Viewpoints: ‘Soaring’ Insurance Premiums, Infant Mortality Ranking And The CLASS Act
The New York Times: Your Soaring Insurance Premiums
Annual premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage soared by 9 percent for families and 8 percent for individuals this year from 2010, far faster than wages or inflation. Republicans, predictably, blamed health care reform for contributing to the rise. In fact, the reforms accounted for only 1.5 percentage points of the increase this year. The value to millions of Americans who are already getting expanded coverage and benefits is undeniable (10/3).
Los Angeles Times: Covering Maternity Care In California
Every American has a stake in the quality of care that pregnant women receive. Good prenatal care, which reduces the number of premature and low-birth-weight babies, is an extremely effective investment, saving $1.37 in future health care costs for every $1 spent (10/4).
USA Today: No Excuse For U.S. Infant Mortality Ranking
Twenty years ago, the United States was doing better than countries such as Cuba, Poland and Estonia in keeping newborn babies alive. Not any more. As other nations improved this key indicator of women's and infants' health, the U.S. lagged, dropping to 41st worldwide in newborn death rates, behind these three countries and 37 more (10/3).
USA Today: Another View: Misleading Neonatal Data Distort Rankings
Infant mortality rates are extremely misleading, contaminated by factors unrelated to health care quality, and plagued by inconsistencies and gross inaccuracies, all of which specifically disadvantage the United States (Dr. Scott W. Atlas, 10/3).
The Wall Street Journal: The Definition Of Insanity
The Obama health care plan passed 18 months ago, and its cynicism still manages to astonish. Witness the spectacle surrounding one of its flagship new entitlements, which is eliciting some remarkable concessions from its drafters. The Health and Human Services Department recently shut down a government insurance program for long-term care, known by the acronym Class. HHS also released a statement claiming that reports that HHS is shutting down Class are "not accurate." All HHS did was suspend Class policy planning, told Senate Democrats to zero out Class funding for 2012, reassigned Class's career staffers to other projects and pink-slipped the program's chief actuary. Other than that, it's full-speed ahead (10/4).
Forbes: An Obama Care Reform Law That Is A CLASS In Fiscal Irresponsibility
An internal Obama administration e-mail recently leaked to the press appeared to reveal that officials would shut down a controversial component of the health reform law — the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS Act. ... HHS called the allegation "flat-out false" and promised that it would release its recommendations for implementing the program in mid-October. And to perhaps minimize the likelihood of another embarrassing e-mail leak, the department last week banned staffers from speaking with reporters without seeking prior authorization (Sally Pipes, 10/3).
Bloomberg: Court Can't Kill Health Reform Without Collateral Damage
If the health care law's individual mandate is unconstitutional, so is much of what the government has been doing for 80 years or so, and it will be the duty of the Supreme Court to sort through the ruins of the federal government as we know it and find a few shards to start building again. We can't help suspecting that the court will choose to avoid this opportunity, by not taking the case, by finding some other grounds for ruling, or by upholding Obamacare (10/3).
Bloomberg: Paul Ryan's Strong Antidote to Obama Health Care
Republicans say they want to "repeal and replace" the health-care law President Barack Obama signed last year, but they are a lot more specific about the first half than the second. Representative Paul Ryan wants to bring some balance to the slogan. … That important caveat aside, however, Ryan is on the right track. A credible conservative alternative to Obamacare has to involve changing the tax code (Ramesh Ponnuru, 10/3).
The Dallas Morning News: Parkland's Culture Question
In the early hours of Aug. 17, Tamica Millard was awakened from a medicated sleep and discharged abruptly from Parkland hospital's psychiatric emergency room. Groggy and clad only in flimsy hospital gowns, the 24-year-old wandered aimlessly for nearly six hours until her worried family found her on a street near the hospital…. The case of Tamica Millard is about more than a mistake by an employee, as it reflects previous troubling reports of mishandled care. It reinforces a concerning pattern that, in this instance, seems to view observance of proper procedures as an unnecessary, time-consuming hassle. This is a culture that Parkland must change (10/3).
The Baltimore Sun: Baby Boomers: Looking At Retirement, Not Facing Reality
Clearly, we are in denial. We are, according to this survey, more tuned in to the fact that we will need money for some kind of long-term care, whether at home or in a facility. But we haven't a clue where that money will come from. Most of those surveyed said they thought Medicaid would pay, despite the fact that Medicaid has become the soft target for state and federal budget cutting (Susan Reimer, 10/3).
WBUR: Why 'Transitions' In Health Care Are Dangerous And How To Avoid Them
With more than 1.6 million Americans now living in nursing homes, many of us are all too familiar with the debilitating cycle of a nursing home admission followed by repeated hospitalizations, a spiraling into decline, and ultimately death. ... A new study released this week by Brown University and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, confirms what many of us have observed: health care transitions, such as moves in and out of the hospital from a nursing home, do not lead to positive outcomes. (Fran Cronin, 10/3).
Kansas Health Institute: Options For Health Insurance Coverage Need Careful Consideration By Consumers
With the economy weighing heavily on the wallets of Kansas consumers, and health reform still confusing to many, Kansans have more to think about than ever as they make health insurance decisions this fall. With rising medical costs and new coverage laws, now is a good time to review your options, whether you receive coverage through your employer or are self-employed (Sandy Praeger, 10/3).
Minnesota Star Tribune: Milestone: University Of Minnesota's Medical Complex
A midday ceremony marked the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the first University (of Minnesota) Hospital building, Elliot Memorial Hospital, and the restoration and rehanging of that facility's original dedicatory plaques. Meanwhile, immediately below that event on the newly redesigned Mayo Plaza, tours were offered of the newly relocated Minnesota NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) Center. … Monday's two events, above and below ground, shared a theme: It takes the combined muscle of taxpayer support and philanthropy to make strides in medical research and education (Lori Sturdevant, 10/3).