Viewpoints: Slowing Health Care Growth; Competing Views Of Romney
Forbes: Growth In Health Care Costs Slowest In 50 Years—But Is It Good News?
The headline is that health care spending grew at only 3.9 percent in 2010—just .1 percent more than the rate of growth in 2009. Combine the numbers from 2009 and 2010 and we're looking at the slowest two-year rate of growth since the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began keeping tabs on these numbers 51 years ago. So, why am I feeling so "blah" about it all? Because as much as I would like to believe that the results are due to good government or the private markets making some sort of change to bring down the out-of-control advancement in the costs of medical care, I know very well that the real reason we spent less is because we simply had less to spend (Rick Ungar, 1/10).
The Washington Post: Extremist In Pinstripes
In reality, (presidential candidate Mitt) Romney is a remarkably reactionary candidate, camouflaged in corporate pinstripes. On social issues, Romney embraces all of the right's litmus tests. He pledges to repeal President Obama's health-care reform, even though it was modeled on the plan Romney signed as Massachusetts governor. He favors repealing Roe v. Wade, outlawing women's right to choose. … Advised on legal matters by the reactionary crank Robert Bork, he repeatedly calls for more judges in the activist right-wing tradition of the gang of four — Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito (Katrina vanden Heuvel, 1/10).
Fox News: Romney For President? What's A Tea Party Voter To Do In 2012?
The Tea Party believed that the buffoons authoring the mess should be dealt a blow. And in 2010 they leveled power in the Congress. The single biggest example of this overreach was for Washington politicians, behind closed doors, with no transparency, to take a health care reform law--deem it as passed--and force upon the American people the worst piece of legislation to be passed since World War II. "ObamaCare", as it would soon be called, was and is at this very moment--in this election cycle--the singular most visible sign that this nation must take a different course (Kevin McCullough, 1/10).
Reuters: Candidate Plans To Fix Social Security And Medicare Won't Work
[Several] GOP presidential candidates have endorsed cutting entitlements for the wealthy, and President Obama has flirted with it, too. But as seductive as it sounds, the math on means testing entitlements just doesn't work, because there aren't enough wealthy seniors to solve the long-term problems of either Medicare or Social Security (Mark Miller, 1/10).
The Washington Post: The Plum Line: TV Stations Refuse To Yank Dem 'End Medicare' Ads
When PolitiFact labeled the claim that the GOP voted to end Medicare its "Lie of the Year," this was seen as a big deal in Washington, because it suggested Republicans might be able to get TV stations to refuse to air Dem ads making the claim against House GOP incumbents. ... But we've now had our first important test case since the PolitiFact decision, and it broke in favor of Dems: Despite GOP complaints, two TV stations have refused to pull the ad (Greg Sargent, 1/10).
Los Angeles Times: A Harsh But Realistic State Budget
The governor's proposed social services cuts, however, are unwise. ... Loss of medical care now for indigent patients will mean their lives are not merely on hold but forever set back and perhaps prematurely ended. The same is true for seniors and others who need in-home care. Slashing or ending that care means people in need will have to go to nursing homes, which can also be on the state tab but are more expensive. This penny-wise, pound-foolish move pencils out only when nursing home care, when compared with in-home care, is so poor that patients die sooner. That cynical ploy to save money is hardly California's smartest budget move (1/11).
The Baltimore Sun/Tribune: Long-Term Care Conundrum
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some type of long-term care (LTC) during their lifetime, and more than 40 percent will need care in a nursing home. In 2008, 21 million people had a condition that required personal care assistance, and that number is expected to rise as the population ages. If those odds don't scare you, maybe the dollars will. In 2010, the approximate cost of nursing home care was over $83,000 per year for a private room, $75,000 for a semiprivate room and $40,000 per year for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit), while home health aides charged $21 per hour (Jill Schlesinger, 1/11).
Journal of the American Medical Association: Addressing Requests By Patients For Nonbeneficial Interventions
Patients frequently express strong preferences for medical tests or treatments of their own choosing, even when physicians believe that those interventions are not beneficial. Physicians grant such requests for various reasons. ... Actively challenging patients' requests for nonbeneficial interventions does not subvert properly understood respect for patient autonomy and is consistent with the professional obligation to practice high-quality, cost-effective medicine (Dr. Allan S. Brett and Laurence B. McCullough, 1/11).