Longer Looks: Was WSJ Pulitzer Undeserved?; IPAB And Cost Cutting
Every week, reporter Jessica Marcy selects interesting reading from around the Web.
Huffington Post: Reform Medicare, Don't Cut It
The law contains Medicare cuts, but the savings achieved are then used to pay for new federal spending, such as the Medicaid expansion and new subsidies to purchase health care in state-based exchanges. When a federal program is growing, the easiest path forward is to continue to cut it. But the problem with Medicare is that it is so complex that if you cut growth in one area, costs are simply shifted to other areas. What ensues is a sophisticated and high stakes game of "whack-a-mole." This is exactly what health reform did through the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB (Tommy G. Thompson, 4/19).
National Review: The Road To IPAB
What Pres. Barack Obama's budget speech last week lacked in details, it made up for in an obnoxious faith in the surpassing wisdom of unelected experts. Why does Obama need specifics when he has the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB? If spending on health care is the biggest driver of government spending, then IPAB is Obama's most important deficit-reduction initiative. It is a panel of 15 presidentially appointed experts. They will have more power over Medicare than the average member of Congress. ... IPAB won't make the notoriously inefficient Medicare program any more efficient. Through arbitrary reductions on payments to providers, it will simply reduce the supply of care (Rich Lowry, 4/19).
The Nation: 'WSJ' Pulitzer Winner Simply Blasted 'ObamaCare'
When the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced at 3 pm yesterday, I quickly and dutifully posted the list here at The Nation Among the newly anointed was [The Wall Street Journal's] Joseph Rago, in the editorial writing category "for his well-crafted, against-the-grain editorials challenging the health care reform advocated by President Barack Obama." ... Perhaps Rago had offered a more nuanced critique than one might expect from the Journal and the right? That would surely be worthy of notice. Alas, that was not the case. The proud Journal linked to the ten entries it had submitted to the Pulitzer board on Rago's behalf. ... Rago's arguments were, in the main, predictable and sometimes fact-challenged. One after another it's simply Rago Against the Machine (Greg Mitchell, 4/19).
Slate: The Death Of Roe V. Wade
[If] fear of Samuel Alito is preventing anyone from challenging the host of increasingly invasive, paternalistic, and degrading state abortion regulations, it's not just abortion foes who are getting what they want. The court is, too. Abortion will have become all but impossible in America-for poor, minority, and rural women in particular-in direct contradiction to a Supreme Court decision, and the court itself will have done nothing to stand in the way. Is that what supporters of the right to abortion, not to mention the rule of law, really want? At the very least, let's put it to the test (Dahlia Lithwick, 4/19).
American Medical News: Humanizing Anatomy: A Medical Student's First Patient
The experience of dissecting a cadaver in a lab always has separated the medical profession from the rest of society, but ideas about what -- beyond basic anatomy -- that rite of passage should teach have evolved. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dissection was seen as a transformative event, and medical students used black humor to defuse tensions surrounding what was then seen as a quasi-legal and ethically questionable activity. In the mid-20th century, anatomy became an opportunity for physicians in training to develop a skill that medical sociologists called "detached concern." Today, most medical schools opt for a more humanistic approach that uses ritual ceremonies to thank cadaver donors, encourages students to reflect on their experiences and, in some cases, allows students to meet and correspond with donors' loved ones (Kevin B. O'Reilly, 4/18).
Hospitals and Health Networks: The Future Of Long-Term Care
As technologies empower patients to take more control of their health and health care, hospitals are destined to downsize to the point where (unless they diversify) they will provide only advanced trauma and critical care. It won't happen overnight, but the portents are visible today in declining inpatient business and increasing outpatient business. ... Intelligent devices increasingly help patients self-diagnose, treat and manage their conditions. Automated systems and ever more intelligent robots provide physical assistance to patients at home, in assisted-living facilities or in nursing homes. Patients will make use of devices, the Internet and social networks to maintain their health and seek help when needed (David Ellis and Dr. Charles H. Roadman II, 4/19).
Modern Healthcare: Taking It To The Next Level
Two years ago, Modern Healthcare's list of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare was crowded with Washington policymakers and lobbyists as they sought to recast the industry into a more accessible, accountable and efficient system of care. Today, the list is dominated by leaders outside the Beltway, just as health reform moves from policymaking to implementation on the local level (Rebecca Vesely, 4/18).