Viewpoints: Advice For The Super Committee And Pundits; Calif. Health Insurance Regulation; NEJM On Episodic Payment
Forbes: Raising The Medicare Retirement Age And The Affordable Care Act
As a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force, I supported gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age (even though the ultimate proposal did not include that option). I think it’s a good idea now even though it wouldn’t have been a couple of years ago. … The bottom line is that raising the Medicare retirement age primarily affects higher income older people, who are more likely to be able to keep working and can afford the premiums even if they don’t (Len Burman, 8/24).
The Seattle Times: Sen. Murray Must Balance All Needs On ‘Super Committee’
The line-drawing has begun. The Washington State Labor Council, the Washington Community Action Network, the Washington State Medical Association, AARP Washington and other Democrat-oriented groups are pressing Murray for a "listening session" about the importance of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Murray supports those programs. She knows how important they are. But a public "listening session," called at this time by these groups, feels more like an exercise to paint our senior senator into a corner (8/24).
Fox News: Think The Government Handled The Financial Crisis Badly? Just Wait, Because Health Care Is Next
If you have been watching the unraveling of our economy over the past several weeks, then what is coming very soon to health care should really get your attention. ... Simply substitute Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former White House budget direct Peter Orszag with CMS director Donald Berwick, and economic advisor Larry Summers with health care adviser Nancy Ann Deparle, and you get an idea of the types of individuals and the level of competence of those who are now at the helm of the health care system (Dr. Hal Scherz, 8/24).
The Baltimore Sun: Beyond The Individual Mandate
The best alternative requires a major overhaul of the tax code. To encourage taking health insurance, the federal government should offer a large, refundable tax credit (in the amount of a standard health insurance plan) to those with proof of coverage. Not only would this encourage those with financial means to buy health insurance, it would also encourage those who are eligible for public services — Medicaid and CHIP — to enroll … If the individual mandate is ultimately deemed unconstitutional, I hope rational minds in Congress will agree to accept this alternative (Dr. Cedric Dark, 8/24).
Des Moines Register: Perry’s Texas Is No Health Care Model
Now that the Texas governor has thrown his hat into the Republican ring, he is changing his tune on an issue he made national headlines over in 2007: an executive order he issued that required all girls entering sixth grade in Texas to be vaccinated against a virus that can cause cervical cancer. … The governor required that kids receive a series of three shots costing nearly $400 to ward off genital warts. But he did precious little to help provide 1.4 million kids with insurance coverage for health conditions like diabetes, broken bones and the flu (8/24).
iWatch News: Analysis: Doctors Treating Sick In Africa Now Aid U.S. Uninsured
I wish every candidate for public office would be required to spend an hour or two volunteering at one of the free clinics operated throughout the country by a nonprofit organization, Remote Area Medical . The group bills itself as “pioneers of no-cost health care.” ... I’m betting they would finally understand just how much the U.S. health care system has deteriorated in recent years – and why, even now, health care reform must go forward (Wendell Potter, 8/25).
New England Journal of Medicine: Opportunities and Challenges for Episode-Based Payment
Although episode-based payment creates strong incentives for discouraging unneeded services within episodes of care, it does not discourage unnecessary episodes. In fact, by aligning the financial interests of physicians and hospitals, such payment methods could boost the number of episodes of care delivered, unless payers also establish mechanisms to ensure that care is appropriate. Nevertheless, there’s ample reason to push forward (Robert E. Mechanic, 8/25).
Los Angeles Times: California Needs To Be Able To Regulate Health Insurance Premiums
A bill to let the state block excessive health insurance premiums is running into trouble in the Senate, where critics complain about its cost, its impact on large groups and the power it could give regulators with an ax to grind. ... But in any event, lawmakers shouldn't lose sight of the basic problem the bill would address: the inability of regulators to do anything but complain about unreasonable increases in premiums (8/25).