First Edition: October 6, 2009
New Cost For Patients: Facility Fees
Kathy Young, the veteran benefits administrator for a large plumbing supply company headquartered in Madison, Wis., is well versed in the often fiendish complexities of medical bills (Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post).
On Their Own, Self-Employed Search For Health Care
As part of the ongoing series, "Are You Covered?" Cindy Richards and her husband Scott Fisher are profiled at their home in Oak Park, Ill. Richards is a freelance writer and editor who buys health insurance to cover herself and her family (NPR and KHN). Related content includes the Individual Market Explained and a video, Buying Insurance On The Individual Market.
For One Senior, Medicaid Provides Model Care
Also part of the "Are You Covered?" series, Gracie Scarrow, 94, is featured. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure she didn't have the money to pay for the care she needed. With her daughter Lela's help, Gracie turned to Medicaid. The program pays for her nursing home, and they couldn't be happier with the care (NPR and Kaiser Health News). Related content includes Medicaid Explained and a video, A Life Under Medicaid.
In Debate On Health, It's Coverage Vs. Cost
As Democrats prepare to take up health care legislation on the floor of the Senate and the House, they are facing tough choices about two competing priorities. They want people to pay affordable prices for health insurance policies, but they want those policies to offer comprehensive health benefits (The New York Times).
Obama Reaches Past Congress For Health Care Support
Opening a new front in the effort to promote its plans for an overhaul of the nation's health care system, the Obama administration is courting support from Republicans and independents some distance from Capitol Hill, and aggressively publicizing the results (The New York Times).
U.S. Losing Ground On Preventable Deaths
Are Americans dying too soon? The answer is yes. When it comes to "preventable deaths" -- an array of illnesses and injuries that should not kill at an early age -- the United States trails other industrialized nations and has been falling further behind over the past decade (The Washington Post).
Hospitals Find Way to Make Care Cheaper -- Make It Better
Be it cereal or cars, buyers usually have an idea of how good the products are and how much they cost before they buy them. That's not how U.S. health care works. Patients rarely know which hospitals offer top-quality lung or aortic surgery, and which are more likely to harm them. Hospitals don't compete on price and rarely publish measurements of their quality, if they measure it at all (The Wall Street Journal).
Vote On Key Health Bill Delayed For Cost Report
Senators learned Monday that a committee vote on health-care reform will be pushed back to later this week, and perhaps into next week, as they await an estimate on how much the overhaul would cost (The Washington Post).
Insurers Say Coverage Penalty Has To Have Bite
The health insurance industry doesn't want Congress to let you off easy if you decide to ignore a proposed requirement that all Americans must have coverage (The Associated Press).
Insurers Fight bid To Ease Penalties In Health Bill
Hospitals and insurance companies are pushing back against changes to the latest Senate health-care bill that ease the penalties for Americans who don't carry health insurance (The Wall Street Journal).
House Feels Left Out Of Health Care
As the Senate Finance Committee slogged through amendments to a high-stakes health care bill last week and basked in the media spotlight, House Democrats were quietly contemplating a troubling question (Politico).
Healthcare Tests Obama's Grasp Of Capitol Hill Game
If President Obama's efforts to reform the US healthcare system were judged Olympic-style like, say, diving or gymnastics his score would have to factor in the highest degree of difficulty (The Christian Science Monitor).
Health Insurance Exchanges: Will They Work?
Despite all the disagreement in Washington, every proposal now before Congress to overhaul the nation's health care system includes creation of an insurance "exchange" - a marketplace that would operate something like a Travelocity Web site for insurance policies (The New York Times).
One State's Solution May Not Be A Model For The Nation
Utah is only the second state to develop its own insurance exchange, and it is distinctly different from its better-known counterpart in Massachusetts. It is also unlike anything currently envisioned in Congress (The New York Times).
Bio Scores In Health Debate
It's hard for an association with more than 1,200 member companies to hide in the shadows - but not when the shadow is cast by PhRMA, the drug industry behemoth that has staked out a central role in the health care fight (Politico).
Verification Of Illegal Immigrants Is Scrutinized Amid Healthcare Debate
Los Angeles County health worker Leonardo Rincon lifts the birth certificate up to the light and expertly scrutinizes it. Do faint watermarks show up? Yes. He rubs his thumb over the official seal to see if it is raised. It is. He checks the number of digits in the document number. Perfect (Los Angeles Times).
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