Viewpoints: Gov. Daniels’ Reversal?; IPAB’s Medicare Fix; Texas Medicaid Cuts
The New York Times: Doctor, Patient And Politician
Centrist Republicans loved it when [Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels] began urging the party to keep its eye on the deficit-reduction prize and stop obsessing about social issues. ... He then went home and announced that he would sign a bill to strip Planned Parenthood of Medicaid financing. ... Daniels's moderate fans thought abortion was precisely the issue he was calling on Republicans to set aside. Right now, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives can barely talk about anything else (Gail Collins, 5/4).
Denver Post: Guest Commentary: The Wrong Way To Fix Medicare Spending
Reining in skyrocketing healthcare costs is rightly a central focus of the budget debates occurring between Congress and the White House. Unfortunately, one of the central tools touted to tackle these soaring costs -- the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) -- will surely do more harm than good. ... While IPAB's authority is restricted, it can reduce Medicare's reimbursement rates for medical service providers. This is sure to ration care or increase consumer cost sharing, since if the item cannot be paid for under Medicare consumers will have no choice but to purchase it or go without (Julie Reiskin, 5/5).
Journal of the American Medical Association: Accountable Care Organizations and Community Empowerment
Would the discussions be any different if this community of patients participated as equal principals in forming ACOs alongside their physicians and hospital representatives? ... The high and accelerating increases in the cost of health care and the limited roles of patients in decision making central to health and health care delivery are too real to ignore. Decision making by distal proxies such as elected legislators may no longer be enough to address the United States' mounting problems with health care, outcomes, and costs (Dr. Benjamin F. Springgate and Dr. Robert H. Brook, 5/4).
Houston Chronicle: Medicaid Cuts Would Hurt Autistic Children, Adults
The state budget proposal under consideration by the Legislature would substantially underfund the Texas Medicaid program. One of the organizations that would be severely affected by the proposal is Avondale House, a nonprofit that has been providing services to Houston area children and adults most severely affected by autism since 1976 (Ann Turnbach, 5/4).
Houston Chronicle: Weighing Options: Reasonable Initiatives To Curb Childhood Obesity Deserve Better Than Fat Chance
Here in Texas, Brownsville's Democratic Sen. Eddie Lucio has filed a bill that would not only help curb obesity, but would provide significant additional revenue to the state. ... The tax would most likely also drive down soda consumption, resulting in a $1 billion annual reduction in obesity-related health costs. ... We hear a lot about government interference in free enterprise. But when it comes to childhood obesity, that might be a very good thing (5/4).
Journal of the American Medical Association: Consideration of Insurance Reimbursement for Physical Activity and Exercise Programs for Patients With Diabetes
[C]umulative evidence ... in the area of physical activity and exercise provide solid evidence for public policy makers to consider structured exercise and physical activity programs as worthy of insurance reimbursement to promote health, especially in high-risk populations (Dr. Marco Pahor, 5/4).
Journal of the American Medical Association: Patient-Physician Communication
Science and technology have advanced enormously over the last decades but ultimately the best medical care requires deep knowledge of science as well as the skills to communicate effectively with patients. If the medical profession wishes to maintain or perhaps regain trust and respect from the public, it must meet patients' needs with a renewed commitment to excellence in the communication skills of physicians. It is time to make this commitment (Dr. Wendy Levinson and Dr. Philip A. Pizzo, 5/4).