First Edition: January 9, 2014

Published on January 9, 2014 at 8:01 AM · No Comments

Politico: Battling Cancer Again, Coburn May Cut Short His Term
Sen. Tom Coburn doesn't seem like a typical cancer patient. The Oklahoma Republican often arrives in his office two hours before his aides, sometimes as early as 4 a.m. He attends virtually all of his committee hearings. And in the evenings, he either dines with his senator buddies at Capitol Hill establishments or attends his weekly meetings of Christian conservatives at the infamous C Street house (Raju, 1/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Management Shareholders Approve Takeover By Community Health
Health Management Associates Inc. shareholders voted to approve the hospital operator's $3.9 billion takeover by Community Health Systems Inc., overcoming opposition from some investors. The pact, which is expected to be completed by the end of the month, would create the largest U.S. hospital company by number of hospitals and No. 2 by revenue (Pollock and Stynes, 1/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Massachusetts Wastes Third Of Health Spending, Report Says
More than a third of health-care spending may be wasteful in Massachusetts, where costs are among the highest in the nation, a state report released on Wednesday said. Main drivers of excess spending included patients returning to hospitals for preventable reasons and emergency-room visits that better primary care could have warded off, the state's Health Policy Commission concluded, citing 2012 data. The commission estimated between $14.7 billion and $26.9 billion in wasteful spending that year, representing between 21% and 39% of total health expenditures (Kamp, 1/8).

Los Angeles Times: New California Physician Group Ratings Unveiled By Consumer Reports
Californians searching for a doctor have new ratings from Consumer Reports on 170 physician groups statewide. The scores released Wednesday are intended to help consumers see how different medical offices measure up on providing care and dealing with patients (Terhune, 1/8). 

The New York Times: In Annual Speech, Vermont Governor Shifts Focus To Drug Abuse
In a sign of how drastic the epidemic of drug addiction here has become, Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday devoted his entire State of the State Message to what he said was "a full-blown heroin crisis" gripping Vermont (Seelye, 1/8).

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown To Propose Billions In New Spending
When he unveils his new budget plan Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown will propose billions of dollars in new spending on schools, healthcare, social services and environmental programs as California reaps the benefits of an economic turnaround. … The proposed budget includes $670 million more for Medi-Cal, the state's public healthcare program, which is expanding as part of President Obama's federal overhaul. The program is expected to serve a quarter of California's residents next year (Megerian and York, 1/8).

The Washington Post: Deeds Returns To The Virginia Senate Seven Weeks After His Son's Attack And Suicide
In one of his rare public comments since the November tragedy, Deeds told his local paper via email that he would make it his life's work to correct the systemic flaws that he blames for his son's death. He has already proposed two bills intended to do just that. One would lengthen the time authorities can hold someone subject to a court order while searching for a psychiatric placement. The other would create an online registry that would provide real-time data on the availability of psychiatric beds (Vozzella, 1/8).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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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