Hospitals hoping to attract patients and build their brands are teaming up with medical-screening companies to promote tests aimed at consumers worried about potentially deadly heart disease or strokes. What their promotions don’t say is that an influential government panel recommends against using many of the tests on people without symptoms or risk factors…
Such screenings “not only can raise [health care] costs, but also can lead to additional testing that is harmful,” [Steven] Weinberger and two co-authors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal in August, calling hospital involvement without disclosing potential downsides “unethical.” (Julie Appleby/Kaiser Health News)
Josh Barro is the latest in a long line of left-of-center critics who fault Republicans for not being real partners in the health care debate. He writes:
Liberals are tired of being lectured by conservatives about what’s wrong with their approach to health policy because conservatives haven’t been a productive partner in seeking a fix.
Josh is half right. Yes, the left gave us a “fix” in the form of ObamaCare. But I believe it’s fair to say that no serious effort was made to work with Republicans. Remember: ObamaCare didn’t get one Republican vote on final passage. That’s not surprising. A few years back, when the Republicans pushed through the Part D drug benefit under Medicare, I don’t think a single Democrat offered to help with the legislation.
I’ve been a close observer of health care politics for a quarter of a century and in all that time I have seen very little productive interchange between the left and the right on this subject. And this is not just true of Washington. It’s true generally across the country.
Why is that?
At the most fundamental level, the left and the right approach the subject from completely opposite directions. The left invariably focuses on benefits. The right invariably focuses on costs. The left is concerned about what people are going to get. The right is concerned about how we are going to pay for it. You can find left wing health reform plans that barely mention how the reform will be paid for — or who will pay what for anything. You can find right wing reform plans that don’t even mention what medical care anyone will actually receive.
This, of course, is part of a larger division. In general, the left focuses on spending. The right focuses on taxes. But in health care the division is more pronounced. In fact, in health care the two sides don’t appear to be talking about the same subject.
Don’t take me half the way.
I suspect this is happening all over the country. In response to the Affordable Care Act:
Many organizations, including Dallas ISD, are still reviewing how much their bills will be. But some are predicting costs in the millions. The city of Dallas expects a $2.1 million annual increase in health insurance costs by 2014.
Dallas County has estimated its annual tax bill will increase by $4 million by 2018.
The Dallas County Community College District has limited the workload of its adjunct professors to 7.5 credit hours per semester, equal to two full classes and one shared with another professor.
A spokeswoman said the change…will also bring the district’s 2,500 adjuncts under the 30-hour maximum.
The city of Plano, meanwhile, will cut the hours of most of its 60 to 70 employees who work 30 hours but aren’t offered insurance. Offering coverage to all of them would have cost about $1 million.
More at The Dallas Morning News.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said. Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
This is from Sarah Kliff.
Researchers at George Washington University looked at Medicaid “churn” — when beneficiaries move on and off the rolls because of small variations in income — and found that it leads to more hospitalizations and higher costs for patients. According to the study, a Medicaid beneficiary enrolled consistently for 12 months pays $333 in medical bills per month, on average. Patients enrolled for six months paid $469, and those enrolled for one month paid $625.
See more at The Hill.
The much-derided 21-page application was for families. It is now down to 11 pages, thanks to a trick. Eight pages in the longer application called for filling in information for four additional family members. The new form cuts these pages but says that if you have children, “make a copy of Step 2: Person 2 (pages 4 and 5) and complete.” The work required of the applicant remains the same.
A worrisome abdominal pain drove Jalal Afshar to seek treatment last year at healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente…Kaiser granted his request to see a specialist in Arkansas. But it ultimately declined to pay for his treatment there. By June, Afshar said, Kaiser was arranging for hospice care so that he could die at home. Afshar, 58, refused to accept that. Despite Kaiser’s stance, he went back to Arkansas for six months of stem-cell transplants, chemotherapy and other treatments that he says saved his life. Now he owes $2 million for his care and is suing the company in state court for breach of contract and unfair business practices.
Source: LA Times.