First Edition: September 5, 2012
Today's headlines include reports on how health reform is playing a role in presidential politics, both during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and in a new GOP campaign ad.
Kaiser Health News: Young People Pay Less For Health Coverage, Older People Pay More, Under Maine's 'Market-Based' Approach
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby, working in collaboration with The Boston Globe, reports: "Even as many states gear up for tougher insurance regulations under the federal health law, Maine lawmakers last year bucked the trend, loosening rules they blamed for some of the highest premiums in the nation" (Appleby, 9/4). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Are Medicare's New Quality Incentives Large Enough to Change Hospital Behavior?
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau reports: "With Medicare poised next month to give bonuses and penalties to hospitals based on how they ranked in quality standards, a number of health policy experts are questioning whether the amounts of money at stake are large enough to make a difference" (Rau, 9/4). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: UnitedHealth Cases show Big Cost Differences For Same Illness
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jay Hancock reports: "We've seen this before: a study showing large spending disparities to treat similar ailments and little if any link between expenditure and effectiveness. What's different about this analysis is the patients. Many reports on cost and quality disparity (the best known is the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care) are based on data from the government's Medicare program for seniors. This one, published in the September issue of Health Affairs, focuses on care provided by nearly 250,000 physicians treating non-elderly United Healthcare patients from 2006 through part of 2009" (Hancock, 9/4). Check out what else is on the blog.
Politico: Dems Wear 'Obamacare' Proudly
Democrats gathered in Charlotte this week are fighting to reclaim the term "Obamacare" from the health reform law's opponents — a symbol of their determination to embrace the health care law and defend it from Republican attacks (Haberkorn, 9/4).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Better Off? Obama's Biggest Fans Get To 'Yes' Citing Osama bin Laden, Health Law, Autos
The question left some Obama campaign surrogates flustered this past weekend. Ask the delegates and you get a list of Obama successes: He ordered the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. His health care overhaul insured millions more Americans. Pell grants, which help pay for college tuition for 9 million students, are on the rise. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is law. But the realities of a slow-moving economic recovery temper their enthusiasm (9/5).
The Washington Post: Fact Checking The Opening Night Of The Democratic Convention
The Democrats launched their convention with a series of speeches that put the best possible gloss on the president's economic record and took various shots at GOP nominee Mitt Romney. First Lady Michelle Obama, who like Ann Romney gave a mostly personal testimonial about her husband, did not give us much material to fact-check. But here’s a round-up of other notable claims Tuesday evening (Kessler, 9/5).
The Washington Post: Factcheck: Sebelius' $6,400 Number Has Issues
Kathleen Sebelius in a speech to the Democratic convention asserted that the Ryan plan for Medicare would cost seniors "as much as $6,400" extra a year. But there are serious problems with that number, as the Factchecker explains in this video (Kessler, 9/4).
The New York Times: Party Platforms Are Poles Apart In Their View Of The Nation
Voters are forever being told that they face stark choices. But the platform that Democrats approved Tuesday at their convention in Charlotte, N.C., was, in areas from social issues to entitlements, a mirror image of the platform that the Republicans adopted last week in Tampa, Fla. … The Democratic platform … reaffirms the party's support for abortion rights. The Republican platform supports the passage of constitutional amendments that would ban abortion. … When it comes to Medicare, the Democratic platform says the party will oppose "any efforts to privatize or voucherize" the program, while the Republican platform would reshape the program for those under 55 so they would get "an income-adjusted contribution toward a health plan of the enrollee's choice," including a government plan (Cooper, 9/4).
Los Angeles Times: Party Platforms Often Ignored, But Revealing
In the category of the blindingly obvious, the Democratic document lays out a liberal agenda and the Republicans' a conservative vision. The gap on issues can be yawning, but one thing members of both parties could endorse is this summation from the platform the Democrats released Monday: "This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families" (Barabak, 9/4).
USA Today: In Effort To Woo Veterans, Every Detail Matters
The Obama campaign has made a big push to win veterans, such as the effort to improve their health care benefits, Obama's decision to end the Iraq War and the Navy SEALs' killing of Osama bin Laden (Madhani, 9/4).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Democratic Women Heart Obama Health Law
Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York delivered the Democratic women's line of the day, telling the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night that because of President Barack Obama's health care law, "For the first time, being a woman is NOT a pre-existing condition." The same line was used a few times Tuesday morning by speakers at the Democratic National Convention's women's caucus (Mundy, 9/4).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Abortion-Rights Advocate Jabs At GOP
The president of NARAL, the abortion-rights organization, roused Democrats at their national convention Tuesday night with a series of recent Republican statements that have provided fodder for Democratic politicians and late night talk show hosts. Nancy Keenan, who has led the group since 2004, talked about the "stakes" for women in 2012 (Mundy, 9/4).
The New York Times' The Caucus: Ad Takes Aim At Obama Health Overhaul
The Republican-leaning non-profit group Americans for Prosperity is debuting a new commercial at the start of the Democratic National Convention, suggesting that President Obama's health care overhaul would leave the United States with a system much like Canada's, one in which costly delays in treatment would threaten people's lives (Mullany, 9/4).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: FTC Is Mailing Refunds To Medicare Customers Who Relied On Incorrect CVS Drug Prices
The Federal Trade Commission said that it is mailing refund checks to 13,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries who were overcharged for drugs because a CVS Caremark Corp. business understated the price of the medications (9/4).
The Wall Street Journal: Allscripts Looks For Turnaround
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. MDRX -0.29%has recently weathered a proxy fight and board shake-up, plus worries about its business deteriorating sharply, but the electronic medical-records firm hasn't convalesced just yet (Kamp, 9/4).
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