Viewpoints: Dems’ Medicare Strategy; Health Disparities; Chicago Hospital Dispute
The Washington Post: On Medicare, Reverting To A Well-Worn Strategy
Democrats may be feeling smug about their campaign against the House Republican budget plan, and as a matter of politics, they're no doubt right. If the goal is to deal with the long-term fiscal challenge, though, the Democrats' political success is apt only to prolong the gridlock and make the eventual solution that much more painful. ... The Democratic National Committee proclaimed in an ad: "Their leaders have called for cutting Medicare, and now for killing it." This is false, inflammatory and, as we said, useful - for winning elections, that is. When it comes to solving the government's most pressing problem, it threatens to set things back (5/9).
Kaiser Health News Guest Opinion: A New Cost Control Idea Paying for Outcomes
[H]ere is the real choice facing states and other payers today -- cut eligibility, cut benefits, raise cost sharing, cut provider payments or fix medical care. Policy makers, consumers, providers and others should ask the question -- before harming beneficiaries or cutting payments -- shouldn't we fix quality first? (John McDonough, 5/9).
The Fiscal Times: They've Got Rhythm, But Not Regulation
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) carried a study earlier this year that claimed one in five implanted cardiac defibrillators were unnecessary. Given the $30,000-plus price tag on such devices, the financial implications of such overuse for insurers like Medicare are huge (Merrill Goozner, 5/6).
Los Angeles Times: Trying To Fill A Hole In Medical Clinic Regulation
In 2007, a state appeals judge handed a Southern California orthopedist named Daniel Capen a victory in his quest to build his own outpatient medical clinic without obtaining a license from state health regulators. California's ability to regulate doctors and outpatient clinics still has not recovered. In ruling for Capen, the court stripped what is now the state Department of Public Health of its jurisdiction over clinics owned by doctors (Michael Hiltzik, 5/7).
The Chicago Sun-Times: Outpatient Center Is Best Use Of Hospital
Since Oak Forest Hospital opened in 1910, it has been a poor farm, a tuberculosis sanitarium, a chronic disease hospital and a pauper's cemetery. Now, Cook County officials want to convert the county-owned facility into an outpatient-only center, but they are running into stiff opposition from those who say the south suburbs can't afford to lose the hospital's inpatient services. ... Access to outpatient specialty care is generally difficult for the poor and uninsured, but those are exactly the services that would be expanded under the county's plan (5/8).
Chicago Tribune: Hospital Showdown
State regulators could do a bizarre thing on Tuesday and order Cook County to run a hospital it doesn't want and doesn't need. Or the regulators could do the right thing and get the heck out of the way (5/8).
The Washington Post: The Government Needs To Remove Telemedicine Roadblocks
Telemedicine technology allows patients to confer with physicians anywhere around the country. But licensing requirements limit physicians' jurisdictions (Fran Turisco, 5/8).
Seattle Times: Race-Linked Health Issues Need Study
I see lots of studies trying to tease out reasons for the divergent health outcomes different population groups sometimes have.
Often the differences are not genetic. Sometimes they are cultural and can be addressed by changes in behavior on the part of caregivers or people in the affected group. The research sets a good example for other professions. It deals with race as an indicator of many factors that drive behavior. It's not stereotyping, which blindly assigns causality to race. It starts by noticing patterns that show up frequently in a particular group, then looks deeper (Jerry Large, 5/8).