KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Rational, Not Rationing, Medicare Cuts; Paul Ryan’s Future; Hospitals’ Clout

The New York Times: Super Disclose Them
Congress needs to make sure that lobbying — and every dollar of campaign contributions to the [super] committee’s members — is fully and immediately disclosed. ... The American Hospital Association has vowed a "full-court press" on the committee, as have defense industries and others (8/22).

The Wall Street Journal: The Paul Ryan Model 
And if there is a GOP Administration in 2013, Mr. Ryan may have the opportunity to midwife the kind of economic, budget and entitlement reforms that he has been promoting for more than a decade, well before the Obama era. ... Among the current crop of candidates, none has managed to articulate free-market principles and policies with Mr. Ryan's fluency or conviction (8/23).

The New York Times: Cut Medicare, Help Patients
There is no way to solve the nation's long-term debt problem without reducing the growth rate of federal health care spending. The only question is whether the cuts will be smart ones. ... The list of procedures Medicare pays for that are proven to have no benefit goes on and on. Cutting payment for these is not rationing. It saves money, but it also protects patients from the pain, stress and risks associated with unnecessary care (Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Jeffrey B. Liebman, 8/22). 

Forbes: Competing To Save The Health-Care System Money
American seniors recently received some good news — they won't be seeing higher premiums in 2012 for their Medicare prescription drug benefits. ... Better health outcomes at lower prices? What gives? The answer lies in Part D's structure, which relies on private firms competing to deliver the best benefits at the lowest price (Sally Pipes, 8/22).

Forbes: Hospital Monopolies: The Biggest Driver Of Health Costs That Nobody Talks About
Insurers can, and do, play a constructive role in preventing doctors from overcharging for their services. By requiring their beneficiaries to use doctors that charge less, such as what's done in a preferred provider network, they can help keep costs down. But insurers have much less leverage with the most predatory force in our health-care system: hospital monopolies (Avik Roy, 8/22). 

Dallas Morning News: The Public Deserves Far Better From Parkland Hospital
Now, there can be no doubt. The problems that regulators from the U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services found at Parkland Memorial Hospital were no mere technical violations of medical practices. That was what CEO Ron Anderson suggested before Parkland released the CMS report Friday. Not unless you consider being lost in a hallway, doubled over in pain, a technicality (8/22).

Modern Healthcare: CHIME Time: Facing Health IT's Varied, Multiplying Demands
We all are going after meaningful-use incentives that require no less than a transformation of healthcare delivery, demanding a fundamental shift in our workforce's traditional roles and responsibilities. ... In reality, we accept ultimately that vendors are spread as thinly as we are and that we must get in line for upgrades and support (Edith Dees, 8/22).

The Sacramento Bee: Impact Of Med Center Is Concern In Elmhurst
We all recognize the tremendous value of having a world-class medical facility in our city. The medical and other services the [UC Davis] Med Center provides are important not just to its adjoining neighborhoods, but to the entire city and, indeed, to the entire region. ... As residents of Elmhurst, we are much more concerned on a day-to-day basis with the impact the Med Center has simply as a very large neighbor rather than as a distinguished health care facility (Gordon Olson and Kerry Freeman, 8/23).

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