Bloggers look at a Hill staffer’s move to a lobbying firm, Utah’s reform effort and whether nurse practitioners should be allowed to do more.
The Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney reports on Arshi Siddiqui, a key Nancy Pelosi staffer whose portfolio includes comprehensive health insurance reform legislation, the economic recovery package, and financial recovery and stimulus bills, is leaving Capitol Hill to work for a lobbying firm. Carney describes her portfolio as “a compendium of corporate welfare: the bailout, the stimulus, and a health-care bill that mandates private health insurance and subsidizes drug companies until they blush.” And he uses the example to make a point: “This is why Obama cannot simultaneously increase government control over the economy and reduce the influence of K Street and special interests. Big Government is the mother’s milk of the special interests.
The Heritage Foundation released a paper on health reform efforts in Utah, which is allowing employers to offer health benefits on a “defined contribution” basis. Kathryn Nix writes, “Other states, and the nation as a whole, should take as a model not only Utah’s consumer-centered policy design for health reform, but also the success of Utah’s bottom-up, consensus-building approach to the reform process itself—which resulted in overwhelming, bi-partisan approval of the legislation by the state’s legislature.”
Insure Blog’s Henry Stern examines why Aetna is discontinuing the sale of a popular health insurance account product. Turns out because many employers were covering the entire deductible, utlitzation increased (high deductible plans are theoretically supposed to do the opposite…) Stern also says, “Aetna’s actuaries seem to believe that a $2500 deductible is too low. While that might seem counter-intuitive, I’m not convinced that it is. Think about it: a typical co-pay plan with a $1000 annual deductible would actually incur $3000 in total out-of-pocket costs. By contrast, the maximum exposure on that HSA plan is about 17% less, with a lower premium, to boot! So one can see the attraction if the product is being ‘gamed.’ It’s a shame, really, because the point of these plans is to encourage consumer participation in the process, not to over-utilize.”
On The Health Care Blog, Paul Levy, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, points to a new article in the Annals of Internal Medicine that questions the methodology used for U.S. News & World Report’s hospital rankings. Levy writes, “Given the importance attributed to the U.S. News ranking, this article is bound to raise concerns. I know that the folks at the magazine have worked hard over the years to make their rankings as objective as possible, and it will be interesting to see their response to Dr. Sehgal’s critique.”
Meanwhile, The Atlantic’s Joshua Green wonders if “the public option might not be dead,” following statements made by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman Tuesday.
And Health Beat’s Maggie Mahar looks at debates over whether nurses should be given more scope of practice responsbilities.