Health Policy News and Views
Compiled by Benita M. Dodd
What if Georgia could reach bipartisan agreement on a plan to present to Washington that could help achieve coverage for Georgia’s uninsured? Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, wrote a commentary this week for Georgia Health News: “A Smarter Way to Make Health Care More Available in Georgia.” You can read it here:
You start with the high hurdle of political acceptance by conservatives in Georgia and liberals in Washington. But it’s worth the effort. What if Georgia became the leader in creating innovative ways to provide better health for more people at lower cost?
A pox on laggards: For at least four years, the Foundation has been highlighting the risks of lagging vaccination rates. Today, the measles outbreak that is spreading from California across the country has sparked political, policy, individual rights and health care debate over vaccinations all at once. Unfortunately, writes Marcel Salathé, assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University, “The sad truth is this: As long as there are communities that harbor strong negative views about vaccination, there will be outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in those communities. These outbreaks will happen even if the population as a whole has achieved the vaccination coverage considered sufficient for herd immunity.”
Great news! The National Center for Policy Analysis has highlighted the Foundation’s study citing Georgia’s leadership in telehealth!
If you like your carrier … Covered California, that state’s state-based health care exchange, has adopted new rules restricting insurance carriers not on the exchange. Insurers operating in California before the exchange rollout can serve in only five of California’s 19 regions where there are fewer than three health plan choices. Insurers never licensed in California can apply for a license and serve in all 19 regions. Carriers that would like to sell polices on Covered California in 2016 must inform the exchange by February 16.
Also on the Left Coast, California State Sen. Ricardo Lara, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, has introduced legislation that would allow immigrants, regardless of their legal status, to be eligible for health insurance. The legislation could impact an estimated 2 million or more undocumented immigrants who reside in California. The bill did not designate a source of funding.
Yawning? Perhaps you’re not getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has revised its recommendations for sleep length. And your teenager will love it! The Foundation found that children from 4 months to 17 years old need more sleep than was previously thought. Further, that lack of sleep has been found to increase a person’s risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, shortening life expectancy. Couch potatoes: Naps in front of the television don’t count. Or they shouldn’t anyway! Source: (U.K.) Daily Mail
Is there still a need for ongoing medical certification tests? David Mann, a retired cardiac electrophysiologist, doesn’t think so. “Being asked to regurgitate memorized facts on a test is not a test of anything other than the ability to memorize facts. It is not a reflection of how doctors do their jobs today and is not an indicator of competence in the field of medicine.” And he cites some great examples and reasons. “Just as with the invention of writing poets no longer needed to memorize the poems of Homer, and with the invention of the printing press monks no longer needed to copy books by hands, with modern technology I don’t have to memorize detailed results of medical studies for later regurgitation at grand rounds. Today I carry around in my pocket a computer with always-on Internet access — a computer much more powerful than the computers that were used to send men to the moon. I have apps that can check drug doses and watch out for drug interactions. I can look up anything in a few seconds. With this capability it is not only unnecessary, but would be reckless for me to rely purely on my memory, especially when dealing with the potentially catastrophic results of making a mistake.” Source: KevinMd.com
Quotes of note
“A good waiter keeps the glasses full and the customers content. It is important for us providers to remember who is the customer and who is the servant.” – Dr. P.J. Parmar
I thank you for what you do. For 15 years you’ve been researching and writing on issues that matter. You take on tough questions, you apply innovative thinking, you push for action, and you do it all without regard to politics.