Viewpoints: White House Makes Its Case On Cutting Medicare But One Critic Isn’t Buying The ‘Shared Sacrifice’
The New York Times: The White House Argument
These officials say the administration has also made modest but important progress in controlling Medicare spending, the biggest debt driver. The budget raises some Medicare premiums on high-income retirees and increases some deductibles. White House officials say they have taken enormous heat from the left for putting some structural Medicare reforms on the table — cutting benefits, raising eligibility ages and changing cost-of-living adjustments. Republican leaders, they point out, have not done anything that brave (David Brooks, 4/16).
The Washington Post: A Consensus We Can't Afford
But the terms of the "grand bargain" represented by the Obama-Boehner negotiations or the Simpson-Bowles recommendations are skewed dramatically to the right. The basic outline exchanges cuts in Social Security and Medicare for "tax reform," promising to lower tax rates while closing enough loopholes to raise revenues. That requires erasing the mortgage deduction for middle-class homeowners or ending the employer deduction for providing health care to employees. This notion of "shared sacrifice" is unconscionable, given that working Americans have been sacrificing for years and weren't even invited to the Wall Street bacchanalia that created the mess (Katrina vanden Heuvel, 4/16).
The Wall Street Journal: Defining Disability Down
Fraud, waste and abuse in government will always be popular political targets, especially during an election year. But they are not the root causes of this nation's escalating bankruptcy. … One entitlement program that highlights the progression of this disease is the Social Security Disability Insurance fund. In August 2010 a report from the Government Accountability Office revealed that hundreds of federal employees were receiving millions in fraudulently obtained disability benefits from this fund. Reforms—including matching disability beneficiaries and recipients to federal payroll data—were recommended but according to the Government Accountability Office have not been implemented (Howard Rich, 4/16).
Reuters: Law Or No Law, Some States Adopt US Healthcare Reform
If the Supreme Court overturns President Obama's health care reform law in June, Americans without health coverage may get some relief anyway - especially if they live in Rhode Island, Maryland or Oregon. These states are at the head of the pack in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and they were working to expand health coverage well before the law was passed. If the ACA is thrown out by the high court, these states - and others supportive of the law's goals - will keep pursuing reforms (Miller, 4/16).
iWatch News: Why The Insurance Industry Needs Obamacare To Stay In Business
Health insurers have known for years that their business practices of excluding growing numbers of Americans from coverage and shifting more and more of the cost of care to policyholders are not sustainable over the long haul. That's why their top priority during the health care reform debate was to make sure whatever bill Congress passed included the much-vilified individual mandate. And it's also why the big insurance companies have been working almost frantically to reinvent themselves lately (Wendell Potter, 4/16).
The Miami Herald: Better Health, Fewer Tests
When nine medical societies announce that at least five common practices in each of their specialties are unnecessary, wasteful or even harmful to patients, everyone should take note. Everyone — patients, doctors, the healthcare industry, insurers and various levels of government. The point the societies are making is not that we should ration medicine but, rather, tailor the care to the individual patient's particular health needs and medical and family history (4/16).
The Washington Post: Which Mitt Will We Get?
It's all over but the shouting — or, in this case, the polite applause: Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican presidential nominee. But which Mitt Romney? Will it be Mitt One or Mitt Two? ... Mitt Two vows to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act and denounces the individual health insurance mandate at the core of the legislation. As most Americans know, however, it was Mitt One who pioneered the individual mandate when he was governor of Massachusetts (Eugene Robinson, 4/16).
The New York Times: Vital Signs: Doctor's Stake In Lab Affects Biopsy Rate
Medicare pays for prostate biopsies by the jar, and a jar can contain one or more specimens. Self-referring doctors billed Medicare for an average of 4.3 more jars per biopsy, a difference of almost 72 percent that persisted despite controlling factors (Nicholas Bakalar, 4/16).
Boston Globe: In Fight To Cut Health Costs, Resist Stiffer Regulation For Now
Although it's been over a year since Governor Patrick filed legislation aimed at controlling health care costs, the joint legislative panel working on the issue has yet to make its own proposal. That's not because the Committee on Health Care Financing has dropped the ball. Instead, the delay speaks both to the complexity of health care policy and to the rapid change in the health care sector over the last two years (4/17).
Archives of Surgery: Making Sense Of Accountable Care Organizations
The ACO concept is a work in progress. Although it is unclear exactly how they will be implemented in the end, ACOs will clearly be part of the landscape in restructuring health care delivery over the next few years. Whether ACOs ultimately become part of the long-term solution to slow the growth of health care spending, the ultimate goal of better coordination and more efficient, patient-centered care is no doubt important. And the success of that principle is vital to the future of our entire health care system (Arthur S. Hong and Dr. Justin B. Dimick, 4/17).