A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Medical Innovation"

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."

Bayh: Chances of Device Tax Repeal ‘Very Good’ If GOP Wins Senate

Alaina Busch McBournie, Inside Health Policy
Wed, 2014-10-08
"CHICAGO -- There is a “better than 50/50” chance the ACA's device tax will be repealed if Republicans win the Senate in November, Evan Bayh, former Democratic Indiana senator and governor, said Tuesday (Oct. 7) at the Advanced Medical Technology Association’s medtech conference. A Republican-controlled Congress likely would first vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and after that measure is vetoed would settle on other changes to the law, such as a repeal of the industry-opposed excise tax, said Bayh, now a partner at McGuireWoods."

CMS, ONC Give Providers More Time To Apply For EHR Hardship Exemption

Michelle Stein, Inside Health Policy
Tue, 2014-10-07
"CMS on Tuesday (Oct. 7) reopened the period to request hardship exemptions from so-called meaningful use requirements for electronic health records, giving some doctors and hospitals another opportunity to avoid penalties in 2015. The move follows stakeholders' calls earlier this year for more time to submit hardship requests and lawmakers' requests that some providers attesting to meaningful use for the first time in 2014 be allowed to avoid penalties in 2015. CMS told Inside Health Policy that there are still some issues surrounding availability and implementation of the 2014 certified EHRs, and the agency wanted to make sure that providers aren't penalized because of those problems."

How Patients Will Use Physician Payment Data

Marissa Evans
Morning Consult
Mon, 2014-10-06
"Last week, Americans for the first time could look up their doctor to see what payments, if any, they received from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. And Morning Consult polling shows patients will make decisions based off that information: The majority of registered voters say they would be less likely to choose a certain physician if they took money from a drug or medical device company. It’s this mindset that has physicians, pharmaceutical and medical device companies worried. The database, which was established in the Affordable Care Act, went public Tuesday afternoon. It allows users to see how much money doctors were paid by drug and medical device companies between August and December 2013. There were 4.4 million payments made totaling $3.5 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Payments were made to 546,000 physicians and nearly 1,360 teaching hospitals.

Digital health firms are raising a ton of money in the Obamacare era

Jason Millman
Washington Post
Fri, 2014-10-03
"Last month's launch of the Apple Watch is indicative of the big potential that companies are seeing in digital health. And the market is buying into digital health in a big way, judging by the record amount of money these firms have been raising this year. Through the first nine months of 2014, digital health companies have raised $5 billion, almost double what they did in all of 2013, according to publicly reported data compiled by StartUp Health. The actual number of deals are on a slower pace this year, which StartUp Health says is an indication that the relatively young market is maturing."

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