KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Longer Looks: Controversial Raffle For IVF Treatment

Every week Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The New York Times: Clinic Raffles Could Make You A Winner, And Maybe A Mother
"That's right, one lucky woman will win the ultimate chance at starting or building her family," said a contest announcement issued in April by Long Island I.V.F., a clinic in Melville that offers in vitro fertilization to women who are having difficulty conceiving. Contestants were asked to submit "the most emotional or entertaining essays and homemade amateur videos" explaining why they wanted a free round of I.V.F. ... Fertility clinics around the country have found that such promotions, which can include random drawings and essay contests, can be an effective way to raise their profiles and crowd their mailing lists with potential customers (Douglas Quenqua, 10/20).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Community Health Workers: A New Health-Care Workforce For The Era Of Health Reform
In the early 1990s, when airline companies were competing fiercely for high-paying, first-class customers, Southwest Airlines developed a radical model that alarmed competitors. ... targeting the many millions of travelers interested only in finding a cheap and reliable flight. ... The current American health-care system, with its focus on delivering expensive treatments to well-insured individuals, is ripe for a similar revolution. There is a largely untapped workforce with the potential to lead such a revolution in the health-care market — the too-often unheralded community health workers. ... As such programs are brought to scale nationally, they will help create a high-quality "coach" service in health care that may eventually transform the public’s health (Matt O’Brien, 10/19).

The New Yorker: Beware Of Romneycare
Mitt Romney can be a hard man to pin down. But there is one thing that he's been clear about: if he becomes President, he will repeal Obamacare. ... Romney's proposed alternative is to give individuals a tax break when they buy insurance and to push them toward high-deductible insurance plans, which he believes will make them more rigorous and price-conscious in choosing doctors and treatments. ... In most areas of the economy, free-market principles insure that products and services keep improving, and that consumers get better and better deals. But the free market, though it may be the best way of allocating new TVs and cars, falters when it comes to paying for bypass surgery or chemotherapy (James Surowiecki, October, 2012).

The Daily Beast: Romney’s Audacious Centrist Evolution Leaves Old Positions in the Dust
The Mitt Romney who has been selling himself to America in the three presidential debates seems like a reasonable, common-sense fellow. ... But this is not the presidential candidate we have seen for the last two years. ... When Romney spent the primaries denouncing Obamacare, he didn’t talk much about not letting insurance companies deny coverage for preexisting conditions—and despite his vow to take care of that, the former governor’s approach would affect only those who already have employer-paid insurance (Howard Kurtz, 10/24).

The Los Angeles Times: Hospital Volunteer Understands Plight Of Newborns In Critical Care
Tiny 10-day-old Hunter Carrillo lay sedated on an elevated bed at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, hooked to a massive machine taking the place of his heart, lungs and kidneys. ... For nearly a week, the Carrillos have watched as a team of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, cardiologists and surgeons worked around-the-clock, helping Hunter recover from an infection that caused him to stop breathing and his heart to stop pumping. ... As a newborn, Nallely Gomez fought for her life at the same hospital, hooked to a similar heart/lung bypass machine. Gomez, 19, now volunteers at the hospital's Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit, stocking shelves, answering phones and most importantly, comforting parents (Anna Gorman, 10/22).


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