First Edition: September 6, 2012

Published on September 6, 2012 at 8:05 AM · No Comments

Today's headlines include health policy highlights from the Democratic National Convention as well as dispatches from the states.  

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Study: Decision Aids Show Promise In Reducing Medical Procedures
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Ankita Rao reports: "While policymakers debate whether doctors should be paid by the number of services they provide or the outcomes of their treatment, shared decision could have an impact on the ground by reducing demand for medical procedures. A new Health Affairs report about decision aids, materials given to patients to help educate them about treatment options, shows that they can help hold down costs" (Rao, 9/5). Check out what else is on the blog.

Los Angeles Times: Bill Clinton Fires Up Democratic Convention
The former president assailed Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, for accusing Obama of cutting $716 billion from Medicare -; a move intended to contain costs -- when Ryan's House budget proposal would do the same thing. It takes brass, Clinton said, to mount such an attack (Barabak, 9/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Clinton Makes Case For Obama
He defended Mr. Obama from GOP attacks that he had raided Medicare to pay for his plan to expand health insurance coverage. Mr. Clinton noted that Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, includes the same savings in his budget plan. "It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did," he said…. Mr. Clinton cited Mr. Obama's steps to rescue the auto industry, enact a health care overhaul and increase access to student loans as practical steps to support the middle class. He ticked through provisions of the health bill and said, "Let me ask you something: Are we better off because President Obama fought for health care reform? You bet we are" (Meckler and Lee, 9/6).

Los Angeles Times: Democrats At DNC Paint A Stark Choice For Voters
Elizabeth Warren, the consumer crusader and liberal heroine, joined the parade bashing Mitt Romney at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, saying the GOP nominee would undermine the middle class by slashing the social safety net. In fiery rhetoric drafted for delivery in a prime-time address, the Massachusetts Senate hopeful said Romney "wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires … but he and [running mate] Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucher-ize Medicare and vaporize 'Obamacare'" … One after another, speakers sought Wednesday night to paint that choice in the starkest terms (Barabak, 9/5).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Pelosi: Vote Obama To Save Medicare, Social Security
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continued the  theme of the struggling middle class on Wednesday evening, urging voters in plain terms to support President Barack Obama in order to save Social Security and Medicare from GOP cuts (McKinnon, 9/5).

Politico: Nancy Pelosi: Medicare, Women's Rights At Stake
Nancy Pelosi told Democrats in a prime-time address Wednesday that a vote for President Barack Obama is a "vote for Medicare," positioning the November election as "the clearest choice of our time" between Republicans looking to dismantle the nation's entitlement structure and curb the rights of women, and Democrats looking to rescue it. Pelosi said the election is much more than a choice between two candidates (Sherman, 9/6).

The New York Times: U.S. Court Halts Some Cuts For Medicaid Home Care
While not ruling on the merits of the case, a federal judge in Manhattan decided on Tuesday that the plaintiffs had a "substantial likelihood" of proving that New York City and New York State had violated federal law in cutting back on Medicaid-financed personal care for hundreds of New Yorkers like Mr. Strouchler since last year. The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, issued a preliminary injunction ordering the city to stop reducing or terminating so-called split-shift care for certain reasons, except when a physician had personally examined the patient and found a change in medical condition or if the city submitted a declaration that a mistake had been made (Hartocollis, 9/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Retiree Health Costs Rising
State and local governments in New York will have to come up with an additional quarter of a trillion dollars to pay the entire tab for retiree health care, according to a new report. The $250 billion bill for retiree health coverage is up from $210 billion two years ago, said the study issued by the Empire Center for New York State Policy on Wednesday. Referred to as "other post-employment benefits," or OPEB, the unfunded obligations represent a troubling strain on budgets (Gershman, 9/5).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: $250B Health Cost For NY Public Retirees Predicted
A new report says New York's public sector employees have been promised $250 billion in retirement health benefits, though the state and local governments have not set aside money to cover them. The Empire Center for Public Policy of the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute says the obligations have increased by $45 billion since 2010 (9/6).

Los Angeles Times: CalPERS Saves $37 Million As Medical Groups Coordinate Healthcare
An effort by three healthcare organizations that saved the California Public Employees' Retirement System $37 million in the last two years is gaining national attention as Medicare and employers search for ways to control rising medical costs (Terhune, 9/5).

Los Angeles Times: California's Bid To End U.S. Control Of Prison Healthcare Denied
A judge has again rejected the state's request for a speedy end to federal control of prison healthcare. In an order issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson said he would require tougher reviews than the state wanted before agreeing to dissolve the receivership that has run inmate medical care for six years (Megerian, 9/6).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NFL Pledges $30 Million For Medical Research
The NFL has pledged $30 million for medical research to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday announced the donation to the foundation, which helps raise private funding for the NIH, the nation's leading medical research agency (9/5). 


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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