Daily Health Policy Report

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last updated: Tue, Sep 18

KHN Original Reporting & Guest Opinion

Health Reform

Capitol Hill Watch

Campaign 2012

Coverage & Access

Health Information Technology

Health Care Marketplace

State Watch

Editorials and Opinions

KHN Original Reporting & Guest Opinion

Urgent Care Centers Are Booming, Which Worries Some Doctors

Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports: "Such centers treat the most common injuries and illnesses - including colds, ear infections, cuts and back pain - in addition to taking X-rays and performing simple blood, urine and drug tests. And they are booming: An estimated 3 million patients visit them each week, according to the Urgent Care Association of America" (Galewitz, 9/17). Read the story.

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Medicaid Helps D.C. Clinic Care For Ex-Prisoners

David Schultz, reporting for Kaiser Health News and  NPR, writes: "Dr. Ilse Levin specializes in internal medicine, but you could say she really focuses on incarceration medicine. Levin works at a community health center in southeast Washington, D.C., that pays a lot of attention to treating a population that is often left out of health care: newly released prisoners" (Schultz, 9/17). Read the story.

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Insuring Your Health: Often Overlooked In Nursing Home Admission Paperwork Is An Arbitration Agreement

Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "A mandatory arbitration agreement is an often overlooked document tucked inside the package of admissions documents at many nursing homes these days. It can have an outsize impact if something goes wrong. But anxious seniors or their caregivers often sign every document that's put in front of them, perhaps only glancing at the content" (Andrews, 9/17). Read the column.

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Political Cartoon: 'Golden Age?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Golden Age?" by Harley Schwadron.

Meanwhile, here's today's health policy haiku:


Economic growth?
Unsustainable health care?
Deficits and debt!
-Paul Hughes-Cromwick

And a bonus haiku:


What are you watching?
Campaign news on health issues...
Or the panda cam?

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please send it to us at http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/ContactUs.aspx and let us know if you want to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

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Health Reform

Some States Mull Partial Medicaid Expansion Under Health Law

Also in the news, a report about how a ruling barring health coverage for illegal immigrants, allowed to stay in the United States because they were brought here as young children, is angering Hispanic groups.

The Wall Street Journal: States Seek A Middle Ground On Medicaid
A handful of states are considering only partially expanding their Medicaid programs under the federal health-care overhaul—a new twist on how states are interpreting the Supreme Court's ruling on the law. Indiana, New Mexico and Wisconsin are among the states asking the federal government to let them omit from the Medicaid expansion residents whose incomes put them just above the poverty level. The states hope to take advantage of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that offer a federal subsidy to help these residents buy private insurance, starting in 2014 (Radnofsky and Weaver, 9/18).

The New York Times: Limits Placed On Immigrants In Health Care Law
The White House has ruled that young immigrants who will be allowed to stay in the United States as part of a new federal policy will not be eligible for health insurance coverage under President Obama's health care overhaul. The decision — disclosed last month, to little notice — has infuriated many advocates for Hispanic Americans and immigrants. They say the restrictions are at odds with Mr. Obama's recent praise of the young immigrants (Pear, 9/17).

Meanwhile, California officials are seeking prime-time help to promote the state's health exchange.   

The Hill: Calif. Exchange Wants TV Shows To Help Tout Obama Health Care Law
Officials in California want prime-time TV shows to help promote President Obama's healthcare law. Outreach to television producers is part of the marketing plan adopted by California's insurance exchange — a new marketplace, created by the Affordable Care Act, where individuals and small businesses will be able to buy private insurance. The exchange's public-relations plan says "individuals from California's robust entertainment industry will be approached at the most senior levels" to promote the new marketplace and get people enrolled. "A number of popular television programs and personalities such as Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, the Biggest Loser, Dr. Oz and others will be approached and pitched to incorporate story lines or mentions of health care reform that would reinforce campaign messages," the marketing plan states (Baker, 9/17).

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New Book Offers View Inside Supreme Court's Health Law Discussions

News outlets report on Jeffrey Toobin's new book, which offers internal insights about the Supreme Court's landmark health law decision.

Politico: Elana Kagan Had Planned To Sit Out Health Care Reform Talks, Toobin Book Says
Elena Kagan deliberately stayed away from legal strategy meetings on health care reform in early 2010 — a critical decision as solicitor general that allowed her to participate in the health care ruling when she joined the Supreme Court later that year, according to Jeffrey Toobin's new book on the court to be released Tuesday. The revelation in Toobin's book — "The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court" — sheds new light on why Kagan did not recuse herself from the case (Nather, 9/18).

The Hill: Scalia Was 'Furious' At Roberts Vote On Health Care Law, Says Toobin Book
Toobin's latest book portrays Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as increasingly cranky and partisan ... [Toobin] credits Scalia for a sea change in how both sides of the political spectrum think about the law. But he says the justice's bombast has become off-putting to more even-tempered colleagues. … The book confirms previous reports that Roberts changed his vote in the landmark case over President Obama's healthcare law after initially siding with the conservative justices. But Toobin reports — as others have implied — that what pushed Roberts away was the conservative justices' insistence on striking down the entire health law (Baker, 9/18).

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Capitol Hill Watch

Health Interest Groups Strategize To Stop Automatic Cuts

Industry lobbyists hope the "shock value" of last week's White House report detailing the reach of the cuts will add momentum to efforts to persuade Congress to repeal the legislation before reductions start in January.

Politico Pro: Lobbyists Look Post-Nov. 6 On Cuts
Health industry lobbyists are hoping that the new report on the impact of next year's sequester will provide the "shock value" they need to preserve programs marked for steep cuts. Armed with fresh data supplied by the Obama administration last week, advocates for hospitals, health research and public health programs say they're ready to take the fight to Congress to prevent the automatic spending cuts mandated by last year's Budget Control Act. That law required $1.2 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years, split evenly between defense and non-defense government spending. Last week's White House report revealed that in addition to $11 billion in Medicare cuts, the National Institutes of Health would take a $2.5 billion hit and key public health programs would see cuts of more than 7 percent (Cheney, 9/17).

The Hill: Nursing Homes Launch Anti-Sequester Ads
Nursing homes are launching a new TV ad this week urging Congress to repeal automatic cuts to healthcare spending. The ad, set to run in Washington, D.C., during Congress's last scheduled week in session, urges Congress to repeal cuts in the much-maligned sequester, and avoid Medicaid cuts as part of an offset or larger debt-reduction agreement. The American Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes and other skilled nursing facilities, is sponsoring the 30-second spot. It features Beverly McKinney, who recovered in a skilled nursing facility after being hit by a car, telling the camera about her recovery, and says skilled nursing care would not be available if Congress slashes public programs (Baker, 9/17).

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Campaign 2012

Health Policy Issues Are Hot Topic Online In Key States

CNN reports that news stories related to the health law and other health policies are being shared online more than those about other issues.

CNN: Health Care Most Shared Issue In Battleground States
Of all the major issues our country is facing, stories relating to health care legislation are being shared online in key battleground states more than any other issue, according to data from social sharing company ShareThis. According to information provided to CNN, 16.1% of total shares in 12 battleground states are stories about health care. Over 12% of shares are on stories relating to abortion, followed by education, the economy, role of government, gun control, environment, same-sex marriage, terrorism and foreign policy. Immigration is the least shared-issue with only 1.7% of all shares. Users from New Mexico share health care stories the most – at 45% – followed by New Hampshire at 20% (Weisbrod, 9/17).

Meanwhile, as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces one campaign challenge, a new ad is released detailing how his positions are positive for women.  

National Journal (Video): Romney Campaign Ad: Obama Is Bad For Women
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is trying to close the gender gap with a new television ad that claims President Obama’s policies are bad for women. The ad, entitled "Dear Daughter," shows a mother holding her infant daughter, as a voiceover proclaims, "Obama's policies are making it harder on women." The narrator says the poverty rate for women is the highest in 17 years, and more than 5.5 million women are unemployed. The ad, which was officially released on Tuesday, also points to a non-gender-specific issue, the national debt, calling it another way Obama has failed women. "Your share of Obama's debt is over $50,000, and it grows every day," the voiceover says. "That's what Obama's policies have done for women" (Seligman, 9/18).

The Associated Press: Romney: Nearly Half 'Believe They Are Victims'
Already scrambling to steady a struggling campaign, Republican Mitt Romney confronted a new headache Monday after a video surfaced showing him telling wealthy donors that almost half of all Americans "believe they are victims" entitled to extensive government support. He added that as a candidate for the White House, "my job is not to worry about those people." At a hastily called news conference late in the day, Romney offered no apologies for his remarks and when he was asked if he was concerned he had offended anyone, he conceded the comments weren't "elegantly stated" and they were spoken "off the cuff" (Hunt, 9/18).

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The Number Of Physicians In Congress Could Grow By 50 Percent

In other congressional-election news, The New York Times reports on a New Jersey race in which Medicare is a key issue.

Medpage Today: More Docs Hope To Call D.C. Home
Depending on how the votes add up this November, the number of physicians roaming the halls of Congress could grow by half -- from 20 to 30. A total of 28 physicians have their names on the ballot. That includes 17 incumbents and 11 challengers. Of the 20 physician members of Congress, 17 are in the House and three in the Senate. All of the physician House members, except for Rep. Ron Paul, MD, (R-Texas), who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House, are running for reelection. Two senators -- Rand Paul, MD, (R-Ken.) and Tom Coburn, MD, (R-Okla.) -- are not up for reelection (Pittman, 9/17).

The New York Times: Widow Takes On Congressman Who Ousted Her Husband
[Shelley] Adler and her Democratic allies have pounded away at [Republican Jon] Runyan for supporting a House Republican budget proposal that would overhaul Medicare, the health care program for older Americans. The Democratic attacks, which claim that the Republican budget would gut Medicare, have grown more persistent since the architect of that budget, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, was chosen as Mitt Romney's running mate. Mr. Runyan has argued that Ms. Adler and her Democratic allies are not only distorting the issue but are actually the ones who would endanger Medicare (Hernandez, 9/17).

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Coverage & Access

IOM Report: Military Needs To Do More To Treat, Prevent Drug And Alcohol Abuse

The Institute of Medicine found that the military's programs don't keep up with standard medical practices  used in civilian life and that health care providers aren't adequately trained at all levels.

NewsHour: Military Not Doing Enough To Curb Alcohol, Drug Abuse, IOM Concludes
In a report requested by the Department of Defense and released on Monday, IOM said treatment and prevention programs are "inconsistent" in their use of evidence-based medicine and that health care providers aren't adequately trained at all levels, which contributes to "lower quality care." Evidence-based medicine is a term used to describe the treatment of patients with therapies that have been proven to be effective. The report said that too often, outdated drugs are prescribed to patients instead of newer drugs "that are now standard practice" in civilian life. It criticized TRICARE, the military's health care program for soldiers and their dependents, for not covering some newer medications unless the patient is in "specialized rehabilitation facilities" (Bowser, 9/17).

USA Today: Study: Military Needs To Better Address Substance Abuse By Troops
The Pentagon must acknowledge a "public health crisis" in the growing abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs by troops and show stronger leadership in dealing with it, according to a report by a blue ribbon committee released Monday (Zoroya, 9/17).

Medpage Today: IOM: Military Needs Better Care For Addicts
The U.S. Defense Department needs more providers trained in treating substance abuse in the armed forces, according to an Institute of Medicine report. The prevalence of comorbid behavioral conditions "necessitates access to providers with advanced levels of training rather than certified counselors or peer support by individuals in recovery," the report, released Monday, read (Pittman, 9/17).

The Baltimore Sun: Military Not Doing Enough To Help Soldiers With Substance Abuse, Study Finds
Substance abuse among America's soldiers is increasing and the Department of Defense isn't doing enough to address the problem, according to a new report. The report released today by the Institute of Medicine found that the military health system TRICARE doesn't cover the best treatments for alcohol and drug abuse. The system also does not permit long-term use of certain medications to treat addiction and requires treatment in a specialized rehab center (Walker, 9/17).

Meanwhile, one New York member of Congress is raising concerns about an aspect of VA care.

CQ HealthBeat: Buerkle Expresses 'Grave' Concern Over VA Contracting For Outside Care
The House lawmaker whose subcommittee oversees Veterans Affairs health care is expressing deep skepticism that department officials have a handle on managing the care received by those who lack access to VA facilities. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., says she has "grave concerns" about the VA "fee basis care" system, which is designed to make sure civilian doctors step in and provide care when Veterans Affairs facilities are unable to meet the demand (Reichard, 9/17).

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Health Information Technology

Health IT Firms Scrambling For Workers

Technicians are needed to help hospitals develop and use electronic health records. Other reports look at the efforts to develop secure and efficient digital records.

CNN Money/Fortune: Your Next Job: Electronic Medical Records Professional
Why it's hot: Just two years ago, about one in five hospitals used electronic health records (EHR). Thanks to an incentive program from the government, the number is growing fast: More than 3,600 hospitals (about 72%) received payments to transition to EHR as of the end of July. Much of the work remains, and the health care sector is scrambling for technicians and consultants to aid the switch (Konrad, 9/18).

CQ HealthBeat: Agencies Say Demo Shows Electronic Health Records Can Be Securely Transmitted
The departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services said Monday they've demonstrated how to share sensitive electronic health records between the two agencies without revealing personal information. One of the biggest concerns of privacy advocates about electronic health records is that confidential health information will be accidentally disclosed. Officials said that the HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) used new standards to securely send to the VA a mock patient's substance abuse treatment records after electronically verifying that the mock patient had consented to the transmission (Adams, 9/17).

Modern Healthcare: HHS, VA Go Granular In Info Exchange Demo
HHS and the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have demonstrated the successful use of technology to persistently enforce federal patient consent requirements at the "granular" data element level, HHS announced. The demo came in response to a 2010 call by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to use what's called "meta-data tagging" to enhance privacy (Conn, 9/17). 

Modern Healthcare: Second Set of Draft EHR Test Materials Out
The second round of draft test materials for developers of health information technology to use in the testing and certification of electronic health-record systems and modules against the 2014 edition of standards and certification criteria has been released for public comment by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The latest release includes test procedures, tools and applicable test data and files, according to the ONC. It follows a first round of testing procedures that the ONC released Sept. 7 (Conn, 9/17).

Another story deals with the effort to train young people in medical and science career fields.

Minnesota Public Radio: Rochester School Prepares Students For Careers In Medicine And Technology
Zakaria Mahamed wants to go to college and become a pediatrician, training he hopes will someday land him at the Mayo Clinic. "When I see my family doctor, it makes me feel like I could be there one day," he said. "I could help these kids, I could find new cures for diseases, I can make a difference in my community." But first, Mahamed has to make it through high school. The 11th grader thinks his chances of doing so are much better at the STEM Academy in Rochester, a charter school that aims to prepare immigrant and minority students for fields such as microbiology, nursing and engineering (Baier, 9/18).

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Health Care Marketplace

GE Feels Pinch Of Drop In Advanced Medical Imaging

The Wall Street Journal: GE Feels Its Own Cuts
General Electric Co.'s $18 billion health-care business is being forced to navigate a slowdown in medical imaging—one that in some ways has been aggravated by GE itself. GE put its 85,000 U.S. white-collar workers on a high-deductible health plan in an effort to stem the growth of its U.S. health bills, which are now running $2.5 billion a year. In the first two years after the plan went into effect, use of advanced imaging including MRIs and CT scans has dropped by as much as a quarter, as covered employees' overall use of health services fell, according to the company (Linebaugh, 9/17).

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State Watch

D.C. Clinic Provides Care For Ex-Prisoners; Texas Lawmakers Seek Ways To Help Jails With Homeless, Ill Prisoners

Several news outlets look at issues related to prisoner health.

Kaiser Health News: Medicaid Helps D.C. Clinic Care For Ex-Prisoners
Dr. Ilse Levin specializes in internal medicine, but you could say she really focuses on incarceration medicine. Levin works at a community health center in southeast Washington, D.C., that pays a lot of attention to treating a population that is often left out of health care: newly released prisoners (Schultz, 9/17). 

Reuters: Alabama's Segregation For Inmates With HIV Faces Court Scrutiny
Alabama, one of two U.S. states that segregate inmates with HIV from the rest of their prison population, will seek to defend the policy against a class action lawsuit. ... The American Civil Liberties Union sued Alabama in 2011 for what the group contends is a discriminatory practice that prevents most HIV-positive inmates from participating in rehabilitation and retraining programs important for their success after prison (Gates, 9/17).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas Legislators To Weigh Problems To Help County Jails Deal With Homeless, Mentally Ill
Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to relieve overcrowding at county jails, which have become expensive holding areas for the addicted, homeless and mentally ill in a time of reduced budgets and cut programs. The House County Affairs Committee is conducting hearings in Houston on Tuesday to see how to detour those in need of treatment to cheaper and more effective alternatives (Martin, 9/17).

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State Roundup: Filipino Nurses In Calif. Win $1M In Language Discrimination Suit

A selection of health policy stories from California, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Kansas.

Los Angeles Times: Filipino Nurses Win Language Discrimination Settlement
A group of Filipino nurses who claimed they were mocked for their accents and ordered to speak "English only" won a nearly $1-million settlement against a Central California hospital where bosses and co-workers were allegedly urged to eavesdrop on the immigrant workers. The $975,000 settlement, announced Monday by lawyers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is believed to be the largest language discrimination settlement in the U.S. health care industry, according to the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (Do, 9/18).

The Texas Tribune: Medicaid Woes Subject Of House Committee Hearing
At a Monday hearing on the implementation of Medicaid managed care in South Texas, lawmakers got a much bigger earful on the consequences of difficult budget decisions they made in the last legislative session. In an effort to curb costs last session, lawmakers expanded Medicaid managed care, the health plan that oversees care for impoverished Texans, to South Texas, the border region and previously underserved areas (Aaronson, 9/17).

Los Angeles Times: New York's Soda Limits Could Boost Similar Efforts In California
California health advocates hope their state will see some movement on limiting sugar-laced soda following action last week to cap serving sizes for sugary drinks in New York City (McGreevy, 9/17).

California Watch: Judge Dismisses Prime Healthcare Antitrust Lawsuit
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by hospital chain Prime Healthcare Services that alleged Kaiser Permanente conspired with a health care workers union to drive Prime out of business. The lawsuit cited the Sherman Antitrust Act, which is meant to limit monopolies, and claimed Kaiser and the union "joined forces" to drive up Prime's costs, in part, by forcing the chain to pay high wages to workers (Jewett, 9/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Confusion In Wake Of Court Ruling Overturning Wisconsin Union Law
Wisconsin school and government employee unions on Monday were considering whether to seek new contract talks after a state court threw out a controversial law that restricts public workers' collective bargaining rights. … The law limits bargaining on wage increases to the rate of inflation. Other issues, such as workplace safety, vacation and health benefits, were excluded from collective bargaining (9/17).

Crain's Detroit Business: Detroit Hospitals Are Growing, Selling Their Own Produce
An increasing number of hospitals in Southeast Michigan are growing their own produce for patients and selling healthy food through farmer's markets on their campuses. Experts say that 80 percent of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, can be prevented, or conditions can be improved, through better diet and exercise (Greene, 9/17).

Marketplace: Employers Embrace Wellness Plans
Teachers in Chicago remain on strike today and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is turning to the courts to try and end the walkout that's keeping some 350,000 students out of class. The main issue angering teachers is a new evaluation system the mayor is trying to implement; another point of dispute is health care. Teachers want the city to freeze prices on their insurance premiums. The city says OK, but the teachers would have to sign on to what's called a wellness program (Troeh, 9/17).

Kansas Health Institute News: Tobacco Dispute Threatens Funding Of Children's Programs
A long-simmering dispute over whether state officials have done enough to regulate off-brand cigarette companies is threatening to pull tens of millions of dollars from the state's programs for children and at-risk families. "The potential is there, certainly, for this to decimate children's programs all across Kansas," said Shannon Cotsoradis, chief executive of the advocacy group Kansas Action for Children. The dispute stems from the 1998 master settlement agreement in which tobacco companies agreed to make billions of dollars in compensatory payments to states for as long as they remain in business (Ranney, 9/17).

California Healthline: Motion Could Delay Implementation [Of Adult Day Services]
A court motion filed Saturday challenging the state's implementation of a new program for adult day services raises a number of concerns about how the new legal hurdle may affect timing and appeals in the new Community Based Adult Services program. One of the main issues revolves around the fate of approximately 2,400 former Medi-Cal beneficiaries of Adult Day Health Care services. Those frail, elderly and disabled people had been denied eligibility to the replacement CBAS program. Many of them had been denied eligibility after earlier being approved for it (Gorn, 9/18).

California Healthline: Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment Changing
Mental health care and substance abuse treatment in California's subsidized coverage programs are undergoing change on two fronts. Either one of the changes by itself could produce optimism and anxiety among stakeholders. But coming in tandem, the changes are doubling expectations and worries. … One of the most significant changes, according to substance abuse treatment providers and mental health advocates, is their interpretation that the Affordable Care Act requires adherence to the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, the law calls for "equity in the provision of mental health and substance-related disorder benefits under group health plans" (Lauer, 9/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Viewpoints: Romney's Myopic View Of Entitlements; Medicaid Reform In N.Y.; 'Dumping' Children In Fla. Nursing Homes

The New York Times: Thurston Howell Romney
You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. ... But these are not the sensible arguments that Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser earlier this year. Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. ... The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees (David Brooks, 9/17). 

The New York Times: New York's Medicaid Reforms
New York State has substantially changed its Medicaid program in the past year and a half in ways likely to improve the health of its poorest residents and rein in the program's enormous costs. ... New York could serve as a model to other states if it can show which reforms work, which don’t, and what their combined effects are on statewide spending (9/17). 

Los Angeles Times: One Battle In The War Against Health-Insurer Insensitivity
Kevin Roberts, 36, has been battling insurance-industry insensitivity since last year on behalf of his 6-year-old daughter, Aubrey, who has autism. What should have been a relatively simple matter has ballooned into complaints to the California Department of Managed Health Care, failed attempts at arbitration and a seeming reluctance on the part of Roberts' insurer, Aetna, to simply sit down and hash things out (David Lazarus, 9/18).

The Wall Street Journal: A Major Glitch For Digitized Health-Care Records 
We fully share the hope that health IT will achieve the promised cost and quality benefits. As applied researchers and evaluators, we actively work to realize both goals. But this will require an accurate appraisal of the technology's successes and failures, not a mixture of cheerleading and financial pressure by government agencies based on unsubstantiated promises (Stephen Soumerai and Ross Koppel, 9/17). 

Miami Herald: Don't Rear Children In Nursing Homes
The state can be a savior for children whose families face challenges in raising them. But it can be a lousy parent, too. The U.S. Department of Justice has slammed the state of Florida for dumping sick and disabled children in nursing homes designed for the elderly. This is a gross violation of the children's civil rights under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. What the Justice Department found is shocking: Hundreds of children, some from the time of infancy, are growing up in nursing homes, isolated from others and receiving little education or socialization (9/17).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Active Lifestyle Key To Good Health, Weight Control
Every day we get inundated with information about what to eat, but unfortunately, that information is often confusing and conflicting. Eat a diet high in carbohydrate and low in fat. No wait.  Eat a diet low in carbohydrate and high in fat. I don't blame the public for being confused. What is the best diet? You may be surprised to know that the best diet for you depends on whether you are an athlete or a couch potato (James O. Hill, 9/17).

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Stephanie Stapleton

Andrew Villegas

Lisa Gillespie
Shefali Luthra

The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2014 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.