Sunday, March 28, 2010

Berwick to run Medicare/Medicaid

Unless Republicans in the Senate manage to somehow find a way to sink the nomination, it looks like Don Berwick will be the new Medicare/Medicaid chief. I think that is actually big news. It suggests that in the next phase of healthcare reform, Obama's emphasis will be quality improvement--and likely, linking payment to quality outcomes.

Medicare has already started moving in that direction. And healthcare reform quietly includes some important tools to help it move farther. But this may suggest that Obama is going all in on changing payment structures.

Why do I say that? Because Berwick is the person who has probably best popularized the quality improvement movement within healthcare. Though he runs an institute and has evidently done a good job of it, he is primarily an evangelist, not an administrator. So you wouldn't choose him for a big job unless you thought the job required evangelism.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes, we did.

Nancy Pelosi knows how to count votes, and we all win.

This is a big deal.

It's not a great bill. But it's a lot better than no bill.

More soon. But I've got to mark the moment.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Repub's vow: no snitchin'

Someone called Stupak a "baby killer" on the Senate floor. (But... isn't a baby killer a guy who votes against the Children's Health Insurance Program? I must be confused.)

Campbell, initially suspected as the lawmaker who shouted the phrase, told reporters that he didn't say it and believed that it came from a member sitting a row behind him, where the Texas Republicans usually sit. Campbell said he heard "a Southern accent".

"The people who know won't give it up," Campbell told reporters.

He said the remark was "clear as a bell."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Michelle cheering for Sasha

From the White House:
"President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden, react while watching Sasha Obama and Maisy Biden, the Vice President's granddaughter, play in a basketball game in Chevy Chase, Md., Feb. 27, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)"

If you thought talking smack about CAC scans got people mad...

The man who discovered PSA writes an op-ed piece arguing for scrapping it as a screening tool.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

On "Overshooting Obama's Health"

New writing of mine, posted elsewhere (and broadcast on All Things Considered on 3/4/10):
"It doesn't take a CT scan to know that President Obama should keep exercising, watch his diet, and quit smoking. So deciding not to do a test like a coronary artery calcium CT scan isn't just about avoiding the financial cost of the test. If the results of the test won’t change what we recommend, then the patient is taking risks for data that won’t make a difference."