Daily Rounds: Today's Cost 'Summit'; Globe: Romneycare Works; Skype Medicine; Primary Care Mystery Shoppers

Nice Herald package:

State launches summit on high health care costs - "With the eyes of the nation upon them, the state’s top lawmakers today will join hospital presidents, insurance company bosses, and top-level health policy analysts for a four-day summit. The only item on the agenda is runaway health care costs, a growing burden on voters and a hot-button topic for pols. 'There’s still a lot of work to be done,' Attorney General Martha Coakley said yesterday. 'We all need to have conversations about where we want to get to on this.' (Boston Herald)

Cure without a cap -"Coakley deserves credit for sorting through these complicated issues (which she details on the opposite page and which will be explored further during public hearings starting today). And the major health care providers in this state should indeed be stepping forward to do their part. But we remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea of the cost of a gall bladder surgery set by statute, even 'temporarily.'" (Boston Herald)

Obamacare cost$ will make us sick - "A new Beacon Hill Institute study out today, “The High Price of Massachusetts Health Care Reform: Uncle Sam’s Bounty,” quantifies more comprehensibly than any other report the fiscal and financial damage of Romneycare for Bay State policyholders and taxpayers. And it warns that Obama-care will have the same results, on a much larger scale. The study finds that on a per-capita basis, Massachusetts health care spending is 15 percent higher than the rest of the nation." (Boston Herald)

‘RomneyCare’ — a revolution that basically worked - "The greater question now isn’t whether the Massachusetts overhaul is fairly named as his — it is — but whether the innovative changes he pushed through have worked as intended. It is a much easier question to ask than to answer. A detailed Globe examination of voluminous health care and financial data, and interviews with key figures in every sector of the health care system, makes it clear that while there have been some stumbles — and some elements of the effort merit a grade of “incomplete’’ — the overhaul has, after five years, worked as well as or better than expected." (

The Parkinson's Doctor Will Video Chat With You Now : NPR "People with chronic medical problems like Parkinson's disease can have a hard time finding a specialist who can help them manage the disease. Some patients are turning to doctors hundreds of miles away to get the care they need. But they're not driving to get to the doctor. They're doing the medical version of telecommuting, despite the fact that many insurers won't pay for it." (

U.S. Using ‘Mystery Shoppers’ to Check on Access to Doctors - "Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates." (

This program aired on June 27, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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