Viewpoints: Key Exchange Questions Unanswered; Ongoing Need For CHIP
The New York Times' The Upshot: Health Care Marketplaces Expand, But Answers For Shoppers Remain Scarce
These recent data releases from the [Department of Health and Human Services] paint an upbeat picture of the [health] act’s progress so far. But the lack of detail makes it difficult to know whether its programs are working well for all the groups they were designed to serve. This is not to say that the department is hiding anything; in both cases, the department simply doesn’t have many of those details — a disquieting thought less than two months before open enrollment begins for 2015 (Margot Sanger-Katz, 10/2).
The Washington Post: 'Family Glitch' Could Put Children's Health Insurance At Risk
Before there was an Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) helped plug one of the many coverage holes in the nation’s health insurance system. At an annual cost of $13 billion, most of which comes from Congress and the rest from state governments, CHIP covers some 8 million children in families too well-off to qualify for Medicaid but too poor to afford private insurance. ... In theory, there is no more need for a program like CHIP now that the new health-care law is in effect, with its interlocking system of guaranteed issue and subsidized policies available to the entire under-65 population via Medicaid, employer-paid insurance or reformed individual health insurance exchanges. In practice, while most CHIP beneficiaries may indeed obtain new sources of coverage, CHIP must keep going for a time (10/2).
Los Angeles Times: Obamacare At One Year: A Birthday Assessment
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Some provisions went into effect by the end of that year and some over the following three years. But by popular perception, the act kicked in last Oct. 1, when enrollment for individual insurance plans via the federal and state exchanges opened nationwide. For all intents and purposes, then, Wednesday was Obamcare's first birthday. How's it doing? The inescapable answer is: very well, thank you (Michael Hiltzik, 10/2).
Boston Globe: The Tricky Politics Of Obamacare
I’m admittedly looking for the silver lining in a midterm cloud here, but there’s some evidence that the public is coming around on the Affordable Care Act. Not so long ago, the Republican-controlled House was taking symbolic votes to repeal Obamacare every half hour or so, while conservatives were predicting that Obamacare would sink Democrats this fall. But the public mood has changed, at least somewhat (Scot Lehigh, 10/3).
The New York Times: How To Stop The Spread Of Ebola?
Countries in West Africa have been struggling to stop what has become the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. Now, with the first case diagnosed in the United States, health officials are scrambling to prevent the [disease] from infecting more people. What needs to be done and what lessons have been learned about containing the spread of Ebola from West Africa? (10/2).
USA Today: Texas Ebola Case Exposes Readiness Gaps: Our View
When Thomas Eric Duncan walked into a Dallas emergency room last week, he might as well have been wearing a sign shouting: "Ebola." He had flown in from virus-ravaged Liberia. He told a nurse where he was from. He was suffering from flu-like symptoms. Everything hospitals have been warned to watch for. Yet, he was examined, given some antibiotics and sent home — only to return by ambulance three days later, deathly ill with the nation's first reported case of Ebola (10/2).
USA Today: ER Docs Provide Front-Line Defense: Opposing View
Emergency physicians are critical to America's ability to respond to outbreaks of disease and disasters. This was demonstrated this week when an Ebola patient in Dallas first sought medical care in an emergency department. ... America has the expertise and infrastructure to prevent the massive spread of Ebola as seen in West Africa. U.S. hospitals have equipment to care for patients with infectious diseases and the ability to isolate them for treatment. Alarm by the public, while understandable, is unwarranted. However, this case highlights legitimate concerns (Alex Rosenau, 10/2).
Dallas Morning News: Health Care Gaps Increase Vulnerability To Ebola
Texas Gov. Rick Perry noted that his is one of just 13 states in the United States to have completed U.S. Centers for Disease Control training in Ebola diagnosis, laboratory verification and containment. That means there are 37 states unprepared. The United States’ special vulnerability to Ebola is the enormous holes in our public health and medical care systems, including the nation’s limitations on access to health care. One needn’t have a political position up or down on Obamacare to recognize this (Laurie Garrett, 10/2).
Georgia Health News: Georgia’s Health Is Bad And Getting Worse
By every measure, Georgia is failing to meet the health and health care needs of its citizens. Not only are our health outcomes poor, they are declining relative to the rest of the country. Despite political rhetoric that lauds the health and prosperity of our state, objective data tell a very different story. Through a health lens, our state is going from bad to worse, a trend that will continue without a change in course (Dr. Harry J. Heiman, 10/2).
The New York Times: Young, Brilliant And Underfunded
Every year the National Institutes of Health receives almost $30 billion in federal funds to invest in biomedical research. The bulk of that money goes to researchers who are in many cases esteemed in their fields — but also, in many cases, beyond the age when most scientists make their most important contributions to their fields. ... The N.I.H. is likewise aware of the disparity; its director, Francis S. Collins, has spoken out about the folly of not investing in young scientists, and his organization has taken some small steps to target younger researchers. As a result, the average age of first-time grant recipients has stopped rising. However, the problem still exists, and the N.I.H. does not have a serious plan to fix it (Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., 10/2).
Philadelphia Inquirer: Victims Of Medical Negligence Pay For Reforms
There is a silent crisis today in the tort field: the uncompensated victims of medical negligence. Much has been said about the waning of medical-malpractice litigation in Pennsylvania. There has been a 43.4 percent decrease in medical-malpractice filings in the past 10 years, down from 2,733 per year on average from 2000-02 to 1,546 in 2013. ... Strikingly, all states have experienced large drops in paid claims per physician. From 1992 to 2012, those claims dropped by 57 percent nationally, including 51 percent in those states, such as Pennsylvania, that do not impose a cap on pain-and-suffering awards. ... Medical-malpractice claims, payments, and insurance rates are down due to changes to the tort system. Presently, 31 states, covering roughly 68 percent of the U.S. population, have damage caps in medical-malpractice cases (Shanin Specter, 10/2).
Journal of the American Medical Association: The Challenges Of Reforming Graduate Medical Education Payments
A recent report by an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee on the financing and governance of graduate medical education (GME) considered an important question for health care in the United States: to what extent does the current GME system, which provides the training of interns and residents after medical school, help produce a physician workforce that can deliver efficient, high-quality, patient-centered health care? As the report points out, Medicare has been the most important federal funder of GME programs, and the financial support it contributes (nearly $10 billion in fiscal year 2012) has played a significant role in the helping US teaching hospitals function. But as our committee and other groups have pointed out over the years, the GME system has shortcomings that need to be addressed (Gail Wilensky, 10/2).