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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Daily news & Analysis

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Obama Backs Public Option, Exchanges, Cap on Out-of-pocket Costs

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2009

For the past month, Washington pundits have speculated about the specifics of healthcare reform legislation—and who will support it. With Congress coming back from its summer recess today, the answers are expected to emerge quickly on the presidential and congressional fronts.

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Seven Possible Health Reform Leaders in the Senate

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2009

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who died last month, was nicknamed the "lion of the Senate" for the way he presided in his position—fighting for many issues, including healthcare and universal healthcare coverage during his 47 years in office. Will anyone be able to fill his position as he did—working both sides of the aisle to find agreements and hammer out healthcare legislation? It will be a tough assignment. So who is likely to take on the lead position as the advocate for healthcare issues in the Senate?

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MACs vs. RACs: Could Competition Mean More Bad News for Providers?

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2009

What's the difference between a MAC and a RAC and will there be a little friendly competition between them?

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Hospitals Cut Jobs in August, But Overall Healthcare Job Growth is Up

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2009

The nation's hospitals shed 700 jobs in August, posting the second such month-to-month decline since June, when overall hospital payrolls shrank by 200 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' seasonably adjusted preliminary data.

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Medicare Spent Four Times More for Power Wheelchairs Than Suppliers

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 8, 2009

Signaling another way to cut Medicare spending without affecting care, a federal audit alleges that the government paid nearly four times more for standard power wheelchairs than what equipment suppliers paid for them. In 2007, 173,300 Medicare beneficiaries received power wheelchairs at a total cost to themselves and the Medicare program totaling $686 million, part of Medicare Part B. However, consumers could have bought those power wheelchairs outside the Medicare program for much less, according to the report.

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Older Women Have More Difficulty Obtaining Health Insurance

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2009

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report on health insurance reforms related to older women (ages 55 to 64) and senior women (ages 65 and older). The report's message: The current health insurance market "does not work for older women."

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Leadership Takes a Pay Cut When Others Don't

By: Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2009

To me, leadership is most often an accumulation of small acts that inspire those who are led. I came across an example of such a small act earlier this week.

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