Daily Rounds: Medicare Money; Malpractice Haggling; McKinsey Controversy; 'Dirty' Apples

Retiring boomers, rising health costs are a frightening combination - As tens of millions of baby boomers begin to retire, the strains of funding Medicare, the government’s health insurance program for the elderly, will only grow over the next decade. Combined with skyrocketing costs of health care in general, economists say Medicare spending, left unchecked, will become unsustainable. “We have to get control of health care and Medicare costs or go the way of the Roman Empire,’’ warned Jonathan Gruber an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (

Medicare Saves Money - Krugman: Medicare actually saves money — a lot of money — compared with relying on private insurance companies. And this in turn means that pushing people out of Medicare, in addition to depriving many Americans of needed care, would almost surely end up increasing total health care costs. (

In New York, Malpractice Negotiations Offer Way to Curb Health Care Expenses - In Justice Douglas E. McKeon’s fluorescent-lighted chambers in the Bronx, a new way of handling medical malpractice suits was on full, and sometimes gruesome, display. Around a polished wood table, lawyers haggled over the price for a lost nose ($300,000) and the missing tip of a finger ($50,000). (

Daily Kos: McKinsey health insurance study controversy heats up with internal dissent So many flags were raised by this report because it is such an outlier among think tank studies done on the issue to date. Its findings also contradict real-world experience. Employers in Massachusetts, where health insurance using essentially the same structure as the ACA has been in place for five years, have not stopped offering benefits. (Daily Kos)

Apples top list of produce contaminated with pesticides - Apples are at the top of the list of produce most contaminated with pesticides in a report published today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public health advocacy group. Apples moved up three spots from last year, replacing celery at the top of the most-contaminated list; 92% of apples contained two or more pesticides. The worst offenders also include strawberries (No. 3) and imported grapes (No. 7). Onions top the "clean" list, found to be lowest in pesticides. (

Advocates: ‘glitches’ keep Mass. kids uninsured - Advocates say forgotten paperwork, returned mail and a lack of information are keeping some children in Massachusetts from receiving continuous health insurance. Although the state has the highest rate of insured children in the county, health care advocates say thousands of children rotate on and off MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. (

Natick mom’s fitness program for students drawing wide interest - The Boston Globe An exercise program started by a Natick mother has spread to Boston and other area suburbs, and may soon take root in New York City, Washington, D.C., and in temporary schools set up for students in tsunami-ravaged areas of Japan. Formerly known as Fit Kidz, the program, which focuses on before-school exercise to get the body and the mind going, is now called BOKS, which is both an acronym for Build Our Kids’ Success and a nod to its corporate partner, Canton-based Reebok International, which has invested millions in the nonprofit’s efforts. (


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