Viewpoints: An Insurance Industry Campaign; Doctor Shopping Will Be More Difficult In Mass.
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Insurance Industry Campaigns To Keep Unlawful ObamaCare Cash
In its effort to keep billions in unlawful ObamaCare corporate subsidies flowing, the industry is trying to persuade Congress that it receives no federal funds through the federal "reinsurance" program. Good luck with that. The ObamaCare statute established the temporary, three-year (from 2014 to 2016) reinsurance program for two purposes: 1) to provide $5 billion to the Treasury; and 2) to provide $20 billion to issuers of individual ObamaCare policies. (Doug Badger, 8/30)
The Boston Globe:
‘Doctor Shopping’ Is Going To Get More Difficult
It may have taken a frightening surge in opioid abuse to speed action, but Massachusetts now has a user-friendly online system for keeping track of drug prescriptions. The state monitoring program went live last week, after a $6.2 million overhaul of an unwieldy system that many doctors avoided like a virus. ... Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other prescribers have to consult the database before writing such a prescription for any new patient, as well as when they give existing patients their first prescription for a controlled substance. Starting Oct. 15, they’ll be required by law to log on before scribbling their signature on any narcotics prescription. (8/31)
Don't Be Scared Of A Health-Insurance Public Option
Like many others on both the left and right, I see the public option as a back-door route to full nationalization of most of the U.S. health-care system. The reason is that Medicare is capable of providing the same quality of care to most customers at a lower price than any private insurer. Part of this is because the government can just subsidize Medicare if it wants -- no private company can compete on price with a government service that doesn't need to make a profit. But even without any subsidies, Medicare can probably undercut private services through a variety of natural advantages. It can use its leverage as a very big purchaser to negotiate lower prices with providers. (Noah Smith, 8/30)
The New York Times:
How Abortion Pill Laws Hurt Women
Sixteen years ago next month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first “abortion pill,” and today medication abortion accounts for about a quarter of all nonhospital abortions in the United States. Not only is it safe and effective, but for women who live in the 89 percent of American counties that lack even a single abortion provider, it is often the only feasible option. Not surprisingly, state legislatures bent on eliminating abortion access have targeted medication abortion, passing several new laws with the stated intention of safeguarding women’s health and safety. But in a research paper I co-wrote on Tuesday in the online journal PLOS Medicine, my colleagues and I found that such laws are not just covers for restricting abortion access — they can actually harm women’s health. (Ushma D. Upadhyay, 8/30)
Los Angeles Times:
New Bill To Protect Planned Parenthood Is Bad For Whistleblowers
After anti-abortion activists released hidden-camera videos last year that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials selling body parts from aborted fetuses, the organization’s opponents went into high gear, pushing state and federal officials to cut off public funds to the group and seek criminal charges. ... Planned Parenthood and its allies have pushed back .... But now, Planned Parenthood wants to go further. It’s supporting a bill in the California Legislature, AB 1671 by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), that would make it a crime to distribute a recording or even a transcript of a private conversation with a healthcare provider. (8/31)
Detroit Free Press:
What Future For Detroit Medical Center, After Hygiene Revelations?
Would you schedule a surgery at the Detroit Medical Center, following a series of blistering reports published last week in the Detroit News that chronicle a decade's worth of complaints from DMC doctors and staff that surgical instruments weren't properly sterilized? ... That leaves the DMC and its customers at a troubling crossroads: When the hospital system became for-profit in 2010, much was made of its plan to woo prospective customers from suburban hospitals. That's surely derailed for the foreseeable future. Against this backdrop of events, the patients most likely to continue patronizing DMC hospitals are those with the fewest options, another disgrace in a story filled with horrifying twists. (8/30)
Seriously, Don't Come To Work If You're Sick
There's nothing more selfish you can do than come to work sick. You may get a gold star for showing your sniffling face at the office and soldiering through the workday to prove your value — but everyone around you just gets sick. You're an inconsiderate work hazard. When people bring their infectious illness to work, it spreads — and when sick people don't have a financial incentive to show up to work, fewer people get sick, according to a new working paper by the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research. (Rebecca Greenfield, 8/30)
The Wichita Eagle:
Data, Planning Key To Public Health
A recent commentary by Sedgwick County commissioners Richard Ranzau and Karl Peterjohn regarding the restoration of just one of about eight positions cut from the county’s health department reflected a fundamental lack of understanding and appreciation of the role of public health within the county. ... The Community Health Assessment (CHA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) have been core pieces of the scope of work for the county’s health department and other health departments across Kansas and the United States for years. It is widely accepted as basic public health “blocking and tackling” – except in Sedgwick County. (Carolyn Gahghan, Peggy Johnson and Becky Tuttle, 8/31)