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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

US health policy

4/17-18 Conference on Women & Health Reform

Simmons College will host a national conference on women and health care reform, April 17 and 18. The conference is organized by Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, a collaboration of the National Women’s Health Network, the Avery Institute for Social Change and MergerWatch. The goal is to inform and mobilize women to work for quality, affordable health care for all in their home states and in Washington DC. Speakers include former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders; Byllye Avery, founder of the Black Women’s Health Imperative and the Avery Institute for Social Change; Community... Read more »

Blogger-in-Chief News

This just out from the Office of Sen. Edward Kennedy: KENNEDY ANNOUNCES NEW NATIONAL HEALTH REFORM ADVISOR WASHINGTON, DC— Senator Edward M. Kennedy announced today that John E. McDonough will join his staff in Washington as a senior advisor for national health reform. Senator Kennedy chairs the health committee of the United States Senate which will be the focus of the reform effort expected next year. Senator Kennedy said, “John is one of the most experienced and respected health care experts in the country and I’m delighted that he’s joining us. Quality, affordable health care for all... Read more »

Signs of Progress -- 59% of Docs Support National Health Insurance

From Reuters: More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea, according to a survey published on Monday. The survey suggests that opinions have changed substantially since the last survey in 2002 and as the country debates serious changes to the health care system. Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The 2002 survey found... Read more »

Fed/State Use of Contract Workers Adds to Uninsured

Today's Wall Street Journal discusses the federal government's own contribution to the problem of the uninsured through it's use of contract employees who do not receive health benefits even when they function as pseudo-full time workers: Covering the uninsured is a central issue in this year's political campaign. Yet while politicians debate how best to cover the growing ranks of the uninsured, the federal government -- by outsourcing service jobs -- quietly is adding to those numbers. "As federal employees, we get great insurance," says Dr. Rogers ... "People who work as contractors often... Read more »

Health Experts Decry "Harry & Louise" Tactics

Nineteen health policy experts (one MA signer -- MIT's Jon Gruber) issue an open letter to presidential candidates complaining about the tone of the dialogue on health care, key excerpt: Unfortunately, the Obama campaign is circulating in Ohio and elsewhere its “Harry and Louise” mailers that unfairly and unconstructively attack Senator Clinton’s universal health care reform plan. These mailers purposely revive “Harry and Louise,” the actors hired by the insurance industry to help destroy health reform in the first Clinton Administration. They make the inaccurate claim that the plan would... Read more »

Gov. Patrick Testifies in DC on SCHIP

Click here for Gov. Deval Patrick's testimony today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington DC on the State Children's Health Insurance Program. This morning, Governor Patrick was in DC to testify in support of overturning the Bush Administration’s August 17 2007 guidance on SCHIP. Last August, HHS issued new regulations on SCHIP implementation that will have hindered states' ability to provide health coverage to children who would otherwise be uninsured. Governor Patrick joined the chief executives from Washington, Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia in calling on Congress... Read more »

National Health Reform Plans Start Rising

Folks are beginning to believe national health reform will be a real possibility beginning in 2009 with a new president and Congress. And reform proposals are starting to advance. Here's a Lewin Group analysis of the "Health Care for America" plan to create a new national health insurance pool modeled after Medicare that calls for employers, individuals and the federal government to share responsibility, a national "pay-or-play" model developed by the Economic Policy Institute. From today's Kaiser Report: Read more »

Poligraph Your Healthcare Position Vs. the Candidates

Check out this interesting "Health Care '08 Poligraph" by clicking here. See where all the presidential candidates stand on six health care issues, and chart your own views graphically in relation to theirs. A little simplistic, but pretty neat. Read more »

Consumers Union Starts Campaign on Drug Side Effects

Consumers Union, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, has just launched a campaign to make it easier for consumers to report serious side effects of medications to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). CU has filed a petition to the FDA, requesting the agency to require a toll-free number and web site in all TV drug ads for consumers to report side effects. CU is hoping to gather 50,000 signatures in support. Drug companies often fail to present the benefits and risks of the products they advertise, and it often isn’t until a drug is out on the market and taken by millions that we... Read more »

A Pessimist's View of Prospects for National Health Reform

If you missed it, don't miss Larry Brown's (Columbia University School of Public Health) pessimistic take on our nation's prospects for meaningful health reform in the 1/24/08 New England Journal of Medicine: The Amazing Noncollapsing U.S. Health Care System — Is Reform Finally at Hand? Money quote: Read more »

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