Sunday, July 19, 2009

News Briefs (07/01 - 07/19)

FDA Regulation of Tobacco: Forty-five years after the release of 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Tobacco and Smoking, the Senate has voted to approve legislation that will grant the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. The new law would place tighter restrictions on advertising, regulate new tobacco products, and potentially impose new fees on packs of cigarettes. More available at: "Senate Approves Tight Regulation Over Cigarettes" (NY Times, June 11, 2009).

Healthcare Debate Opinions: The NY Times has compiled two opposing viewpoints on three major issues currently facing legislators dealing with healthcare reform. The issues are the taxation of employer benefits (whether the imposition of a cap on benefits would be beneficial), the role of defensive medicine, and hospital costs. The opinions are available at: "Two Sides to Every Healthcare Debate" (NY Times, July 11, 2009).

Massachusetts Healthcare Commission Advocates Global Payments: A panel of experts has recommended that the Massachusetts legislature pass a reform to the current state healthcare system that would remove the fee-for-service payments that doctors and hospitals currently receive. Instead global payments would be paid to healthcare providers for providing care for a patient. Providers would organize into coherent health networks and distribute care to patients with the incentive of offering necessary care rather than ordering excessive testing and procedures. Some have argued that this model is similar to the much maligned capitation payments of the 1990's that both doctors and patients argued led physicians to provide fewer services than required to save money. The proposal is still in the early stages, with more developments likely to follow. More available at: "Mass. Panel Backs Radical Shift in Health Payments" (NY Times, July 16, 2009).

Bill Moyer's Interview with Wendell Potter: Bill Moyer's has recently interviewed Wendell Potter, a CIGNA executive who reveals his own startling discovery of the serious healthcare problems facing this country. Mr. Potter discusses how insurance companies remain opposed to any serious change to the system. The video interview is available at: Bill Moyer's Journal (July 10, 2009).

Michael Shusterman is the Editor in Chief of TuftScope (2009 - 2010).
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TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy

TuftScope is a student journal published biannually in conjunction with Tufts University since 2001. Funding is provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The opinions expressed on this weblog are solely those of the authors. The staff reserves the right to edit blog postings for clarity and to remove nonfunctional links.

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