KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Longer Looks: Toobin’s Tips On SCOTUS Decision

Every week, KHN reporter Shefali S. Kulkarni selects interesting reading from around the Web.

ABC News: Health Scare: How Much Will You Pay For Health Care?
When the nurse calls my name, I head up to the check-in desk. "I'm sorry," she says as she lowers her eyes and hands me the phone. On the other end of the line, a woman identifies herself as a "third-party intermediary" for my insurance company. She says she is calling to inform me that the procedure I am scheduled to have in just a few minutes has been approved ... However, my chosen provider is more expensive than other options and may result in a higher co-payment. ... I ask the obvious question: "If I stay, how much will it cost me?" Her answer is that she is not authorized to give me that information  (Liz Neporent, 6/1).

The New Yorker: The Real Stakes in the Health-Care Case: A Guide 
Can the Justices strike down part of the law and leave the rest of the two-thousand-seven-hundred-page law intact? In some respects, this was the most surprising part of the argument—and the most disturbing development for the Obama Administration. Two Justices—Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy (the supposed swing vote in the case)—appeared to feel that it was best to strike down the full law, including the parts that are clearly constitutional, and let Congress start from scratch (Jeffrey Toobin, 6/5).

American Medical News: Doctors Quick To Adopt Tablets Into Practice
Before the nurse leaves the exam room, she hands the patient an Apple iPad and queues up one of more than 30 video modules, a choice made based on the patient's condition or health concerns. ... [The Manhattan Research's "Taking the Pulse U.S. 2012" survey of 3,015 physicians in 25 specialties], conducted in the first three months of 2012, found that 62% of physicians owned a tablet computer, up from 27% in 2011, the first full year after the introduction of the iPad set off the newest wave of tablets. Of the 62% who own tablets, half use them at the point of care (Pamela Lewis Dolan, 6/4).

Related, earlier KHN story: For Hospitals, There’s No App For That (Gold, 12/26/11)

The Atlantic: You Say 'Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder,' I Say 'Autism'
It used to be that ten years ago, for every 156 eight-year-olds, one would have autism. In 2004, that figure had risen to 1 in 125. By 2006, 1 in 110 children had it, and according to data released this March by the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in every 88 kids in America had the disorder in 2008. ... But it doesn't tell us why so many more children are being diagnosed with the developmental disorder now than before. One obvious possibility is that the rate of autism really is increasing -- whether through factors in our surroundings that we can control or thanks to genetic factors we can't. But it could also be that the rise in autism diagnoses has nothing to do with the actual disease so much as the way we talk about it (Brian Fung, 6/4).

The New Yorker: Failure And Rescue
Some [hospitals] still have far higher death rates than others. And an interesting line of research has opened up asking why. Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered the answer recently, and it has a twist I didn’t expect. I thought that the best places simply did a better job at controlling and minimizing risks—that they did a better job of preventing things from going wrong. But, to my surprise, they didn’t. Their complication rates after surgery were almost the same as others. Instead, what they proved to be really great at was rescuing people when they had a complication, preventing failures from becoming a catastrophe (Atul Gawande, 6/4).

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