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Today's OpEds: Republicans And Medicare, Small Business Health Costs And Changes To FEHBP

On Health Care, Where You End Up Matters Most Politico Republican leaders are now saying they will not participate in the meeting unless the president takes his health reform plan off the table to start over. I understand their concerns with a variety of issues in the current bills, but where you start is not nearly as important as where you finish. After all, fees continue to skyrocket and millions remain uninsured, costing our country in many ways. ... There is no time like the present for Washington to show America that it is interested in governing, not just in campaigning. The cameras will be rolling, and we will be watching (Christine Todd Whitman, 2/12).

States Push For Insurers To Increase Coverage

States tackle several health care policy issues focused on health insurance coverage mandates and requirements. Idaho Reporter explores efforts to mandate that insurers cover prosthetics in the state with the nation's fewest health insurance mandates. "The Idaho Senate is looking at requiring health insurance to cover replacing and repairing prosthetic limbs and devices." Legislation proposed by Rexburg Republican Sen. Brent Hill "would mandate all state-regulated health care plans to cover repairs at the same level that Medicare dictates. That would mean replacing or fixing prosthetics due to physical changes, like a child growing up, or when a doctor says it's medically necessary" (Iverson-Long, 2/10).

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Proving Value A Challenge For Comparative Effectiveness And Pharmaceutical Technologies

The Wall Street Journal reports that "an examination of one of the best-known examples of a comparative-effectiveness analysis shows how complicated such a seemingly straightforward idea can get" as officials look for savings in the health care system." One study, called Courage, "found that the most common heart surgery -- a $15, 000 procedure that unclogs arteries using a small scaffold or stent -- usually yields no additional benefit when used with a cocktail of generic drugs in patients suffering from chronic chest pain." Stent implants dropped 13 percent in the month after the study was released, but they soon began to rise again and are now at pre-study levels of one million per year.

Videos Feature Comments On Focus On The Family's Super Bowl Ad, Health Reform

The following summarizes selected women's health-related videos. O'Neill, Dannenfelser on CNN: On CNN's "Rick's List, " NOW President Terry O'Neill and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser debated Focus on the Family's Super Bowl ad featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam. While Dannenfelser called the Tebows' story "uplifting and beautiful, " O'Neill noted that Focus on the Family's underlying agenda is to overturn Roe v. Wade (Sanchez, "Rick's List, " CNN, 2/5). Rachel Maddow Talks Health Reform: In her "Ms. Information" segment on Monday, Maddow weighed in on "what happens if health reform doesn't pass?

Calif. Budget Cuts Will Hit Adult Day Care Centers, Prison Health Care; Texas And Kansas Weigh Medicaid Cuts

The Los Angeles Times, on adult day care centers in California: "Under the most recent cost-saving budget proposals, 327 adult day healthcare centers throughout California would be eliminated. Cuts could save the state $135 million in fiscal 2011, state projections show. But advocates and center operators said care for many of the 37, 000 low-income participants -- who suffer from diabetes, brain injuries, dementia and other chronic conditions -- would cost the state even more money if the centers close. More than 40% of participants would end up in nursing homes, said Lydia Missaelides, executive director of the California Assn. for Adult Day Services.

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Feeding Tube Use More Likely At Big, For-Profit Hospitals

Larger, for-profit hospitals may be using too many feeding tubes on patients with advanced dementia without improving the quality of their care, a study finds, according to HealthDay News/Business Week. "Our results suggest that decisions about feeding tubes are more about which hospital you go to than a decision-making process that really elicits and supports patient choice, " said the physician who led the study, which appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association. "For-profit hospitals, along with facilities that had 310 beds or more and those that had the most use of intensive care during the last six months of a person's life, were more likely to use feeding tubes, " HealthDay reports.

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