First Edition: January, 10, 2012
Today's headlines highlight news that the recession has held down health spending.
Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: The Health Law Goes Graphic
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "Nearly two years after the passage of the federal health law, more than 40 percent of people say they know little or nothing about how the law will affect them. … Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, aims to change that with a book, 'Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works,' that explains the ins and outs of the law in an innovative way: an adult comic-strip form similar to graphic novels" (Andrews, 1/9).
Kaiser Health News: National Health Spending Grew Slowly In 2010
Kaiser Health News staff writer Marilyn Werber Serafini reports: "National health care spending grew slowly for the second consecutive year in 2010, bringing it in line with growth in the U.S. economy, the Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday" (Werber Serafini, 1/9).
Kaiser Health News: Building Health Reform's Research Arm
Kaiser Health News staff writer Shefali S. Kulkarni, working in collaboration with Politico Pro, reports: "PCORI is not quite a household name, but if Dr. Anne Beal has her way, it will be soon. The acronym stands for Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute—a group of doctors, researchers, statisticians and patient advocates who will commission evidence-based research for the health care system. The goal, according to Beal, is to provide easy-to-understand information to patients so they can make the most informed health care decisions" (Kulkarni, 1/9).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Millions Find Walgreens No Longer In Their Rx Networks; The Income Penalty For Diabetes; Virgin Islands And West Virginia Discuss An Exchange
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, KQED's Sarah Varney, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News, NPR and KQED, reports: "If you're heading into a Walgreens to pick up a prescription, you may first want to check the back of your insurance card. If it says Express Scripts, you can no longer fill your prescription at Walgreens or affiliates like Duane Reade under your insurance plan" (Varney 1/9).
KHN's Jenny Gold writes about a new study that finds a young person with diabetes could earn an average of $160,000 less over their lifetime compared to someone without the disease (Gold, 1/9).
Also on the blog, Phil Galewitz reports on discussions between two unexpected locations: "From economy to climate, West Virginia and the U.S. Virgin Islands are as different as any two places in the United States. But that hasn’t stopped them from discussing whether to work together to form a health insurance exchange under the federal health care law, say officials in West Virginia and the Virgin Islands" (1/9).
And new on Capsules today, WNYC's Fred Mogul, reporting as part of a partnership with Kaiser Health News, NPR and WNYC, writes: "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says creating a health insurance exchange for the state is a priority for 2012" (1/10). Check out what else is on the blog.
Kaiser Health News/NPR Shots Blog: Texas Asks Feds To Delay Health Insurance Rebate Plan
Reporting as part of a partnership between Kaiser Health News, NPR and KUHF, Carrie Feibel writes: "Starting in 2012, health insurance plans in Texas — and most of the rest of the country — may have to cough up millions of dollars in rebates to customers. The rebates will come from health plans that spend too much on administrative costs instead of medical care. The change is part of the national health overhaul law, the Affordable Care Act" (Feibel, 1/10).
The New York Times: Recession Holds Down Health Spending
National health spending rose a slight 3.9 percent in 2010, as Americans delayed hospital care, doctor's visits and prescription drug purchases for the second year in a row, the Obama administration reported Monday (Pear, 1/9).
Los Angeles Times: U.S. Healthcare Spending Rises 3.9% In 2010
But analysts said spending was likely to pick up as the economy improved and the healthcare law passed under President Obama begins to expand coverage to millions of people now uninsured (McGinley, 1/9).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Annual Growth In US Health Care Spending At Historic Lows; Experts Debate If Relief Will Last
The answers will be vital for Medicare's sustainability, as well as for workplace coverage. U.S. health care spending grew by 3.9 percent in 2010, reaching $2.6 trillion, according to the report by the Health and Human Services department (1/10).
The Wall Street Journal: Weak Economy Curbs Health Spending
The growth of health-care spending was near a historic low at 3.9% in 2010 as the weak economy prompted people to cut back on medical care, according to data released by federal analysts (Radnofsky, 1/10).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Obama Links Candidates And Lawmakers In Speech To Supporters
Mr. Obama, in an aggressive campaign speech, linked Republicans in Congress and those running in the presidential election, saying both would dismantle Medicare, rollback environmental regulations, lower the minimum wage and crack down on labor union organizing (Lee, 1/9).
USA Today: Daley Departure Indicates Shift In Strategy
Jacob Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, will replace Daley later this month after he completes work on the 2013 budget. … The shake-up represents a 180-degree turn from what Obama needed a year ago, after Republicans had won control of the House of Representatives and made gains in the Senate. Then, he was under pressure to work with GOP leaders and with the business community, so he capitalized on Daley's ties to both. Now, in the wake of failed budget negotiations that nearly led to a government default last summer, Obama has largely given up on compromise (Madhani and Wolf, 1/10).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Opening Statements Set In Texas Lawsuit Seeking $1 Billion From J&J Over Anti-Psychotic Drug
Texas prosecutors want jurors to award the state $1 billion in a lawsuit that accuses Johnson & Johnson of overstating the safety of an anti-psychotic drug and influencing its use in the state's Medicaid program. The company, facing similar claims in other states, is promising to vigorously defend itself when both sides lay out their cases during opening statements Tuesday (1/10).
Check out all of Kaiser Health News' e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.