Viewpoints: Wyden And Ryan On Their Medicare Plan; Frist On The Need For International Health Aid
The Wall Street Journal: A Bipartisan Way Forward On Medicare
Few issues draw more heated partisan rhetoric than the future of Medicare. Seniors are a reliable and powerful voting bloc, and both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of exploiting Medicare to frighten and entice voters. But turning discussions of Medicare's future into the third rail of American politics does nothing to guarantee that Medicare will continue to be a lifeline for America's seniors (Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Paul Ryan, 12/15).
The Wall Street Journal: The Wyden-Ryan Breakthrough
Democrats are running on Mediscare in 2012 and President Obama has all but called the "premium support" reform un-American, if not the decline and fall of Western civilization. That would seem to put the issue in Newt Gingrich's wheelhouse, but the GOP candidate also claimed in a recent interview that the Paul Ryan reform model is "politically impossible" and "suicide." Well, not so fast (12/15).
Roll Call: Housing And Health Care Go Hand In Hand
Maryland's Shady Grove Station is just 30 minutes from Union Station on Washington's Metro Red Line, but when it comes to the health of these communities, the distance is worlds apart. Residents near Shady Grove can expect to live nine years longer than those living near Union Station. The differences are shaped by many factors, but most have little to do with medical care. In fact, health and longevity are more strongly influenced by social, economic and physical environments than by what happens in the doctor’s office (Raphael Bostic and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, 12/15).
Politico: Investing In Health And Security
While most Americans shy away from the language of foreign aid, polls show that despite continuing economic problems, more than half all Americans support funding for health, including education and emergency relief, in developing nations. … Obama received a sustained standing ovation when he announced his administration has set a goal to get six million people with HIV on anti-retroviral treatment by the end of 2013. These are worthy targets to celebrate. But to achieve it, we must have the support of Congress (Bill Frist, 12/14).
Houston Chronicle: Sending Care Abroad Can Help Those Back At Home
Building programs to deliver life-saving medical care and treatment to children worldwide is an expression of commitment and compassion not just for our own children, but for all of the world's children. Just as the knowledge, skills and judgment I have acquired through my work at Texas Children's Hospital can be applied to my work in Africa, so too does my work there enhance my ability to deliver the highest quality medical care to children here at home (Mark. W. Kline, 12/14).
Bloomberg: Death Panel Shouldn't Kill Better Way To Die
Eventually, life-or-death decisions need to be made. Without a living will, a panel — perhaps made up of family members, perhaps not — makes crucial decisions without the patient's input. With one, the patient has a say. It's long past time for Medicare to encourage patients to recognize that reality, and to plan for it, rather than leave it as an awful surprise for the very end (Ezra Klein, 12/14).
WBUR's CommonHealth blog: For Children's Sake, Tax Soda
As pediatricians, we have never seen a medical problem of the breadth and scope of obesity. Over the last 15 years alone, obesity rates in Massachusetts have doubled, with one in every three children now either overweight or obese, leaving the state with the 33rd worst childhood obesity rate in the nation. Meanwhile, obesity-related medical costs will add some $1.8 billion a year to the Commonwealth's already strained health care system (Dr. Lynda Young and Dr. Barry Zuckerman).
iWatch News: Analysis: A Life-Changing Event
It was four years ago today that I received a phone call from a Los Angeles TV reporter that would change my life, although I certainly didn't realize it at the time. The reporter said she had been told that CIGNA, the big health insurer I worked for back then, was refusing to pay for a liver transplant for a 17-year-old girl, even though her doctors at UCLA believed it would save her life and her family's policy covered transplants. … Five days before Christmas. When Nataline died, so did any desire I had to continue as a spokesman for the insurance industry. It certainly was not the only reason I left my job, but it was the final straw. I simply didn't have it in me to handle the PR around another case like Nataline’s (Wendell Potter, 12/15).
Health Policy Solutions (a Colorado news service): Nurses Lead Program To Change Delivery Of Health Care
As health care reform seeks to improve quality of care, achieve better health outcomes and reduce costs, nurses should be at the forefront to change the delivery of care for high-risk clients. Nurses lead a prevention-based health care program through the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), a national organization based in Denver that pairs low-income women having their first baby with registered nurses to offer guidance during pregnancy and until the child's second birthday. Randomized, controlled trials showed that if you invest early in a child’s health through NFP, you can improve the child’s development and school readiness and reduce injuries and emergency room visits (Elly Yost, 12/14).
The New England Journal of Medicine: The Savings Illusion — Why Clinical Quality Improvement Fails to Deliver Bottom-Line Results
Whereas quality improvement is producing significant benefits for patients, quality initiatives will continue to produce disappointing bottom-line savings as long as the capacity created is used to support growth in patient volume. As the U.S. health care system begins shifting its focus from volume to value, hospitals will need to adapt their cost structures and capacity (Stephen S. Rauh, Eric B. Wadsworth, Dr. William B. Weeks and Dr. James N. Weinstein, 12/14).
The New England Journal of Medicine: The Politics of Emergency Contraception
In our opinion, the secretary's decision to retain behind-the-counter status for Plan B One-Step was based on politics rather than science. It cannot be based on issues of safety, since a 12-year-old can purchase a lethal dose of acetaminophen in any pharmacy for about $11, no questions asked. ... Any objective review makes it clear that Plan B is more dangerous to politicians than to adolescent girls (Drs. Alastair J.J. Wood, Jeffrey M. Drazen and Michael F. Greene, 12/14).