KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Research Roundup: Nurse Retention, Young Uninsured Adults, Recession And Health, Medicare Rx Prices

Various research papers examine an array of health issues including nurse retention, Medicare prescription drugs, young uninsured adults and the recession's impact on health.

Health Affairs: How Medicare Could Get Better Prices On Prescription Drugs 

This paper examines several ways to reduce the amount of money the federal government spends on Medicare Part D prescriptions – including government and private price negotiations, such as: mandatory rebates; value-based pricing; extended generic and therapeutic substitution; increased formulary diversity; importation; and limited antitrust waivers" (7/30).

Kaiser Family Foundation: Rising Health Pressures in an Economic Recession: A 360-Degree Look at Four Communities

A look at the health consequences associated with the economic recession that began in 2007 and has caused the unemployed Americans to rise by 7.2 million, reaching 14.7 million or 9.5 percent in June 2009. The researchers write, "Compounding the toll of unemployment and under-employment on American families is the loss of health insurance that often results. ... For employers, also struggling in this economy, the burden of health care costs is growing, and further erosion of job-based coverage seems certain" (8/6).

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Wisdom at Work: Retaining Experienced Nurses –

This report outlines successful ways to retain veteran nurses, as revealed in cases studies from organizations recognized for their ability to retain health workers as well as separate research projects that explored the impact interventions had on retaining nurses at hospitals. "Successful strategies included innovative approaches to staffing; employee health and wellness programs; and training and development opportunities for veteran nurses," writes a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation document on the report (7/29).

Urban Institute: Professional Nurse Workforce Dilemmas: Understanding and Responding to a Dynamic and Complex Market 

"Nurses are the basic building blocks of health care," write the authors of this recent paper outlining: issues that influence the supply and demand for nurses; interventions in response to recent nursing shortages; and efforts to address longer-term term shortages. The report draws from previous Urban Institute work, literature, federal survey data and interviews (7/27).

Commonwealth Fund: Rite of Passage? Why Young Adults Become Uninsured and How New Policies Can Help, 2009 Update

This report examines how the various health reform proposals in Congress would help the more than 13 million uninsured adults ages 19-29 to gain insurance coverage and prevent more from joining the ranks of the uninsured. "Loss of health insurance coverage impedes young adults' access to the health system at precisely the time they should be establishing their own relationships with physicians, and puts them and their families at significant financial risk," study author and Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins said in a written statement. "It is critical that reform proposals provide comprehensive, affordable and continuous health insurance that young adults can count on regardless of where they work or whether they are in school" (8/6).

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