Should we pay people to quit smoking? A new study has shown that significantly more smokers will quit if they're paid by someone else to do so. Researchers tracked over 870 employees from General Electric for a year and a half, giving out payments of up to $750 to smokers who quit. Participants who were paid to quit were nearly three times as likely to quit as those who didn't receive the cash, according to findings published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine. Encouraged by the success of the trial, G.E.
It's easy to forget now, but the Democrat who re-introduced "universal health insurance" to the political lexicon a few years ago wasn't Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or even Ted Kennedy. It was Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who shortly after the 2006 midterm elections proposed a comprehensive reorganization of health care that would give everybody coverage. The plan, which Wyden dubbed the "Healthy Americans Act," got a great deal of publicity and attracted some impressively bipartisan support.
Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy vow to enact comprehensive health reform this year. Kitzhaber isn't interested in becoming Health Secretary. Health insurer Cigna is voluntarily cutting executive bonuses. Are health-care stocks really recession-proof? Blagojevich issued an 11th-hour boost to Medicaid before leaving office. Americans are changing their attitudes toward stem-cell therapy. The army is seeing an alarming rise in the suicide rate. --Suzy Khimm
Another day, another tax problem for an Obama cabinet nominee. The Washington Post has just reported that a Senate session considering Hilda Solis for Labor Secretary was abruptly canceled this afternoon after USA Today disclosed that her husband had paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his business-some of which had been outstanding for 16 years.
Obama signs S-CHIP. AMA cheers the bill. Doctor-owned hospitals are also happy. House Republicans have forced a health care task force. Experts recommend an overhaul of the nation's personal health privacy rules. Psych wards are closing their doors in Colorado. Hispanic and African-American cancer survivors as twice as likely to forgo care because of high costs. The peanut company behind the salmonella outbreak claims that the plant was inspected. --Suzy Khimm
Senators Baucus and Feinstein are still in shock over Daschle's departure. House Democrats have launched radio attack ads against GOP members who voted against S-CHIP. The first of some 8,000 lawsuits against tobacco companies went to trial in Florida. The Washington Post examines the fate of the new uninsured. Medicare's "donut hole" could prompt the elderly to cut back on needed prescriptions. Rising health care stocks have bolstered the Dow. The recession has squeezed small business owners struggling to cover health care costs. Health care entrepreneurs are finding promising markets in th
On the lowest level of the J.W. Marriott in downtown D.C., hundreds of leading health care experts attending the AcademyHealth's conference are still reeling from the announcement of Daschle's withdrawal. "Honest to god, I'm stupefied by this," said Marie Michnich from the Institute of Medicine, shortly after the news broke this afternoon. "Now, to see all the work that's been lost. We had a sense of how it was going to work--how we were going to coordinate [health care reform] with the White House. And now we're just spinning." Others seemed similarly flabbergasted.
Obama and Baucus have voiced their support for Daschle. Physicians for a National Health Program and other liberal groups have launched a new single-payer lobbying campaign. Harvard health economist David Cutler is joining the new administration. Obama will order a full review of the FDA in the wake of the recent peanut scare. Governor Paterson is taking heat from unions for the health care cost-control measures in his new budget. Can disruptive innovation create a new business model for health care? GlaxoSmithKline is preparing to cut 6,000 jobs.
The Senate passes S-CHIP, 66-32. The Wall Street Journal looks at Daschle's support for episode-based Medicare payments. Global health gains are being threatened by the economic crisis. Schwarzenegger wants to eliminate an $8 billion plan to improve prison medical facilities in California. Congress will hold a peanut contamination hearing. The Boston Globe asks: who's the food villain of the week? Scientists are studying addiction by giving bees cocaine. --Suzy Khimm
At least 25 states are planning to cut Medicaid benefits. The city of San Francisco is suing California health insurers for discriminating against women. Health insurance premiums could double by 2016 unless health-care reform is passed. The SEIU is taking over local health care unions. (Check out Brad Plumer's Andy Stern profile for a background primer.) Nine FDA scientists who complained about being forced to approve high-risk treatments say the agency has targeted them in a criminal investigation. Researchers are using cell phone videos to promote safe sex.