Health News Review
  • Nov 15 2010

    Former Senator continues to blast MN governor on health care

    In his email newsletter, former US Senator David Durenberger, who represented Minnesota in the Senate as a Republican, again criticizes the health policy statements of current (but outgoing) Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican. Far more than just an internal Minnesota squabble, the issues and the personalities at play here have impact nationally. Excerpt of [...]

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  • Nov 9 2010

    ProPublica: Dialysis means life-saving care at great risk and cost

    ProPublica has published another blockbuster piece of investigative health journalism: “Dialysis:The High Costs and Hidden Perils of a Treatment Guaranteed to All.” In an accompanying editor’s note, we learn a little bit about how much effort went into this project: “For two years, ProPublica reporter Robin Fields prodded CMS officials to release this data under [...]

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  • Nov 8 2010

    Celebrating 40 years of Wennberg & co. small area variations research

    I spent a delightful weekend in Hanover/Lebanon, New Hampshire at the invitation of Jack Wennberg, Dartmouth medical school pioneer in small area variations research – better explained to any audience, as Jack puts it, that “geography is destiny” in US health care. How you are treated may depend on where you live. It has become [...]

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  • Nov 4 2010

    When docs are paid less, inappropriate prescribing drops

    Take medical uncertainty. Add financial incentive to treat. Voila! Increased utilization. Now take away financial incentive to treat. Guess what you get? MedPageToday explains in the case of hormone therapy for prostate cancer: Medicare accomplished what clinical guidelines and evidence-based medicine couldn’t: it reduced unnecessary use of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in prostate cancer. Inappropriate [...]

  • Oct 26 2010

    Let’s hope there isn’t political pressure on prostate CA screening recommendations

    Something doesn’t smell right about the announcement that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force cancelled its November meeting – a meeting at which a new vote was to be taken on prostate cancer screening recommendations. I’ve been assured by some who are very close to the process that there’s nothing fishy – that it was [...]

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  • Oct 21 2010

    “A world of free lunches” – including payment for IMRT & proton beam for prostate CA

    In a New York Times column this week, David Leonhardt reflects on how “any deficit strategy needs to focus on Medicare.” Excerpt: “The treatment of prostate cancer offers a good example of the trouble with the current system. I devoted a column to prostate cancer last year, and the Health Affairs article — by Steven [...]

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  • Oct 20 2010

    Health Care Reform Law Myths & Facts

    A Kaiser Health News story, in collaboration with the Washington Post, evaluates some of the most common criticisms of the health care reform law – as heated up in the midterm election discussions. So, for each of the following claims, the story asks, “Says Who?” and “How True Is It?” The Claim: The law amounts [...]

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  • Oct 8 2010

    The myth of death panels and not enough patient-centered care

    Joanne Kenen of the New America Foundation is one of the few journalists (so far) to write about “The National Survey of Medical Decisions…(and) a series of papers and editorials in the journal Medical Decision Making. It comes at a time when ‘patient-centered care’ is a new buzzword in U.S. medicine; ‘shared decision-making’ and development [...]

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  • Oct 8 2010

    Health care reform (not!) – Minnesota-style

    Here’s a story that has far more than Minnesota ramifications. But how do you reconcile that story – which explains that the governor, “who is considering a run for president, has made no secret of his opposition to federal health reform” and who “announced an executive order designed to keep “Obamacare” out of Minnesota” with [...]

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  • Sep 24 2010

    What’s not being reported about the screening benefit in the Affordable Care Act

    One part of the health care law that took effect this week is widely reported as “establishing a menu of preventive procedures, such as colonoscopies, mammograms and cholesterol screening, that must be covered without co-payments.” For example, one of my local papers, the Star Tribune, wrote, “Some people will no longer have to pay for [...]