Viewpoints: Michelle Obama makes a business case for healthy food; Orszag weighs reforms to Medical malpractice

Published on February 28, 2013 at 11:24 PM · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal: The Business Case For Healthier Food Options
For years, America's childhood obesity crisis was viewed as an insurmountable problem, one that was too complicated and too entrenched to ever really solve. According to the conventional wisdom, healthy food simply didn't sell-;the demand wasn't there and higher profits were found elsewhere-;so it just wasn't worth the investment. But thanks to businesses across the country, today we are proving the conventional wisdom wrong (Michelle Obama, 2/27). 

Politico: Under ACA, Employer Mandate Could Mean Fewer Jobs
With the employer mandate, Obamacare puts the nation's job creators between a rock and a hard place. Despite the gentle sounding title, the Shared Responsibility provision actually takes the two parties who should be making decisions about employer-sponsored health coverage (the employer and the employee) completely out of the equation. Beginning in 2014, large employers must provide a prescribed level of health care coverage to all full-time employees or potentially pay a hefty penalty. While this may sound relatively straightforward, it is anything but (Dan Danner, Bruce Josten, Matthew Shay and Dirk Von Dongen, 2/27).

Bloomberg: To Fix U.S. Budget, Reform Medical Malpractice Law
The sequestration that is about to take effect imposes too much austerity too soon, does so in a nonsensical way, and yet does little to improve the long-term U.S. fiscal picture. Far more beneficial would be to make sure that the deceleration in health costs we have been enjoying continues. This is why medical-malpractice reform, although far from a panacea, is worth trying (Peter Orszag, 2/27).

The Wall Street Journal's Political Diary: The Jersey Doughboy
Chris Christie just can't help himself, can he? Whenever the feds are offering dough-;and it's free-;he's got to have some. The New Jersey governor yesterday embraced the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion on the grounds that if New Jersey doesn't help itself to the Medicaid pie, other states would just take its share (Allysia Finley, 2/27).

JAMA: State Health Exchanges, A Skeptical Public, And The Role Of Health Care Professionals
Although there is concern that some insurance companies may decide it's too unprofitable for them to participate in the exchanges, the most pressing challenge for most of the exchanges will be meeting their enrollment goals. And that's where health care professionals come in. Primary care practices, community health centers, and emergency rooms provide crucial opportunities for uninsured patients to learn about getting covered at a low cost-;and, in some cases, for free. As trusted sources, physicians and nurses-;and all health care professionals-;hold the keys to raising awareness about the exchanges (Diana Mason, 2/27).

Medpage Today: Zero Tolerance For Medical Error? Think Again!
After only a couple of incidents, the federal government grounded this newest, most technically sophisticated (Boeing 787 "Dreamliner") airliner until the problem was fully understood, the deficiency corrected, and the risk to passengers and crew minimized. Shouldn't we address surgical "never events", which affect 4,160 patients each year, with the same urgency and gravity that we address the potential risk to 210-270 passengers of travelling in the "Dreamliner"? (Dr. David Nash, 2/27).

Oregonian: Boost Oregon's Childhood Vaccination Rates By Trying Washington's Technique
Oregon could wait for an epidemic. The state could retain its casual approach to childhood vaccinations and keep its ranking as the nation's worst for protecting children against terrible and preventable diseases. Or, Oregon could follow Washington's lead and take one simple step to improve its childhood vaccination rates -- and do so without infringing on anyone's religious liberty. The choice is clear. Oregon should pass a Senate bill under consideration that would require parents who withhold mandatory vaccines from their children to get a doctor's signature showing that they have been informed of the risks and benefits (2/27).

Los Angeles Times: Critiquing The Stem Cell Board
After years of resisting all criticisms of its operations, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is finally listening -; a little. It spent $700,000 for an outside, high-level review that complimented the stem cell agency for funding an excellent portfolio of research projects, but also raised serious objections to the agency's structure, which the review said was likely to lead to financial conflicts of interest (2/27).

And The New England Journal of Medicine hosted several columns on the issue of open access in scientific journals.

The New England Journal of Medicine: Protecting Patient Privacy And Data Security
Too often, unauthorized people succeed in extracting protected information from health care providers. Invasion of privacy also affects noncelebrities, when anyone seeks health information the patient has not chosen to share. More often, though, scam artists seek patients' billing information for financial gain. The patient's insurance identifier is then used by an uninsured person to obtain medical services or by a fraudulent health care provider to bill for medical services that were never rendered. Data security breaches and medical identity theft are growing concerns, with thousands of cases reported each year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tracks nearly 300,000 compromised Medicare-beneficiary numbers (Dr. Julie K. Taitsman, Christi Macrina Grimm and Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, 2/27).

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