KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Sebelius On Improving Care; Samuelson On Health Costs; Durenberger On Exporting U.S. System

The Kansas City Star: Time For A Partnership For Better Health Care 
[F]ar too many Americans still go without the best care. That's why the Obama administration has joined with Truman Medical Centers and more than 2,500 other hospitals nationwide, along with thousands of employers, health insurers, provider organizations and patient advocates, to launch the Partnership for Patients … Over the next three years, we will reduce preventable injuries in hospitals by 40 percent. And we will cut hospital re-admissions by 20 percent, targeting the return trips that should never have occurred (Kathleen Sebelius and John W. Bluford, 9/29). 

The Washington Post: Stuck In A Vicious Health-Care Cost Circle 
Given the financial crisis, it was a mistake for President Obama to stage a grand health-care debate. ...  Having made one mistake, Obama then compounded it by concentrating on the wrong health-care problem. Though steeped in a high moralism, the case for insuring the uninsured was never as strong as it seemed. ... Meanwhile, fee-for-service medicine propels the cost spiral upward (Robert J. Samuelson, 9/29).

Minnesota Public Radio: Export Our Health Care Industry? Why - Because It Works So Well For Us?
The Alliance for Healthcare Competitiveness wants the government to build its foreign free-trade policy around the health care industry. In case you think this is a good idea, think twice. These businesses claim to be the best job producers in a down economy and to produce products essential to "the best health care system in the world." All true. But unlike every other legitimate business in America, they make money off the most costly, inefficient, non-productive and profitable enterprise in the world (David Durenberger, 9/30). 

Los Angeles Times: An Autism Treatment Worth Funding
State law requires insurers to include coverage for autism in comprehensive healthcare policies. Now, lawmakers want to go a step further, requiring coverage of a particular autism treatment: applied behavioral analysis. Insurers are resisting. They don't question the effectiveness of the therapy; they just say it doesn't fit the definition of "medical" treatment. ... State lawmakers have passed a bill to overcome the insurers' resistance, and Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it (9/30). 

Chicago Tribune: Moving To Community Care 
We suspect Gov. Pat Quinn isn't entirely serious about his threat to shut down seven state facilities and lay off 1,900 workers to close what he says is a $313 million budget gap. ...  The governor's plans would launch an overdue revamp of the state program serving the developmentally disabled — people with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other challenges (9/30).  

Health Policy Solutions (Colorado news service): Health Foundations, Hospital Industry At A Critical Turning Point
We need to jettison these large, cumbersome hospitals and turn them over to the private sector where they will be run like businesses. In the future, if hospitals need to be closed or staff laid off, a disciplined management team will get the job done or the market will punish them. ... And, if capital is necessary, then the private sector managers will get investors to cough it up, not hold out a begging cup asking for donations and volunteers. Those days are over (Francis M. Miller, 9/29).

San Francisco Chronicle: CNA Members: Nurses Protect Patients
To suggest that nurses who fight to provide safe care every minute of every day are using the death of one of our patients for our own gain is genuinely disturbing. ... The fact is that nurses unions make for safer care. The presence of a professional nurses union in a hospital was associated with a 6.8 percent reduction in deaths from heart attacks, according to a 2004 Cornell study of 344 California hospitals (Genel Morgan and Rita LaBarge, 9/30).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: It's Still Crucial To Vaccinate Kids
Once again, we have seen a disease that most people think of only in historical terms appear in the Milwaukee area. Recently, the virus that causes measles tagged along with a child who was new to this country - Milwaukee County now has three confirmed cases…. Vaccines provide us with one of the best ways we can protect our children from very real and scary diseases (Rose Locander, 9/29).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.