A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Medical Innovation"

GOP asks former ObamaCare official: What are you hiding?

Elise Viebeck, The Hill
Thu, 2014-11-20
"Sparks flew Wednesday at a hearing on the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov as Republican lawmakers grilled former White House Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Todd Park about his role in the site's creation. GOP members had sought for almost a year to bring Park before the House Science and Technology Committee, desiring to suss out his level of involvement in the debacle."

How killing the medical device tax became one of Washington’s top priorities

Jason Millman
Washington Post
Mon, 2014-11-10
"Within days of the Republican Party regaining control of the Senate, a host of policy issues has quickly risen to the top of Washington's priorities list: trade, corporate tax reform, the Keystone pipeline. And then there's the medical device tax. The tax, passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, plays a marginal role in the health-care overhaul, but the push to repeal it has attracted millions of dollars of lobbying, as well as high-profile supporters on the Hill, from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)."

With Republican Senate, many eye a device-tax repeal

Joe Carlson, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Fri, 2014-11-07
"Tuesday’s Republican victories in the U.S. Senate are inspiring strong optimism among medical device companies in Minnesota and nationwide for a repeal of the 2.3 percent tax on their products. But repealing the unpopular medical-device tax will not be easy, even with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Any stand-alone device-tax bill would face a likely veto threat by President Barack Obama, which means repeal is more likely to be a part of a broader bill reforming business taxes or the Affordable Care Act."

Don't Reform The Malpractice System To Reduce Healthcare Costs -- Eliminate It

Wayne Oliver and Jeffrey Segal
Forbes
Wed, 2014-11-05
"There is nothing more time consuming and expensive for a patient than undergoing extra tests or procedures during a trip to the emergency room, doctor’s office or urgent care center. Often a physician will know exactly what a patient’s diagnosis is but will order an x-ray, CT scan, blood work or MRI to reaffirm his clinical judgment. The common rationale is to back up his opinion in case there is a lawsuit."

As Obamacare Batters Device Makers, Lobby Snuggles With Hillary Clinton In Chicago

Bruce Japsen, Forbes
Thu, 2014-10-30
"Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic party’s nomination for President in 2016, is giving a speech at this week’s annual meeting of the powerful Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed, in her hometown as the lobby prepares to derail a tax key to funding the Affordable Care Act. The former U.S. Secretary of State, who has yet to officially declare her presidential candidacy, is also in Chicago to campaign for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in a tight race with billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner as the incumbent gains momentum here. During her visit, which has been kept under wraps until this week, Clinton has been given a prime spot during the three-day AdvaMed event, delivering a keynote at Wednesday’s midday plenary session at Chicago’s McCormick Place."

House subpoenas former HealthCare.gov official

Julian Hattem, The Hill
Thu, 2014-10-30
"The House Science Committee has issued a subpoena for former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park over his role in developing HealthCare.gov. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued the subpoena for the Obama administration’s former top tech advisor, demanding that he testify about his oversight of the ObamaCare website, including its security protocols. The subpoena comes after Park’s previous refusals to testify and his recent cancellation of a meeting with House lawmakers after it became clear that the briefing would be public, the committee said."

A recent poll shows that most doctors give Obamacare low grades – but should this influence voters’ evaluation of the program?

Ilya Somin
Washington Post
Tue, 2014-10-21
"A recent survey of doctors by the Physicians Foundation finds that most give low grades to Obamacare. Some 46% of the doctors polled gave Obamacare a grade of “D” or “F” and 29% gave it a “C.” Only 25 percent give it an “A” or a “B,” including just 4% who gave it the highest grade. It’s possible that some of the doctors who chose C really meant to say that it was at least reasonably good. But in modern America, thanks to grade inflation, a C is generally considered a very bad grade. Thus, it seems likely that a large majority of doctors have strongly negative view of the program."

Why doctors give Obamacare a failing grade

Jeffrey Singer
The Hill
Sun, 2014-10-19
"The Physicians Foundation made shockwaves last month when it released its 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians. The survey’s top-line finding: Of the 20,000 doctors surveyed, almost 50 percent stated that Obamacare deserves either a “D” or an “F.” Only a quarter of physicians graded it as either an “A” or a “B.” Count me among the discontented. Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients. It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients’ care. This is the heart and soul of medicine, as I have learned in in my 33 years as a practicing physician. The doctor-patient relationship is critical for positive health outcomes because it allows both parties to work together to identify and ultimately treat medical problems. Simply put, a relationship of trust and continuity is essential to our professional mission."

How the new HealthCare.gov stacks up with the old

The Associated Press
Tue, 2014-10-14
"HealthCare.gov, the website for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, has been revamped as its second enrollment season approaches. But things are still complicated, since other major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are taking effect for the first time. A look at some of the website and program changes ahead: Old: 76 online screens to muddle through in insurance application. New: 16 screens — for the basic application that most new customers will use. But about a third of those new customers are expected to have more complicated cases, and how they’ll fare remains to be seen. Old: Prone to crashing, even with relatively few users. New: Built to withstand last season’s peak loads and beyond, at least 125,000 simultaneous users.

ONC report confirms struggles on EHR interoperability

Darius Tahir, Modern Healthcare
Fri, 2014-10-10
"Healthcare information-sharing is largely stuck in neutral, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's annual report on electronic health-record adoption, released Thursday. While standards and services have been established to support information-sharing, “practice patterns have not changed to the point that healthcare providers share health information electronically across organization, vendor and geographic boundaries,” the report argued. Information-sharing is seen as a key component in the move from a fee-for-service approach in U.S. healthcare to a quality of care approach, so signs that the sharing isn't happening could spell trouble for progress toward that shift."

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