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Webwatch: Best of the Web on health

KHN reporter Jessica Marcy selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The Daily Beast: Bart Stupak On Life After Health Care

Former Democratic congressman Bart Stupak is relishing the good life. After nine terms in the House of Representatives, the once obscure, pro-life, conservative legislator who became the flash point in last year’s historic health care debate gave up his seat to become a gilded Washington operative — a partner in the Government and Legislative Affairs Group of Venable LLP. … Even before he negotiated a last-minute deal with President Obama to ban federal funding for abortion and provided the defining vote, he called his life “a living hell.” “I was the face of health care. Whatever you thought about it, I was it,” he says calmly. “I’m surprised I never got shot.” (One enraged constituent, Russell Hesch, recently pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Stupak, his wife, Laurie, and his son Ken, and to paint the Mackinac Bridge with their blood. His trial is scheduled for mid-December.) (Sandra McElwaine, 10/2).

Mother Jones: Is Susan G. Komen Denying the BPA-Breast Cancer Link?

If you’ve ever bought something pink to support breast cancer research, there’s a good chance a portion of the money went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest nonprofit in the world solely dedicated to eradicating the disease. Famous for its fundraising races and pink gear, the foundation has been fighting breast cancer for three decades. So it may come as a surprise that Komen has posted statements on its website that dismiss links between the common chemical bisphenol A (BPA) and breast cancer, even while funding research that explores that possible connection. … And yet, it’s hard to ignore mounting scientific evidence that strongly suggests a link between BPA and cancer (Amy Silverstein, 10/3).

Governing: Freeing Up Space (And Money) In The Emergency Room

Sign for an emergency room.Over the past few years, a number of states, cities and counties have come to the same conclusion: identifying those who use the emergency room the most and steering them to less costly care elsewhere saves money for everyone. … Kelly Harder, now the director of Dakota County Community Services in Minnesota, had an “aha moment” five years ago when he was director of human services in rural Steele County, south of the Twin Cities. He heard about the financial pressure the community hospital faced caring for uninsured and underinsured patients in the ER and, adhering to the 80/20 rule, knew that a few people likely accounted for most of the cost. A quick glance at those patients revealed they were often the same folks Harder dealt with in other human services programs. … At the time, Harder had just established a program to reduce recidivism in local jails, in which a social worker helped parolees find housing and jobs. “We had success with that,” he says, “[so] why wouldn’t that work in the ER?” (David Levine, October 2011).

American Medical News: Bracing For Medicaid Expansion

More than two years remain before millions of low-income Americans gain Medicaid eligibility through an expansion authorized by the health system reform law, but it’s already clear the overhaul will affect some states much more than others. Certain states in the Northeast and Midwest already cover most or all of their poorest residents. So the health reform law’s Medicaid expansion to 133 percent of the federal poverty level should pose relatively little strain to their safety nets. But other states — particularly in the South and Mountain West — are bracing for a bigger impact. … Challenged states — such as Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Idaho — have limited numbers of physicians, but they already pay relatively high Medicaid fees to doctors in an effort to retain them (Doug Trapp, 10/3).


This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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