Viewpoints: Insurance Regulation A ‘Special Interest’?; Washington’s Wrong Health Care Battle; Will The Health Law Turn Us Into Part-Time Employees?
Los Angeles Times: Insurance Regulation: Who're You Calling A 'Special Interest?'
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to name a group that opposes government oversight of health insurance premiums "Californians Against Higher Healthcare Costs." Especially when the group includes the trade associations for doctors and hospitals, two sets of Californians who've contributed mightily to the high cost of health care (Jon Healey, 4/17).
Bloomberg: Washington Stuck Fighting Wrong Health Care Battle
Last week, the Altarum Institute, a research organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, reported that the moderation in the growth of health-care costs we have seen over the past few years is continuing: Total health spending rose by less than 4 percent from February 2011 to February 2012. And it’s encouraging to see the progress that doctors, hospitals and other providers are making to improve the value of care ... Instead of examining these changes and finding ways to encourage them, the Washington policy discussion continues to demonstrate its ability to, well, it’s not clear exactly what it does (Peter Orszag, 4/17).
Politico: Combine The Best Of Obama-Ryan, Bowles-Simpson
An ironic consequence of the dueling fiscal plans put forward this year by President Barack Obama and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is that, taken together, they illustrate why Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson had it right back in December 2010. … No one can expect to get everything they want — with the other side making all the concessions. Moreover, those compromises must involve the thorniest points of contention: health care, Social Security and taxes. They must also add up to substantial and sustained deficit reduction, not just a temporary fix (Robert Bixby, 4/17).
Fox News: Will Obama Care Turn Us Into A Nation Of Part-Time Employees?
As the Supreme Court ponders whether the Obama administration can constitutionally take over the private sector when it comes to health care -- and then order all Americans to buy health insurance -- an unintended consequence is lurking in the government’s unemployment figures. Plagued by fears of explosive costs from mandated healthcare, companies are quietly transitioning much of the American workforce into a nation of part-time employees (Chuck Bentley, 4/17).
The New York Times: A Deft Health Care Move
The refusal of New York’s Republican-led State Senate to establish a health insurance exchange, as required by the federal health reform law, has left the state in a pickle. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was wise to step in with an executive order that will accomplish much the same purpose (4/17).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Agency Plods On Consumer Info Law
The Obama administration can make up for its fumbled rollout of a landmark consumer protection law -- the Physician Payments Sunshine Act -- by moving swiftly to ensure that national tracking of lucrative industry payments to doctors begins before the end of this year. … The agency owes consumers, as well as drug and device firms, a timetable and an explanation for the delay. Minnesota, a medical-device epicenter, has a critical interest in timely guidance so companies can prepare to follow the new law (4/17).
Boston Globe: Prescription For National Health: Get Patients To Take Their Medicine
Two respected Boston-based institutions recently published articles touching on one of the most expensive problems in health care. They were not describing the wonders of a new drug or a "silver bullet" policy initiative to reduce costs. Rather, they explored something surprisingly basic: getting people to take their medicine. Hospitals today are filled with individuals who could have avoided an in-patient stay if only they had taken their medications as prescribed (Harris A. Berman and Michael Rosenblatt, 4/17).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Cigarette Labels Should Tell The Truth
When Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration regulatory power over tobacco products, the industry actually promoted the plan. But that support seems to have lasted about as long as a typical smoke break. … Now the tobacco companies are in a pitched legal battle with the FDA over the sensible plan that takes effect this fall to require graphic warnings on half of every cigarette pack, front and back, as a reminder of the deadly consequences of tobacco use (4/18).
Journal of the American Medical Association: Ask Me If I Cleaned My Hands
Indeed, if people like my friend the medical educator or my friend the senior surgeon are reluctant to intervene, how could anyone possibly imagine that patients who are sick and vulnerable can advocate for themselves? The problem of hand cleaning needs to be the primary responsibility of those who work in health care. And I have two ideas about how health care personnel can help each other as well as their patients (Suzanne C. Gordon, 4/17).