Even though its been nearly three weeks since Congress approved the health overhaul legislation, its effects continue to be chewed over by bloggers.
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky,picking up on a Wall Street Journal report, says: “Lawmakers in at least four states — including Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri and Mississippi — have all introduced bills ‘that would generally block abortion coverage in exchange plans.” He adds, “Two other states — Arizona and Kansas — are seeking to impose wider restrictions. Arizona has a bill that would blog local governments from providing abortion coverage for their employees and Kansas would ‘prohibit insurance plans from generally covering abortion.’”
Heritage’s Kathryn Nix checks out a Web site set up by HHS to describe the new health law and declares: “The lack of precise and adequate information only reinforces the underlying problems with this massive overhaul and should give Americans more reasons to want [the new law] repealed.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein looks at a study of physicians with financial stakes in surgery centers and says, “I’m not saying doctors cackle maniacally when scheduling people for unnecessary surgeries. But the evidence suggests that when doctors have a financial stake in seeing more surgeries conducted, they start seeing the need for their patients to undergo more surgical treatments. And that drives costs up for everyone.”
Critical Condition’s John R. Graham describes a lunch in San Francisco with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and bemoans one aspect of the new health law in which health plans “must enroll beneficiaries’ ‘children’ up to age 26.” He complains that the provision doesn’t require these young adults to maintain coverage: “Perhaps a little concerned that even her San Francisco audience might understand this bad incentive, Mrs. Pelosi said that “children” could only take advantage of this “benefit” if their parents agreed. Perhaps this is to compensate for the obvious incoherence of a law that compels a parent to provide coverage to a “child” many years after a parent is free to expel his offspring from the family home and otherwise cease paying his living expenses.”
The New Health Dialogue’s Joanne Kenen explains her recent article on a “disclose and apology” for medical malpractice reform. Kenen says, “The hospitals that are succeeding with this model have had to change their culture in myriad ways. They need to make sure that everyone from the executive suite to the greenest intern or lowest-paid aide know it is safe — not just safe but welcome and essential — to report errors, near errors, and potential errors.”
AHCJ’s Andrew Van Dam looks at conflict-of-interest accusations levied at economist Uwe Reinhardt and his response.
The Incidental Economist’s Austin Frakt thinks the new release of Medicare claims data may not be so great after all because “Of course they will be thoroughly stripped of all identifiers including, I am sure, geographic identifiers below the state or region level. That’s necessary for public release but renders the data not terribly useful for most research. (Researchers can obtain identifiable Medicare claims data with approval and after institutional review board scrutiny.)”