Under the Microscope
SPECIAL ISSUE: Consumer Reports Guide to Health-Care Reform
Consumer Reports magazine has seven full pages of the personal stores of American consumers and providers who are struggling with the health care system. Following each story, the magazine recommends specific reforms to attack the problems. It also contains facts behind some of the skepticism surrounding reform. [Consumer Reports, June 2009]
PROPOSAL: Financing Health Reform: A Plan to Ensure the Cost of Reform is Budget Neutral
Financing issues are among the most difficult problems in health care. Because of the deteriorating federal budget, health care reform needs to be budget-neutral over the course of the next decade. After that interval, health reform needs to reduce projected deficits, or the budgetary situation will become untenable. To make this happen, health care reform needs to insure that all Americans have health insurance coverage. [Center for American Progress, June 2009]
Health Care Headlines
Sebelius Sees Room for U.S. Health Cooperative, Few GOP Votes
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she’s open to the idea of a medical- insurance cooperative and counts no more than 10 Republican votes in the Senate for overhauling the U.S. system of care. [Bloomberg News, 6/27/2009]
Axelrod: No Ultimatum on Public Plan
White House senior adviser David Axelrod says President Barack Obama would like to have a public option – or government-run insurance plan – as part of a health reform package, but will not insist on it. [Politico, 6/28/2009]
State of Play: Congress Breaks, White House Motors On
Congress will be out this week, so the White House is filling the health-care space with a series of events — in person and over the Internet — to keep the spotlight on the president’s top domestic priority. [Washington Post, 6/29/2009]
Baucus Ups Pressure on Health Groups
The Senate Finance Committee is pressuring hospitals and insurers to follow the lead of the pharmaceutical industry and pony up to help pay for health reform, industry insiders say.
AARP Threatens Sens. on Health Care
Horse trading in Washington is infamous. But it's rare to catch a glimpse of the horse in the midst of the trade in real time. [Politico, 6/27/2009]
A Painless Way to Hold Down Health Costs?
Slowing the growth of health spending doesn't have to hurt. That's the message some health experts are trying to send as Congress struggles to trim back a health sector that's set to consume a quarter of the nation's economic output by the year 2025. [NPR, 6/29/2009]
Healthcare Activists Targeting Democrats
In the high-stakes battle over health care, a growing cadre of liberal activists is aiming its sharpest firepower against Democratic senators who they accuse of being insufficiently committed to the cause. [Washington Post, 6/28/2009] See a related article in The Hill.
EDITORIAL: Insurance Company Schemes
Congressional committees heard a lot this month about the devious schemes used by health insurance companies to drop or shortchange sick patients. It was a damning portrait — and one Americans know from painful personal experience — of an industry that all too often puts profits ahead of patients.
[New York Times, 6/28/2009]
OPINION: Time for Iron Man
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Every general studies the mistakes of the last war, and President Obama's style has been much influenced by the difficulties of Bill Clinton's presidency. [Washington Post, 6/29/2009]
OPINION: A Tail Wags The Dog on Health Reform
By Ruth Marcus
The health-care debate is focused these days way too much on the tail and not nearly enough on the rest of the dog. The disappointing result could be a stubby little tail attached to a poorly designed -- not to mention astonishingly expensive -- dog. [Washington Post, 6/28/2009]
OPINION: The Public Option Is Important. But How Important?
By Jonathan Cohn
Speaking on Thursday before thousands of activists gathered on Capitol Hill, former Governor Howard Dean made clear his litmus test for health reform: “We expect change,” he told the crowd, “We want a public health insurance option now.” [New Republic, 6/27/2009]
OPINION: Pharmacists Need a Place at the Health Reform Table
By Natalie D. Eddington, dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
To help guarantee health care reform that reduces costs and builds "health care teams that work" (to use President Barack Obama's words), pharmacists must play a key role in the planning process being undertaken by the federal government. [Baltimore Sun, 6/29/2009]