Viewpoints: Home health workers need better pay; Is there a better solution than Medicaid to cover seniors' long-term care?

Published on September 11, 2012 at 12:19 AM · No Comments

CNN: Give Better Pay To Home Care Workers
[F]or the stay-at-home elderly to have so-called "independent living" they must be highly dependent on the home care aides who look after medication schedules, cook meals, assist with bathing and generally keep them happy and healthy. And yet these workers are anything but well cared for. The vast majority are dreadfully overworked and woefully underpaid. The average hourly wage of a home care worker in the United States is less than $10 (Ai-jen Poo, 9/7). 

Los Angeles Times: Know The Consequences Of Cutting Medicaid
Of the nation's major social insurance programs, Medicaid tends to be the one that gets the least respect. The reason is not because it's small -; with some 53 million enrollees, the federal-state program is slightly smaller than Social Security but larger than Medicare -; but because it serves the poorest and sickest Americans, those with the fewest healthcare options (Michael Hiltzik, 9/9).

Bloomberg: Insurance That Would Serve Seniors Better Than Medicaid
People who need custodial care often fall back on Medicaid after they've used up their own resources and can qualify for the program's very low income and wealth limits. ... Obama's strategy is preferable to Romney's in that it would at least preserve the Medicaid safety net for millions who need long-term care. Yet there is another question to consider: Is a welfare program really the best way to provide medical services that so many Americans will someday require? It would be better for people to be insured for this care. Ideally, we would have a program analogous to the Medicare Part D drug benefit or the Medicare Advantage managed-care plan that would help people to buy affordable insurance from private carriers (9/9).

Los Angeles Times: Conventions Without Compromise
That's why, in a year when the public's overriding concern is the economy, so much time at the conventions was devoted to the social issues that both define and divide right and left in America. The Republicans didn't shy away from talk about restricting abortion and defending traditional marriage, because so much of their base wants that message. The Democrats were a mirror image, defending abortion rights and applauding as Obama reiterated his support for gay marriage. And what didn't we hear from either side? Talk about getting along, healing divides or working across the aisle to end partisan gridlock (Doyle McManus, 9/8).

The Wall Street Journal: The True History Of Simpson-Bowles
One of the many ways Paul Ryan scandalized the media-political class in his Tampa convention speech was to criticize President Obama for walking away from the report of his own 2010 deficit commission co-chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson. How dare the upstart Republican blister Mr. Obama when Mr. Ryan himself refused to endorse the final product! Mr. Ryan even had the impudence to say that Mr. Obama "did exactly nothing" as a result of Simpson-Bowles or Mr. Ryan's own budget proposals or any others, "nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue" ... His real objection at the time was that the Simpson-Bowles Democrats refused to offer an equal trade on spending. Their non-negotiable demand was that ObamaCare was off the table and there could be no structural reforms in Medicare and Medicaid (9/9).

The Wall Street Journal: The FDA's New Cigarette Labels Go Up In Smoke
Ever since 2009, when Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration oversight of the tobacco industry, the agency has regularly updated its notorious "smoking kills" labels with a fresh gallery of horrors. Most recently it pushed for full-color images of diseased lungs, cancerous mouths, corpses, and smoke billowing from a hole in a man's neck (Mark Joseph Stern, 9/9).

Kansas City Star: Governor's Veto Of Missouri Abortion Bill Should Stand
On Wednesday, the Missouri General Assembly will convene for its annual veto session. One of the issues before us will be whether to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 749. Senate Bill 749 purports to be legislation to protect the right of people, churches, health care providers and employers who do not want to pay for pay for contraception or abortions when to do so would be contrary to their religious or moral belief. The veto override decision is being characterized as a fight to protect religious liberties. This characterization is false. Missouri law already prevents any employer, individual or self-insurer from having to pay for contraception when it is contrary to their religious or moral belief (State Rep. Chris Kelly, 9/9).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: A Promising Medical Marriage
The recent marriage announcement by Park Nicollet and HealthPartners is a promising example of how regional health institutions have the freedom to attack the problem of delivering better care at better prices and find pioneering ways to forge ahead in a rapidly changing health care landscape. ... "If anybody can pull something like this off, it may be these two organizations,'' said Lawton R. Burns, a health care management professor with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. What's less clear, however, is the pocketbook benefit to consumers over the long term, according to Burns and other experts (9/9).


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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