Viewpoints: Lots of advice for super committee on Medicare, Medicaid

The Washington Post: Unconstitutional Obamacare? Supreme Court Battle Is On In 2012
Obama partisans, you must consider at least two, possibly mixed results -; a politically risky legal battle on the individual mandate in the middle of a presidential campaign, and added insurance that Obama administration lawyers will see the case through its final appeal (Stephen Stromberg, 9/26).

The New York Times: The Pentagon Budget And The Deficit
President Obama has proposed two changes that would save $27 billion over 10 years: increasing co-payments for some prescription drugs for retirees and dependents of active-duty soldiers and charging a modest fee for policies supplementing Medicare coverage for retirees. That would still leave insurees paying substantially less than most other Americans (9/26). 

The New York Times: To Save On Health Care, First Crack Down On Fraud
But before charging consumers more and eliminating valuable services, we should be much more aggressive in recovering money stolen from these taxpayer-supported programs. According to some estimates, health care fraud is a $250 billion-a-year industry, and about $100 billion of that is stolen from Medicare, the health care program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor and disabled (Kathleen Sharp, 9/26).

Bloomberg: Forget Taxes, Focus On Medicare To Cut Deficits
[The super committee] should skip the paralyzing arguments over taxes and focus on paring back Medicare spending. ... Senators Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, and Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, have suggested some reforms to Medicare that would generate about $600 billion in savings within the next 10 years (Ramesh Ponnuru, 9/26).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: If You're Going To Put What Doctors Charge Under The Magnifying Glass
The cost of health care deserves attention -- it is too high, is growing too fast and is unaffordable for too many…. A focus on physician income as a significant contributor to the high cost of health care misses the mark. The opportunity we have is in examining total health care spending, understanding the real drivers of that spending and considering what we can do about it here in Minnesota (Dr. Lyle Swenson, 9/26).

Roll Call: Focus On Policies Outside Health Care Could Improve Americans' Health
In the coming year, Congress will debate such major legislation as the farm bill and the Surface Transportation Extension Act. At first glance, these bills might not seem important to health, but they will have far-reaching consequences for the health and well-being of American communities. Factoring health into these decisions offers a huge opportunity to maximize benefits and ultimately reduce medical costs (Dr. Aaron Wernham, 9/26).

Forbes: Rick Perry's Intriguing Idea For Bi-National Health Insurance
[B]i-national health insurance, as Perry once proposed it, is precisely the kind of free-market health policy solution we need more of, not less. ... the idea here was to explore the possibility of allowing private insurers to cover health services provided in either Texas or Mexico. It was an attempt at studying the deregulation of the provision of health insurance by private entities (Avik Roy, 9/26).

The Hill: Medicaid: A Lifeline For Latinos That Cannot Be On The Chopping Block
There was a bright spot in the U.S. Census data released this week.  While nearly a million more Latinos are wrestling with the ills of poverty, uninsurance has gone down in the Latino community. ... The small improvements are due in large part to the role that public health insurance programs, like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), play in the households of Latinos and other Americans.  There is, however, a serious concern on the horizon (Jennifer Ng'andu, 9/26).

Houston Chronicle: Medicaid Cuts Would Be Costly To Texas
Budget cuts now may appear to be cost-effective, but would bring about increased costs in the future that may otherwise be minimized or even eliminated with health care and health promotion initiatives. The coverage provided by Medicaid to those with long-term [stroke and heart disease] needs allows for timely care and maintenance of their disease process. Losing coverage may mean higher medical costs, sicker individuals and premature deaths (Ann Quinn Todd, 9/26). 

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.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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