The biggest news of this week was not particularly related to health care, but it is significant enough to highlight anyway. Mubarak Steps Down, Ceding Power to Military. Just yesterday, there was an article, Obama Faces a Stark Choice on Mubarak about Central Intelligence Agency Director, Leon E. Panetta testifying before Congress that there was a “strong likelihood” that Mubarek would step down on Thursday. Panetta went on to compare “the difficulty of making intelligence judgments to forecasting earthquakes: even mapping the fault lines cannot give you precise information about the next earthquake.” So, it was earth shaking news when Mubarak announced yesterday he would not resign, and then did resign today. It was not the only earth shaking news. Friday afternoon a 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook Chile.
In the United States, there was earth shaking news for health centers. The House Appropriations Committee announced plans to cut $1.3 billion in funding to community health centers. The National Association of Community Health Centers, NACHC, in a press release stated:
If this cut were to be approved, it will mean that America’s Health Centers will lose the capacity to serve 11 million patients over the next year, with well over 3.3 million current patients losing their care within the next few months. That is equivalent to terminating all health care to the entire population of Chicago, or to everyone living in the states of Wyoming, Vermont, North and South Dakota, and Alaska combined.
Here in Connecticut, a different approach to saving money on health care has been proposed. The Malloy administration has proposed a move away from a Managed Care Organization.
Medical homes may be another important way to obtain costs savings while improving the quality of care available to patients. A New York Times article about Treating Chronic Pain and Managing the Bills talks a little bit about the value of medical homes.
It is important to find a primary care provider who will serve as your “medical home” and will work with you to coordinate care. You will avoid duplicative tests and procedures, and you are more likely to find the care you need.
Of course, as more people seek good primary care providers, the need for such providers will grow. This week, Dr. Stephen Smith of CHC’s New London office had an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, A Recipe for Medical Schools to Produce Primary Care Physicians addressing this issue.
To help people make sense of all of this, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber is planning to write a graphic novel about Obama’s health care plan.