By Mike Lillis - 08/09/10 12:00 PM EDT
• Democrats still aren't showing much alacrity to run this campaign season on their health reform victory. "In an effort coordinated with the White House," the L.A. Times reports, "congressional leaders are urging Democrats to focus less on bragging about what they have done — a landmark healthcare law, a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulation and other far-reaching policy changes — and more on efforts to fix the economy and on the perils of Republican control of Congress."
• What do unicorns and accountable care organizations have in common? Quite a bit, one health analyst argues.
• Some House Dems like the idea of prosecuting those reselling contaminated FEMA trailers — a remnant of the Hurricane Katrina response — to BP oil-spill workers.
• In the nation's only uranium conversion plant, a labor battle is raging over the company's plan to slash healthcare benefits.
• End-of-life care is back in the headlines. "Last year, Medicare paid $55 billion just for doctor and hospital bills during the last two months of patients' lives," CBS notes.
"That's more than the budget for the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of Education. And it has been estimated that 20 to 30 percent of these medical expenses may have had no meaningful impact. Most of the bills are paid for by the federal government with few or no questions asked."
• Malnourishment is rampant in India, as thousands slip through the country's safety net.
In a thinly veiled shot at Kentucky GOP leaders critical of healthcare reform, Judy Myers, a Louisville-based nurse with the Friedell Committee for Health System Transformation, warns that a conservative approach to implementation threatens to "squander" the state's opportunity to improve healthcare delivery.
"We are a small, rural, relatively poor, conservative state where change is often resisted, rather than embraced, thus it is likely that implementing the new law in our state will be challenging and difficult," Myers writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader. "If we use the new money and resources to try to solve persistent problems with the same old ways of doing things, we are not likely to see improvement in the quality or cost of health care."
• The nurse anesthetist lobby on Monday will urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to repeal its physician supervision requirement. The groups will trumpet a new Health Affairs report indicating no negative health effects when anesthetists work without physician supervision.
Repeal, the authors of the report argue, “would free surgeons from the legal responsibility for anesthesia services provided by other professionals [and] would also lead to more-cost effective care as the solo practice of [anesthetists] increases.”
• The Center for American Progress hosts a forum touting the economic benefits of community health centers.
• And Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) plans a busy week of healthcare discussions in North Texas.