KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: ‘Redistribution’ Debate; Reducing Delayed, Missed And Incorrect Diagnoses

The New York Times' Economic Scene: 'Redistribution' Debate Has A Gray Area
The Affordable Care Act, which levies new taxes on the wealthy to expand access to health care for the near poor, seems on track to become the biggest increase in government redistribution since the Johnson administration (Eduardo Porter, 9/25).

JAMA: Author Insights: Diagnosis Error Is Ignored As A Quality And Safety Measure
Delayed, missed, and incorrect diagnoses occur up to 20% of the time and result in an estimated 40 000 to 80 000 deaths each year. Authors of a Viewpoint appearing today in JAMA say that to prevent avoidable injury and death, medical training should emphasize diagnosis and the health care quality and safety communities should focus on improving diagnosis of medical conditions (Mitka, 9/25).

The New York Times: Abuse Of Electronic Health Records
The Obama administration has issued a strong and much-needed warning to hospitals and doctors about the fraudulent use of electronic medical records to illegally inflate their billings to Medicare. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, cited "troubling indications" that some providers are billing for services never provided and vowed to prosecute. They sent a letter to five major hospital trade associations on Monday, two days after an article in The Times described in detail how greater use of electronic records might be making it easier for hospitals and doctors to submit erroneous payment claims (9/25).

Columbus Dispatch: Dying For Treatment
The Food and Drug Administration’s system for testing experimental drugs is in place for a good reason: Who wants to take a drug that could leave someone even sicker, or one that doesn’t work, costs a lot and raises false hope? But if the alternative to fast-tracking approval of a promising drug is the death of a child, it stands to reason that the government should fast-track approval (9/26).

The Baltimore Sun: Is The California Breast Density Law A Good Idea? Three Opinions
You would think there could be no downside to California’s new law that requires doctors to inform women if a mammogram reveals they have dense breasts. But some doctors do have concerns about the legislation, which also requires physicians to tell patients that dense breasts are linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, that they make mammograms harder to read and that there are alternative breast cancer screening options (Mestel, 9/25).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Denial Of Medical Choice Worse Than Activists Think
Abortion-rights advocates are seriously cheesed off at Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for strong-arming the state's Board of Health into approving tough new clinic regulations. The advocates fear government bureaucrats could use burdensome rules to reduce access to medical care. Actually, government bureaucrats are doing that already. And now they have judicial blessing (A. Barton Hinkle, 9/26).

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