Viewpoints: Calif.’s Budget, Supreme Court Drug Rulings, The Avastin Debate
Los Angeles Times: California's Grand Budget Bargain That Wasn't
The budget is not realistic, counting on fantastical revenue projections as well as a redevelopment gambit that's likely to be blocked in court. It makes deep cuts in state programs that will have unwelcome repercussions in years to come. And if the revenue projections prove to be as overly optimistic as they seem, there will be more damaging cuts to education, child care and health services. Nevertheless, it's a more earnest effort to clean up the state's budget mess than Sacramento has seen in a decade or more (6/29).
Kaiser Health News: The Most Commonsensical And Hopeless Reform Idea Ever (Guest Opinion)
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Michael Millenson writes: "The way that Michael Long and Sandeep Green Vaswami want to change hospital care may well rank as both the most commonsensical and most hopeless health reform proposal ever. The real question is whether they can show the same tenacity in pursuing their goal as an elderly Jewish woman from Munster, Ind., who has invested nearly two decades in a similar effort" (6/28).
Los Angeles Times: Generic Drug Ruling Leaves Out Consumers
Even Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court justice who wrote the majority opinion saying that makers of generic drugs don't have to warn patients about newly discovered dangers, agreed that the idea made little sense. How is it that the maker of a brand-name pharmaceutical has to provide information about potential side effects but the companies that produce identical drugs don't? If this is the price the public is expected to pay for cheaper drugs, it's far too high (6/29).
The Wall Street Journal: Race Against The Cure
A Food and Drug Administration appeals panel on the use of Avastin for end-stage breast cancer votes today, and FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg will make a final ruling soon. In the meantime, let's underline what an extraordinary moment this is (6/29).
(San Jose) Mercury News: Simple Rule On Mammogram Reports Can Save Lives
There's one thing worse than a medical report that says you have cancer. That's a report that says everything's peachy keen - even though the procedure couldn't really tell. (Soquel resident Amy) Colton won state Sen. Joe Simitian's "There Oughta Be a Law" contest, and he introduced SB 173 to require that patients be told if they have dense tissue. Then, they and their doctors - who already get this information routinely - can decide whether to have further screening. The Senate passed SB 173 by a 34-5 landslide, but the health care industry is ramping up opposition in the Assembly. (6/27).
The Baltimore Sun: How Government Is Like Insurance
Public opinion analyses repeatedly show that Americans, to borrow an oft-repeated phrase, are "philosophically conservative" but "operationally liberal." That is, Americans express a strong belief in hard work and making their way by pluck or even luck, rather than privilege or government assistance. But American majorities also support various social programs and the taxes that pay for them, including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance - not to mention government investments in roads, bridges, communications systems and other public works. Is there a way to rectify this ideological schizophrenia? Actually, there is: It's called "insurance" (Schaller, 6/28).
The Oregonian: We Can't Get Education Reform Without Health Care Reform
The education crisis facing Oregon and other states will continue as long as the cost of health care rises at a level significantly beyond inflation. Until this economic calculus changes, the Legislature's efforts to reform education amounts to little more than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic (Brent Barton, 6/28).
Health Policy Solutions (Colorado): GettingUsCovered Celebrates First Anniversary
The Colorado community will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the GettingUSCovered health plan on July 1. GettingUSCovered is a Colorado-specific program under the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that provides comprehensive health insurance for eligible uninsured Coloradans with a pre-existing condition who have gone without coverage for six months (Marguerite Salazar, 6/29).
Detroit Free Press: Medical Marijuana Law Needs Clarifying, Not Excessive Policing
State Attorney General Bill Schuette's decision to endorse the most restrictive conceivable interpretation of Michigan's new medical marijuana law may tempt police and prosecutors to pursue licensed caregivers for niggling procedural violations. That would be a mistake, and a waste of law enforcement resources at a time when the parameters of the new law are still being debated in both the courts and the Legislature (6/29).
Idaho Press-Tribune: Real Medicaid Reform Requires State Input
For millions of people, Medicaid has become a lifeline. For some, it's a profit center. For others, a nightmare of bureaucracy, entitlement, and too often disappointment. Nationally, health care costs continue grabbing headlines, and the issue will be a major part of the 2012 political debate. Idaho and other states are working hard to create public-private health care partnerships and foster local solutions - and along the way nudge the national Medicaid reform discussion toward common sense and reality (6/29).