Viewpoints: Health law can be intensely personal; Insurers' promises miss the mark

Published on June 21, 2012 at 7:25 AM · No Comments

Los Angeles Times: When Healthcare Reform Is Personal
Whenever I read or hear objections to "Obamacare," I think about my friend's son. The son had cancer when he was a teenager. Thankfully, his dad had health insurance -- through his job. A job that he lost. He has a new job now, but like so many new jobs, it doesn't pay as much -- and it doesn't come with benefits. Fortunately, his son seems to have beaten the cancer. And the family now has health insurance from the mom's job. So the son, thanks to "Obamacare," can be insured through his parents (Paul Whitefield, 6/19).

Denver Post: Health Care Reforms Must Treat Costs
With a Supreme Court decision on federal health reform expected any day, you might expect us to cheer news that several of the largest health care providers will keep popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," in place. And while we're pleased to see the insurers finally come around on some issues, the fact remains that none is willing or able to address the costliest of the health reforms (6/19).

Detroit Free Press: An Investment In Health At The Community Level
Today, I'm scheduled to visit the Covenant Community Care health center here in Detroit to announce nearly $129 million in additional grants that will bring primary care to underserved communities across America. These grants, made possible by the 2010 health reform law, are part of one of the underreported success stories of the last few years -- a historic investment that is bolstering health services for our most vulnerable populations around the country. We know that people who have doctors, nurses, dentists and mental health professionals nearby are much more likely to get the care they need. Yet we've seen a growing shortage of health care providers in many communities, especially in inner-city neighborhoods (HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 6/20).

Archives of Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery: Why Are More Costly And More Dangerous Surgical Procedures Being Developed? 
Yet during this time of dramatic cost-containment initiatives for health care in the United States and around the world, (two journal studies) are seemingly advocating modifications to standard approaches that currently have low morbidity to procedures that are more expensive and more dangerous. Why is this occurring? ... It would seem that now is the time for our journal leaders to consider mandating some type of discussion of cost-effectiveness in every publication proposing a new diagnostic, therapeutic, or preventive innovation so that the readership can consider a component of professional responsibility that is now becoming increasingly important (Dr. David E. Schuller, 6/19).

The Wall Street Journal: Foreign Medicare Fraud
The $31 million Medicare-fraud case reported from Miami yesterday may not be the largest in American history but certainly is one of the more innovative. According to the Miami Herald, it is "the first such case that directly traces money fleeced from the beleaguered program into the Cuban banking system." The Herald described the heist as "an intricate system" that funneled money "from fraudulent HIV treatment and medical equipment billings, first through banks in Canada and Trinidad and eventually [to] Cuba" (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, 6/19).

Boston Globe: Put Away The Red Tape
As sure as if Medicare had given every doctor in the nation a stroke, your physician has become paralyzed. A surreal series of demands from insurance companies and Medicare for increasing amounts of documentation on every patient has produced large inefficiencies in modern medicine. Intended to trim costs and improve care, these rules have instead burdened doctors with needless, time-consuming paperwork. As the state and federal governments look for ways to cut health care costs, adding more paperwork requirements can't be part of the solution (Drs. Allan H. Ropper, Anthony A. Amato and Martin A. Samuels, 6/19).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Pharma Strategies For 2020 Take A Hit
Even people with good health insurance that includes a prescription drug benefit should not remain blasé about these escalating costs because more policies are changing to shared risk coverage. Under that sort of system, out-of-pocket costs are not limited to standard deductibles and co-payments. They also include a percentage of a drug's total cost (Daniel Hoffman, 6/19).

JAMA: Designing Health Care For The Most Common Chronic Condition-;Multimorbidity
Despite the predominance of multiple chronic conditions, however, reimbursement remains linked to discrete International Classification of Diseases diagnostic codes, none of which are for multimorbidity or multiple chronic conditions. Specialists are responsible for a single disease among the patient's many. Quality measurement largely ignores the unintended consequences of applying the multiple interventions necessary to adhere to every applicable measure (Drs. Mary E. Tinetti, Terri R. Fried and Cynthia M. Boyd, 6/20).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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