Viewpoints: Barrasso On Employer Insurance; Oberlander On Austerity, Jennings On ‘Pick Your Poison’; Lamm On Your Mother
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Watch For Dramatic Declines In Employer-Provided Health Insurance
Most American workers value their employer-provided health insurance. It gives them the security of knowing they can get the care they need, from the doctor they want, at a price they can afford. All that will change drastically if the president’s health care law remains on the books (Sen. John Barrasso, 8/31).
Health Policy Solutions (Colorado news service): What If It Were Your Mother?
What health care would you deny if it were your mother? My answer is the universal answer: Deny her nothing; I want her to have everything! ... But you cannot build a health care system, or any public system, one mother at a time. ... We cannot pay limited premiums and limited taxes and receive unlimited care (Richard D. Lamm, 8/31).
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Discredited Survey Pushed Myth Of Employers Dropping Health Care Coverage
A recent report by McKinsey and Co. was seized upon by opponents of health care reform to create a new myth: that President Barack Obama’s health insurance reform — the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA — will cause huge numbers of employers to drop health insurance coverage that they currently provide for employees. The McKinsey study was soon shown to be worthless, and McKinsey itself acknowledged that it “was not intended as predictive economic analysis.” But the myth seems not to be completely dead yet (Mark Weisbrot, 8/31).
(Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) Star Tribune: Closer Look Reveals Health Poll’s Flaws
A new health care survey has set off a firestorm by suggesting that 9 percent of U.S. businesses will end medical coverage after the Affordable Care Act takes full effect in 2014. But a closer look at the Towers Watson survey ... reveals that it is not the "Obamacare" indictment it's been made out to be. Among the red flags: ... The [news] release was not accompanied by the usual report detailing the survey's methodology and findings. The e-mail survey also had a 12 percent response rate (8/31).
New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM): Health Care Policy In An Age of Austerity
Rising spending on medical care is not simply a problem of government budgeting; it also affects private insurers, employers, workers, and their families. If we are to slow the rate of growth of health care costs and make both public and private insurance more affordable, dubious reforms like raising Medicare’s eligibility age and reducing the federal share of Medicaid will not suffice. The United States needs systemwide cost control, not budget gimmicks (Jonathan Oberlander, 8/31).
NEJM: Fallback Cuts or Super-Committee Concoction — Choosing Health Care’s Policy Poison
[T]he concern over any major agreement by the super committee — combined with the committee’s difficult political challenge of attracting the majority required to pass an agreement — will most likely result in the triggering of some or all of the law’s automatic health care cuts. The irony is that such an outcome would most likely be a welcome relief to most major players in the health care debate (Christopher C. Jennings, 8/31).
NEJM: Improving Care For Dual Eligibles Through Innovations In Financing
Notwithstanding the efforts of some innovative states, Medicaid and Medicare have shown a striking lack of leadership in addressing the need to coordinate care for dual eligibles. ... Policy innovation should not be viewed as an opportunity for budgetary savings or a way to replace state funds with Medicare funds, but rather as an opportunity to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care for the neediest Americans (Lisa Clemans-Cope and Timothy Waidmann, 8/31).
NEJM: Finding the Meaning in Meaningful Use
First, providers must go beyond making sure they qualify for the incentives and track whether they have the key tools for improving efficiency, quality, and safety. Second, testing after implementation will be essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of clinical information systems in actual use. ... Finally, federal research support is critically needed to ensure that continued innovation, improvement, and safe implementation of these complex EHR systems actually happen (Drs. David C. Classen and David W. Bates, 8/31).
Boston Globe: Perry Can’t Exploit Key Weakness For Romney
[At] least three factors make Perry singularly ill-suited to mount a convincing attack on Romney over health care. First, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the country - more than 25 percent lack coverage. Massachusetts has the lowest rate, with fewer than 2 percent of residents uninsured. Perry will have a hard time making the case that Massachusetts health care is a disqualifying problem without drawing attention to the much more acute problem in his own state (Joshua Green, 9/1).
Chicago Tribune: Docs And Hospitals, Get On Board
The state's ambitious goal: Move half of Illinois' 2.6 million Medicaid patients — that's 1 of every 5 Illinoisans — into managed care by 2015. The overarching strategy is to improve health care for millions of Medicaid patients and save the state tens of millions of dollars. ... But many doctors and hospitals have refused to join the new managed care program. ... those hospital and doctor refusals are forcing hundreds if not thousands of poor, chronically ill patients who had been relying on them to find new doctors and make new health care arrangements (8/31).
Des Moines Register: We Need To Better Reward Caregivers
As Iowans live longer, more of these [direct care] workers will be needed. Yet they may not be there. Direct care workers earn, on average, about $10 an hour. Many have no health insurance. They are undervalued in the medical field. This contributes to an extraordinarily high turnover rate in the profession — about 64 percent annually (8/31).
Related, earlier story from KHN: Senior Boom Creates A Demand For Home Health Workers (Marcy, 8/15)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker’s Officials Cherry-Pick Report
Scott Walker's two leading health care officials, Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith and Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel, released a report at a closed "by invitation only" media briefing purporting to show that the new national health care reform law would have a negative impact on Wisconsin's health insurance market. … In addition to the secretive way in which the publicly funded research was released, Smith and Nickel attempted to bury many of the most important findings in the report in order to create a negative impression of the new health care reform law (Robert Kraig, 8/31).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: For Most People, It Will Be A Wild Ride
Only three states are doing better than Wisconsin in covering their citizens. We achieved this high level of coverage without resorting to controversial government mandates to purchase coverage … The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will bring both opportunities and threats. If you work for a large company that provides health insurance coverage, the impact should be modest. But it will be a wild ride for everyone else (Dennis Smith, 8/31).
Dallas Morning News: Parkland Board Right To Remove CEO And Can’t Stop There
It’s impossible to watch the new $1.3 billion Parkland Memorial Hospital rising from the earth and not think of Ron Anderson. Anderson, Parkland’s chief executive officer for nearly three decades, has spent his professional career caring for others. ... Without him, there would be no new facility, largely funded by bond money and private donations. And it’s time for him to go (8/31).