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Tag Archive: health

New GOP wave could slow the pace of healthcare reform

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House Republicans will begin planning their agendas this week. Many of these candidates made their opposition to the President's health care law a central issue in their campaigns. But to what extent will Tuesday's elections actually affect the course of reform?

Likely Speaker of the House John Boehner has been an outspoken proponent of the "repeal and replace" approach, telling reporters yesterday that he wants to begin "lay(ing) the groundwork" to repeal the law. But overturning health care reform would require a two-thirds majority to beat an Obama veto, a mark the GOP falls far short of ...

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Can we rate heart surgeries like blenders?

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The Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, released a set of ratings yesterday for something rather more important than appliances: heart bypass surgery. Using data submitted to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the Consumers Union has graded various heart surgery groups using a three-star scale, similar to the way it rates radios, cameras and washing machines. It's a set of valuable public data that could serve as a model for expanding the Department of Health and Human Services' open government sites like Data.medicare.gov and the Community Health Data Initiative.

The heart surgery ratings are based on ...

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Lobbying dollars continue to flow toward health care reform

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The President signed the health care reform bill in March, but over $125 million in lobbying dollars continues to flow to the issue, lobbying disclosure forms show. Total dollars spent lobbying on health care issues remained high in the three months after the reform bill was passed, dipping by only $16 million since the first quarter of the year.

State insurance commissioners are currently working out the details that will shape one of the first regulatory battles of health care reform: what percent of premiums health insurers must spend on patient care. And the health care industry is taking note ...

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Lack of disclosure protects bad nursing home firms

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The pattern of understaffing at Skilled Healthcare Group's 22 California nursing homes could have raised red flags for patients and their families, but ownership information is currently difficult to obtain. The company has been ordered to pay $670 million for violating California state staffing minimums. A portion of the fee, the result of a class action lawsuit, is intended to refund patients for the quality of care they received.

Nursing Home Compare, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) site that allows the public to evaluate nursing home performance, does not yet identify the names of nursing home owners ...

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OGD: Future Medicare data looks promising

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services appear to be on to something with their promised new datasets. It's a leap for an agency whose previous offerings were a confusing mishmash of poorly-labeled files. If they continue to add granularity as they roll out more features, journalists could have a useful and innovative set of tools on their hands.

The “Dashboard” CMS intends to create, a demo of which is currently online, looks at Medicare spending on services. It's a good tool for quickly grasping the big picture; you can view data as a bubble chart, for example ...

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