Today’s OpEds: The Missouri Vote, Accountable Care Organizations, The Future Of Pharmaceutical Innovation
Health Care Reform, British Style The New York Times
The National Health Service is the third rail of British politics. Britons cherish the historic achievement of bringing decent medical care within everyone's reach, while complaining regularly about the bureaucratic rigidity - and bristling at any suggestion of change. Now the new coalition government is proposing a sweeping round of reforms intended to eliminate layers of bureaucracy and deliver better, more personalized care by giving primary care doctors more power over treatment decisions and referrals to specialists. That makes sense (8/4).
Show Me ObamaCare The Wall Street Journal
The political revolt against ObamaCare came to Missouri Tuesday, with voters casting ballots three to one against the plan in its first direct referendum. This is another resounding health-care rebuke to the White House and Democrats, not that overwhelming public opposition to this expansion of government power ever deterred them before (8/5).
Show Me Your Insiders The New York Times
Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of Missouri voters endorsed a measure that would wipe out the part of the new federal health care law that requires people to have insurance. They were unswayed by the fact that the proposition was almost certainly unconstitutional and unenforceable. This was a chance to send a message that voters are fed up! With government and insiders - unless they're running for the Senate (Gail Collins, 8/4).
Bad Times Ahead For Pharmaceutical Innovation Forbes
Two items in the news this week spell trouble for the makers of pharmaceuticals and the patients who use them. They involve potentially sweeping changes in the Food and Drug Administration's regulation of the two major groups of pharmaceuticals: medical devices and drugs. ... For a start, [the FDA] needs a new ethic, one that better balances the risks of risk-aversion against those of timely approvals. And for that, there will need to be new, more courageous and intelligent leadership, and more enlightened congressional oversight (Henry I. Miller, 8/4).
Rx For Medicare's Birthday: Expand It Chicago Tribune (Pro)
I was in active medical practice on July 30, 1965, when Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Its impact on older Americans and their families was swift and spectacular. ... That was only the beginning. Through the years, Medicare dramatically reduced poverty among the elderly. It added new benefits like preventive care. It reduced racial and income-based disparities. It extended its coverage to the severely disabled. It laid the basis for nationwide, comparative health studies that have improved the quality of care for everyone. In short, Medicare, a government-sponsored program that now covers over 45 million Americans, has been a triumphant success (Quentin Young, 8/4).
Patients Will End Up Receiving Less Care The Chicago Tribune (Con)
The biggest problem in expanding Medicare is essentially solving what economist Greg Mankiw calls the trilemma, the three problems of health care delivery - cost, access and quality. Any two might be achieved but the third necessarily suffers. Expanding Medicare could certainly improve access but no one has figured out how to prevent escalating costs or diminishing quality (e.g. less subspecialty care). The question must be asked: Under universal Medicare might the country pay more and see patients receive less? (Cory Franklin, 8/4).
The Obama Rebellion The Augusta Chronicle
[Andy] Griffith, one of the most beloved television stars in American history, has recently cut a commercial espousing the benefits of Washington's new health-care reform law. We have no doubt it will be effective. And that's quite unfortunate, because it appears Mr. Griffith has been snookered, and is passing along the dubious privilege to all those who have trusted him for so long (8/5).
Health-Care Reform Pushes Accountable-Care Facilities The Green Bay Press Gazette
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act creates several changes to the nation's health-care system. While it is complex, we are beginning to see indications of what the impact of the legislation may be for you as a patient, business owner, employee or citizen. In addition to expanded coverage, some of the most encouraging aspects of reform relate to improving health-care quality. Last year, President Obama visited Green Bay and held it up as a national example of achieving better quality with fewer dollars. That means using health-care dollars for best practices that result in better outcomes, lower mortality and fewer complications (Nick Turkal, 8/5).