Health Reform

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/wbumpus6/public_html/seachange/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.module on line 1364.

Kathleen Sebelius’s health-care muddle

Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, December 22, 2011 When the history of the 2012 campaign is written, a special place may be reserved for Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services secretary and former governor of Kansas, who is doing her best to make the Affordable Care Act - aka Obamacare - disappear as a political liability for the president. The most compelling evidence of this is her decision to delegate to states the final decision on defining “essential health benefits” for minimum health insurance coverage. Some background: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all Americans to have health insurance. ... Kathleen

GOP Poised to Postpone Doc Pay Cut

Wayne J. Guglielmo, Medscape Medical News, December 22, 2011

In what some see as a capitulation in the face of mounting pressure in and outside the party, House Republican leaders reached an agreement this evening that, among other things, would postpone the 27.4% cut in Medicare physician reimbursement schedule to take effect on January 1.

Along with delaying the cut until March 1, the deal, if pushed to a successful full vote of the House, would also extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits for the same period. Each of these provisions is outlined in a Senate bill that House members rejected on Tuesday by a vote of 229 to 193.

Promises Kept? Obama Acts on Home Care

Eileen Boris & Jennifer Klein, Dissent, December 22, 2011 “He did it. He kept it,” exclaimed Pauline Beck of Oakland, California, upon hearing that President Obama had moved to cover home care workers like her under the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). During the presidential primary campaign, Obama spent a day walking in her shoes: preparing breakfast, mopping up, and getting Mr. John, an elderly amputee, ready for the day. “He promised he was going to do everything he can to help me out. He asked me about my concerns and feelings,” Beck recalled. ... Promises

Insurer to reward patients for finding cheaper care

Harvard Pilgrim plan seeks to reduce costs. Robert Weisman, Boston Globe, December 20, 2011 Richard C. Lord, the president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, said, “We’ve been talking about getting consumers more engaged in making their own health care decisions.” Told they need a routine medical test, such as a colonoscopy or a mammogram, most patients go wherever the doctor recommends. But under a program being rolled out next month by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, they could be paid to seek care somewhere else. The health insurer plans to introduce a rewards program ... Insurer

Supreme Court to hear arguments in March on healthcare law

The justices schedule 5 1/2 hours of argument, the most for a case since the 1960s, a sign they see it as a landmark test of federal regulatory power. David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2011 Washington - The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear arguments over three days in late March to decide the constitutionality of President Obama's healthcare law, another sign the justices see the case as a once-in-a-generation test of the federal government's regulatory power.

 The 5 1/2 hours of argument are believed to be the most time devoted to a single case since the 1960s. ... Supreme

More than 30 organizations to test new health-care model for seniors

Christian Torres, Washington Post, December 19, 2011 Thirty-two groups were named Monday to test a new health-care model, called for in the health-care law and designed to improve care for seniors while reducing costs. The groups, which range from Boston-based Partners HealthCare, the largest health-care provider in Massachusetts, to the doctor-led HealthCare Partners of southern Nevada, were selected as the first Medicare accountable care organizations by the Department of Health and Human Services. The organizations are designed to save $1 billion over five years ... More

Medicare penalties for readmissions are likely to hit hospitals serving the poor

Jordan Rau, Washington Post, December 19, 2011 James Breedin cannot keep track of how often he has been admitted to Howard University Hospital for heart problems. “It’s been so many,” said Breedin, a 75-year-old disabled former truck driver from Northeast Washington. One reason for his frequent returns, he says, is that he often can’t afford the medications his doctor prescribes, “so I have to do without.” Another is that he fears exercising outside because of neighborhood violence. Medicare is preparing to penalize hospitals with frequent potentially avoidable readmissions ... Medicare

HHS names Pioneer ACOs

Jessica Zigmond & Rich Daly, Modern Healthcare, December 19, 2011 HHS on Monday announced the 32 organizations the agency selected from among 80 applicants to participate in the Pioneer accountable care organization model. Overseen by the CMS Innovation Center, the Pioneer ACO model will test the effects of several payment arrangements to support these groups in providing better care and outcomes at a lower cost, according to HHS, which estimated the project could save up to $1.1 billion over five years. ... HHS

Testimony on Behalf of the Massachusetts Medicare for All Bill (S.501/H.338)

Before Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.
Sandy Eaton, RN, National Nurses United, December 15, 2011

My name is Sandy Eaton. I’m a registered nurse currently employed by Quincy Medical Center. I’m a member of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and I chair the Legislative Council of the National Nurses United, a national union of 175,000 nurses laboring in the vineyards of health care from Maine to California. The MNA is its local incarnation. I offer testimony here today on behalf of the NNU.

Ventilator errors are linked to 119 deaths

Warnings are often ignored, missed by overtaxed caregivers. Liz Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, December 11, 2011 More than a hundred patients who depend on ventilators to breathe have died since 2005 in incidents involving the machines’ warning alarms, such as caregivers failing to respond to beeps warning of a problem or setting alarms improperly so they sounded too softly or not at all. An analysis of federal safety reports by the Globe shows that at least 119 people died nationwide between 2005 and May 2011 because of such alarm-related problems. ... Ventilator

Health care jobs grow ... in administration

Russ Mitchell, Kaiser Health News, November 30, 2011 After New Hampshire's legislature severely cut Medicaid funding last summer, hospitals throughout the state began shedding jobs. Exeter Health Resources, which runs a 100-bed hospital near the coast, lopped off 110, almost 5% of its workforce, many of them nurses and other caregivers. Yet Exeter is still hiring - mainly administrative workers. "We're trying to balance the need to cut costs with the need to grow," says Mark Whitney, Exeter's vice president for strategy. "It's an interesting balance." It's a paradox, too. ... Health

A Model of Health

Members of New York's Local 6 have some of the best - and most cost-effective - care in the country. Robert Kuttner, American Prospect, November 7, 2011 In 2005, when Local 6 won its first union contract at the boutique Time Hotel on West 49th Street, Angel Aybar, then a 21-year-old room attendant responsible for checking, cleaning, and restocking minibars, not only got a raise from $10 to $16.50 an hour; he became a member of a uniquely effective health plan. The New York hotel workers’ plan provides comprehensive coverage at its own health centers, including full dental and optical care, with no deductibles or co-pays and a core philosophy that emphasizes primary care, wellness, and prevention. ... A

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions Asks Federal Government to Support Innovation in Public Health Care System

Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, October 20, 2011 Ottawa - Yesterday, as part of the pre-budget consultation process of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Pauline Worsfold, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), made on behalf of nurses three recommendations for Budget 2012, that will make, if implemented, a difference in the lives of patients today and ensure a skilled, stable nursing workforce for tomorrow. ... Canadian

Impassioned Main Street Protesters Crash Washington Wall Street Health Care Conference

Workers Independent News, October 13, 2011 Every year the Center for Studying Health System Change hosts a conference in Washington, DC called “Wall Street Comes to Washington.” As Jesse Russell reports, it was far from business as usual this year. This year they might as well as called it “Occupy Wall Street Comes to Washington” as the conference was disrupted by protesters saying that Wall Street has no place in health care. The panelists at the conference represent Citigroup, Citi Investment Research, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. Dr. Margaret Flowers stepped to the mic and said there is no room for Wall Street in health care. ... Impassioned

Hospitals push age hike for Medicare

Seek to avoid cuts in federal payments.
Tracy Jan, Boston Globe, September 30, 2011

Washington - As the deficit reduction supercommittee hunts for $1.5 trillion in additional savings, US hospital executives are so worried about having their payments cut that they plan to start lobbying Congress next week to shift the burden onto their elderly patients - specifically by raising the age of eligibility for Medicare.

Syndicate content