Viewpoints: Recession’s Effect On Health Spending; The Flaws In Raising Medicare Eligibility Age
The New York Times: Slower Growth In Health Spending
Health care spending in the United States increased at the slowest rate in half a century in 2009 and 2010. ... That looks like good news after decades of soaring health care spending that outpaced economic growth. The hitch: the main factor was the recession that left millions of Americans unemployed, uninsured, short of income, and unable or unwilling to spend money on health care (1/11).
The Fiscal Times: Why Raising Medicare's Eligibility Is A Bad Idea
The Congressional Budget Office released an issue brief Tuesday that suggested lifting Medicare's eligibility age from 65 to 67 would save the federal government 5 percent on projected outlays over the next decade, and only "a small share of those people would end up without health insurance." ... It's a bad idea, says Aaron Carroll, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of its Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. ... First, it's a cost-shifting plan, not a cost-cutting plan, he pointed out. ... If they continue to work to keep their employer-based health plans, the employer's portion of the premiums will be deductible from corporate earnings and therefore subsidized by taxpayers. ... But if they are poor and can no longer work, they would probably turn to Medicaid, which is half paid by the federal government (Merrill Goozner, 1/11).
The New England Journal of Medicine: All Heat, No Light — The States' Medicaid Claims Before The Supreme Court
It has been clear for some time that the political fight over the minimum-insurance-coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. What few would have predicted was that the question of the constitutionality of the latest in a long line of Medicaid expansions would also end up there. ... From a legal perspective, nothing about this latest Medicaid expansion is different from past expansions, other than the fact that it passed as part of a broader health care reform effort (Sara Rosenbaum and Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, 1/11).
The New England Journal of Medicine: The Fate Of Health Care Reform — What To Expect In 2012
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is arguably the most significant health legislation enacted in generations. As remarkable a political and policy achievement as it was, what the reform will actually accomplish is largely yet to be determined. Whether it slows the growth of costs, increases access to care, or improves the quality of care will depend on how it is implemented. Although major components of the law do not go into effect until 2014, the fate of the ACA depends on the outcome of four key events in 2012 (David K. Jones, 1/11).
Fox News: Doctors Should Not Rely On Computers For End-Of-Life Decisions
I read in the news Wednesday researchers at UC San Francisco are touting a new software that may help determine the likelihood of death in older and terminally ill populations. ... I think that before doctors start using software to determine the long-term prognosis of patients, we have to start by improving the overall care that terminally ill patients receive today. Many terminally ill patients are lost because there is not good communication between specialists, and families are not given enough information and reasonable explanations on the conditions of their loved ones (Dr. Manny Alvarez, 1/11).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Health Care In Central City On Brink Of Crisis
The health care crisis for some low-income Milwaukee neighborhoods is going to get worse than most people think, according to Perry Margoles…. Margoles has run a small nonprofit health care clinic ... for 25 years in an area that has been largely abandoned by most hospitals and medical professionals…. With new federal health care mandates coming soon, Margoles warned that more problems could arise if hospitals and clinics are no longer located where people need them most (Eugene Kane, 1/11).
Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): State Wins $26.1 Million For Improved Health Care For Kids
Colorado has been awarded $26.1 million in federal funding from the Department of Health and Human Services for implementing five policies that make it easier for families to access affordable, quality health care and help the state to stretch taxpayer dollars further by cutting red tape. The result is more kids covered, improved government efficiency and a $26 million windfall for a state budget that desperately needs it. It’s good news all around (Brittney Petersen and Cody Belzley, 1/11).