Daily Rounds: Health Reform Cutting Costs; Coming Federal Fight; Job Stress Hurts Women's Hearts; Cellphone Warnings; Plymouth Cuts Health Benefits

Mass.: How Health-Care Reform Helps Hospital Costs - Newsweek "A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research is the first to track hospital costs in Massachusetts, where a 2006 law became a model for national reform. It finds that 93 percent of people in the Bay State are now insured. But despite an influx of patients, total hospital costs haven’t grown more than usual. New efficiencies probably helped: thousands fewer patients now use the ER for routine care or show up because of a preventable condition. And the average length of a hospital stay is down an hour per person. But University of Pennsylvania economist John Kolstad, who coauthored the study, speculates that the real heroes could have been insurers, who bargained with hospitals. If the same clout is exercised nationally, optimists may be right about reform’s cost savings." (Newsweek)

Republicans are spoiling for a healthcare fight - "With their eyes on the 2012 election, Republicans are preparing to maximize conflict with Democrats over healthcare in the new Congress and minimize potential compromises, according to GOP strategists, lawmakers and lobbyists." (Los Angeles Times)

Study sees job stress as heart risk to women - The Boston Globe "Working women are equal to men in a way they’ll wish they weren’t. Female workers with stressful jobs were more likely than women with less job strain to have a heart attack or a stroke, or to have clogged arteries, a large federally funded study found. The study was led by Dr. Michelle Albert, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston." (Boston Globe)

Cellphones and Cancer - A Far-From-Settled Issue - "The cellphone instructions-cum-warnings were brought to my attention by Devra Davis, an epidemiologist who has worked for the University of Pittsburgh and has published a book about cellphone radiation, “Disconnect.” I had assumed that radiation specialists had long ago established that worries about low-energy radiation were unfounded. Her book, however, surveys the scientific investigations and concludes that the question is not yet settled."(The New York Times)

Plymouth cuts health plan discount for part-time officials - The Boston Globe "Plymouth Town Meeting representatives have eliminated a perk for part-time elected officials that allowed those on yearly stipends to enroll in the town’s health plan at the same cost afforded full-time municipal employees — a belt-tightening move some municipal watchdogs say is part of a growing trend." (Boston Globe)

This program aired on November 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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