Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday's Health News

First and foremost, congratulations to the UConn women's basketball team -- the winningest team in history, men or women. I have to admit that I like seeing the UConn women on the front page of the LA Times. They deserve it.

Now, onto more serious fare.

Here's where you have to like health reform. Regulations issued yesterday would require health insurers to justify any premium rate increases of 10% or more. I haven't finished reading them, but I think we all welcome anything that tries to control premiums. Here's more about the new rules. The regulations doesn't allow the government to prevent all rate increases -- that's up to the states -- but it would make insurers whose rates are deemed to be unreasonable post their justifications on the federal health care website. In my opinion, that's not good enough. The government should have the ability to prevent excessive rate increases.

Stuart Taylor writes a really good piece explaining the litigation over health reform. If you're confused, this is a good place to start.

Medicare can do more to police its payments, says the Wall St. Journal. Medicare continues to pay even when doctors are under review or investigation. Part of the problem is that confidentiality prevents the government from releasing claims data to the public, letting them know that a doctor is under watch.

And here's a really interesting story -- do a physician's religious beliefs influence patient care? I never thought about this one.

Believe it or not, as we wind down to the holidays, that's all I have for this morning. It looks like there will be votes today on health care for 9/11 responders -- about time. Once that and the START treaty are passed, Congress will go on recess -- and so will I! In the meantime, have a great day. Jennifer

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