybody knows it. Brewer and the Legislature could restore funding any time they want simply by using some of the money they've found for other programs (E. J. Montini, 4/1).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: The State Of Our Health, And Health Of Our State
Poor health of a city or a county means decreased productivity of the workforce and increased health care expenditures and thus has serious repercussions on the entire state's economy. What is needed? Improving health outcomes requires policy initiatives supporting all four health determinant areas: health behaviors, socioeconomic factors, health care access and physical environment. Of those, policies that focus on reducing poverty and unemployment and on increasing graduation rates and social support will have the biggest impact on improving health across the state (Bevan K. Baker, 3/31).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Does This State Aspire To Help, Or To Deny?
A friend of mine with cerebral palsy spent his childhood lying on the floor or in a bed at Faribault State Hospital. He did not sit upright until he was 13. When he was discharged some years later to a nursing home, he still did not have a decent wheelchair. Now, with support from Medical Assistance, he has a place he can call his own. With the help of rehab therapists, he now can get about with a power wheelchair. ... His life and well-being -- and those of hundreds of men and women like him -- are threatened by changes in Medical Assistance included in the Health and Human Services bills the Republican majority is pushing through the Legislature (Luther Granquist, 3/31).
KQED: The Diet Illusion
[Michelle Obama's] "Let's Move!" campaign promotes healthier school lunches, more physical activity, and better eating habits. All worthy goals. But I'm afraid that some parents will put their kids on a diet. Research shows dieting kids eat more and actually gain weight. Also, dieting often creates conflict. I've worked with young adults who fought with their parents about dieting. Eating a bag of Oreos was an easy way to rebel (Dr. Ed Abramson, 4/1).