If it aint broke, don’t fix it. This is the homespun wisdom Ken Coburn is imparting to the Secretary of Health and Human Services after learning Medicare is cutting funds for his program, Health Quality Partners, seemingly, because they can. The program, based out of Doylesville, Pennsylvania, provides weekly nurse visits to Medicare patients who have at least one chronic disease and one hospitalization within the past year. It’s a program that was approved by Medicare and extended, with great success, but now due to confusing bureaucratic lingo, the program is slated to be discontinued in June.
Patients with chronic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even AIDS require long term care management. There is often no cure for a chronic diagnosis, but with medication, lifestyle change and other interventions, people are living longer than they did at the turn of the century. While some programs utilize crowded nurse call centers in different states for care management, the Health Quality Partners model of getting nurses out in the field to visit patients was revolutionary and the results, undeniable.
According to Mathematica Policy Research, the independent evaluator hired by Medicare to judge programs, Health Quality Partners reduced hospitalizations by 33 percent and cut Medicare costs by 22 percent.
By Shae Blevins
Tonight, President Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union address for his second term in office. Millions tuned in to the address and commented on Twitter using the hashtag #SOTU. Still, many Americans spent Fat Tuesday with family and friends partying and reflecting on indulgences to give up for Lent while the President of the United States prepared for his most important speech of the year – so far.
While the president covered a range of topics, including the economy, the budget, gun violence, immigration, job creation and the housing market, he spent very little time discussing the large, anticipated elephant in the room.
No. Not the Easter-colored ties of Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner. We are talking about health care.
At the beginning of the State of the Union address, President Obama said that the largest, most expensive cause of the United States’ long-term debt problem was the rising cost of health care for America’s aging population. His recommendation is not to cut funding from health care-related programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, which provide health care services and discounts for the elderly and poor. The president, instead, framed national health care issues as cost problems instead of spending problems.
President Obama’s recommendations to cure the problem of health care in America are to reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and to ask the wealthiest senior citizens to shoulder more national health care-related responsibility instead of placing the entire burden on the middle and working class families. According to the president, the government and the American public, especially the wealthiest one percent, must do more to protect social responsibility programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, through the use of modest, bipartisan reform.
In fact, the president said he was prepared to enact reforms to achieve the same degree of health care savings within 10 years as proposed by the Simpson-Bowles commission.
The State of the Union discussed health care only briefly, but President Obama did defend the Affordable Care Act, which he said is helping slow the growth of health care costs across the nation.
— The White House (@whitehouse) February 13, 2013
Of course, according to some political pundits, President Obama only accomplished his Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – because he pushed it through during a Democratic-run Congress.
— David Guenthner (@DavidGuenthner) February 13, 2013
By changing the way the American government pays for health care through modest, bipartisan reform, President Obama believes that the nation can reduce long-term health care costs. Unfortunately, the State of the Union address did not report on how the president hopes to enact his future health care reforms beyond the current frame of “Obamacare.”
President Obama did say, “we must have quality, affordable health care for every American,” and that’s something we should all be able to agree on, no matter which side of the aisle you cheer for.
More Twitter reactions to the State of the Union:
President Obama: “Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report.” #SOTU
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 13, 2013
— PublicAgenda (@PublicAgenda) February 13, 2013
— Amy Lynn Smith (@alswrite) February 13, 2013
— Caleb Campbell (@calebcampbell12) February 13, 2013
— PCRM(@PCRM) February 13, 2013
— Altarum Institute (@Altarum) February 13, 2013
— Alzheimer’s Assoc. (@alzassociation) February 13, 2013
New Jersey governor Chris Christie pulled a donut out of his back pocket and started eating it during a CBS Late Show appearance, and told David Letterman, “I’m basically the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen in your life.” As he tossed back roughly 260 calories and 12 grams of fat, he made jokes about a doctor who recently called him out for his weight.
Connie Mariano, a retired Navy rear admiral and former White House doctor, expressed herself as a Christie fan and is all for him running for a higher office but thinks he’s in desperate need of losing weight. “I’m a physician more than I’m a Democrat or Republican. And I’m worried about this man dying in office,” she said during an interview with CNN. (more…)
With this week’s inauguration wrapped up, Michelle Obama is set to be the nation’s first lady for another four years. She made a huge impact on the nation’s fight against childhood obesity in her first term and will no doubt continue to focus on that platform through 2016.
The first lady has tirelessly worked to tackle childhood obesity, most notably through her Let’s Move campaign that launched in 2010. The effort brings teachers, leaders, doctors, parents, and students together in a nationwide effort to educate about and reverse the challenges of childhood obesity. It can be a touchy subject, but there are times when Mrs. Obama approaches the subject with fun and excitement. We’ve compiled our favorite fittest moment of Michelle Obama’s first term and look forward to seeing what’s up her very toned sleeves in the years ahead. (more…)
Monday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama will be filled with pomp, circumstance, and a jam-packed schedule of invite-only events where the president and Mrs. Obama are the guests of honor. And it all starts with the Inaugural Luncheon.
This year’s luncheon is a bit on the indulgent side, admittedly. We first checked out the menu with excitement, but as we read through the three courses our smiles quickly turned to frowns, not at the extravagance of the dishes but their sky-high calorie counts.
One full serving is more than 3,000 calories! Lobster in clam chowder sauce, grilled bison and a finish of rich apple pie with homemade ice cream take no time to zip past a single day’s calorie reserve. CalorieCount.com‘s Rachel Berman, RD, CSR, CDN – who compiled this year’s Inaugural Luncheon nutritional statistics – was a little shocked by the numbers, too, and felt that although it’s fine and even healthy to treat ourselves once in a while, the figures were a bit too to justify. (more…)