Viewpoints: The Role Of IT In Transforming Health Care; The GOP Raises Super Committee Stakes
The New York Times: Our High-Tech Health-Care Future
Why can't Americans tap into the ingenuity that put men on the moon, created the Internet and sequenced the human genome to revitalize our economy? I'm convinced we can. We are in the early phases of the next big technology-driven revolution, which I call "consumer health." When fully unleashed, it could radically cut health care costs and become a huge global growth market (Frank Moss, 11/9).
The Wall Street Journal: A Super Offer Rejected
Pessimism is growing about the Congressional super committee on deficit reduction, so we were eager to listen yesterday when Pat Toomey called with the latest lowdown. Most notably, the Pennsylvania Senator explained why he and his five fellow Republicans have decided to put new tax revenues on the table (11/10).
Modern Healthcare: Ideas For Supercommittee
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—the "supercommittee"—is struggling to develop a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years. And this is just the early round of budget battles that are likely to continue for years, largely driven by massive spending on entitlement programs, especially Medicare. The supercommittee must meet its target in the short term, but it also can take the long view in proposing changes that will grow over time to strengthen Medicare and protect taxpayers (Grace Marie-Turner, 11/9).
Kaiser Health News: Different Takes: Shifting Vets From Medicaid To The VA Is A Win-Win
Washington state officials have created a program, which has since been copied by other states, to identify veterans who have fallen through the cracks in terms of the benefits they earned with their military service. Read commentaries about the program by Bill Allman, who developed and now manages the Washington State Health Care Authority's program, and from Alex Deluao of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (11/9).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Mississippi Wisely Rejects 'Personhood'
If a life-begins-at-conception ballot measure fails in the Bible Belt state of Mississippi, where can it win? That's the question that backers of the southern state's anti-abortion "personhood" amendment should be weighing after voters on Tuesday soundly defeated the controversial, unworkable initiative…. No matter where this ill-advised initiative pops up next, voters should reject it (11/9).
San Francisco Chronicle: Failed Anti-Abortion Measure Should Serve Warning
In most of the county, the wars over abortion rights tend to be fought on the margins: parental choice, public funding, waiting periods. Rarely has so brazen a challenge to reproductive freedom been presented as with Mississippi's Amendment 26, which would have defined life as beginning at the moment of conception…. Fortunately, Amendment 26 was defeated. The Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision still stands, but the Mississippi measure serves notice that abortion rights cannot be taken for granted.
Modern Healthcare: Go For Total Health IT Transparency
The Institute of Medicine wants to have its transparency cake and its opacity, too. In his preface to the recent report, Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care (PDF), Gail Warden, chairman of the IOM's Committee on Patient Safety and Health Information Technology, sets up the problem. The committee came to an "eye-opening" realization, Warden said, that there are no hard data available to objectively assess the safety of health IT. The panel got it right with its recommendation that HHS "should ensure insofar as possible that health IT vendors support the free exchange of information about health IT experiences and issues" (Joseph Conn, 11/9).
The Miami Herald: We Must Put An End To Medicare Fraud
America’s elderly are victims of a crime spree so expansive that on an annual basis exceeds the value of all the cocaine smuggled in to North America. The crime is Medicare fraud, and it is conservatively considered to be a $50 billion industry. ... The unfortunate reality is that Medicare not only needs significant fiscal reforms to be around for future generations, but its mechanics are also in dire need of substantive reform. Fortunately, the solution to this crime problem is not to create another "taskforce" or "war on" anything; in part it takes adapting the proven fraud prevention mechanisms of the credit card industry (Rep. Peter Roskam, 11/9).
Reuters: Stern Advice: When To Skip Your Employer's Health Plan
In general, if you're in a job that has a good health-care plan, it's usually a good idea to sign up.
Employer-provided plans typically offer a high level of coverage, and they have to take you regardless of pre-existing conditions that could doom your attempts to buy private health insurance between now and 2014 (or thereafter, if the Supreme Court strikes out portions of the healthcare legislation.) But sometimes, buying your own coverage makes sense (Linda Stern, 11/9).
Market Watch: Long-Term-Care Costs: What’s Next?
The CLASS Act is dead, and that's going to create problems not just for the seven in 10 seniors who eventually will need help with eating, dressing and bathing, but for their unpaid family caregivers and whole lot of other Americans as well. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, a part of the health-reform law, established a national, voluntary insurance program for purchasing community living services. It was designed to expand options for people who require long-term help. But in mid-October, the Obama administration shut down the program, saying it was not financially feasible (Robert Powell, 11/10).
The Seattle Times: In Crisis, Washington Legislature Should Suspend Initiative 1163
The voters approved Initiative 1163, to require more training for home-health-care workers and have the state pay for the training for workers in state programs. Legislators are wondering whether they have the moral authority to suspend this measure, which requires a two-thirds vote. They do and they should…. Suspend Initiative 1163, and send this message to all initiative sponsors: If you want something that costs the government money, provide a way to pay for it (11/9).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State's Health Care Plan A Lose-Lose
Every time I read about Wisconsin's plan to remove thousands of people off of the state's highly successful and nationally recognized BadgerCare program, I'm baffled…. The listening sessions held by DHS have not gone unappreciated. However, with the announcement of either drastic cuts or extremely increased fees, it seems clear that (Gov. Scott) Walker and (Health Services Secretary Dennis) Smith are out of touch with the financial realities of working people in Wisconsin (Jessica Jaglowski, 11/9).
Health Policy Solutions (A Colorado news service): Learning From The Dutch
In the United States, health care expenditures account for over 17 percent of our economy. In the Netherlands, that number is 12 percent. Even though they spend less, the Dutch are much healthier on the whole than we are. And why? Winners on health’s playground arise from balancing cost, care, choice and culture (Gena Akers, 11/9).