New Survey: Health Care Leaders Say Need for Reform Is Urgent; Broadly Support Public Health Care Option, Provider Payment Reform

August 3, 2009

Press release from the respected Commonwealth Fund, with views much to rare in blogging:

New Survey: Health Care Leaders Say Need for Reform Is Urgent; Broadly Support Public Health Care Option, Provider Payment Reform

Majority of Health Care Opinion Leaders Believe Other Key Elements of Comprehensive Health Reform Are Critical, Including a National Insurance Exchange with Standard-setting Authority

New York, N.Y., July 27, 2009—By a wide margin, health care leaders believe that individuals should have a choice of public and private health plans, and strongly support other central components of health reform such as innovative provider payment reform and a national insurance health exchange with strong standard-setting authority. In addition, two-thirds (68%) of opinion leaders feel it is urgent to enact comprehensive health care reform this year, according to the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey.

“These results show that leaders from all the key stakeholder groups agree: comprehensive health care reform is urgently needed, to rein in costs and ensure that all Americans have access to affordable quality care,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. “Leaders also agree that offering a range of insurance options, and changing the way we pay for health care are critical steps for controlling the growth in health care spending over the next decade.”

Seven of 10 respondents to the survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, support the creation of a national health insurance exchange with the authority to enforce standards of participation by carriers, standardize benefits, set rating rules, and review or negotiate premiums. Two-thirds (65%) say that the exchange should offer a public plan that incorporates innovative payment methods, moving away from traditional fee-for-service and toward bundled payments. Half of opinion leaders (51%) support setting provider payment rates in a public insurance plan either at Medicare levels or between Medicare and commercial plan levels.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Fifty-six percent of respondents believe that, in designing an individual mandate, the required benefit package should be similar to the standard BlueCross/BlueShield option offered in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
  • In considering strategies to reduce health costs, opinion leaders express substantial support for new insurance reporting requirements (78%), joint negotiation of pharmaceutical prices (72%) and provider payment rates (61%), and limits to high cost providers and overvalued services (71%).
  • Forty-five percent of respondents believe provider participation in the public plan should be linked to Medicare, while 43 percent believe it should not, with the strongest opposition among those working in health care delivery.
  • Nearly three quarters of opinion leaders (72%) support ending the two-year Medicare waiting period for the disabled.
  • When asked to indicate their support for a variety of approaches to financing coverage expansion, more than three-fourths of survey respondents (79%) support increasing the federal excise tax on alcohol, cigarettes, and sugar-sweetened drinks, and 77% support requiring employers to offer coverage or pay a percentage of payroll to finance coverage (pay or play).

The survey is the 19th in a series from The Commonwealth Fund, and the eleventh conducted in partnership with the publication Modern Healthcare. Commentaries on the survey results by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX) appear in the July 27 issue of Modern Healthcare. The commentaries are also posted on the Fund’s Web site,, along with a Commission data brief discussing the survey findings.

Methodology: The Commonwealth Fund/Modern HealthCare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Commonwealth Fund between June 8, 2009 and July 8, 2009 among 585 opinion leaders in health policy and innovators in health care delivery and finance. The final sample included 208 respondents from various industries, for a response rate of 35.6 percent. Data from this survey were not weighted. A full methodology is available in Appendix A.

The entire survey, “Health Care Opinion Leaders’ Views on Health Reform” is available here.

Associated Press claims to own Thomas Jefferson’s words

August 3, 2009

Update:  See comment from Mr. Higginbotham; AP claims machine error and not arrogance.

Potential collisions are delicious:  Associated Press versus the Library of Congress’s “Thomas” legislation tracker;  Associated Press versus the Supreme Court for quoting the Declaration of Independence.

Associated Press versus the Southern Baptist Convention and Holy See for quoting the Bible, in phrases Jefferson used in his mashup of the New Testament.

Sotomayor either doesn’t know what she’s in for, or she saw this coming and is going to relish the ride.

James Grimmelman at The Laboratorium has been tracking AP’s attempts to wring pennies out of penniless bloggers and scholars for using AP product.  On the one hand, AP certainly deserves credit and payment for the great work it does reporting the news.

On the other hand, AP policies don’t seem much concerned with reporting news or creating new product that can make money for the organization, but instead seem bent on punishing people who read Associated Press stories.  (Full disclosure:  I make it a point to avoid AP stories and images on topics of my interest just to avoid the conflict — oddly, I’ve found that this actually does shift my news sources on major stories.)

Grimmelman caught AP red-handed in what must be a much embarrassing gaffe:  He asked permission from AP to quote from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson which AP had not published.

Sure enough, AP told him he owed them $12 to quote the letter, and AP offered to restrict the uses of the letter.

Grimmelman said:

The Associated Press has become so deranged, so disconnected from reality, that it will sell you a “license” to quote words it didn’t write and doesn’t own. Here, check it out:

Screen capture of Associated Presss charging for a Thomas Jefferson letter in the public domain - The LaboratoriumScreen capture of Associated Presss charging for a Thomas Jefferson letter in the public domain – The Laboratorium

These things threaten to put hoax makers out of business. Who could think of something so absurd? Grimmelman said:

I paid $12 for this “license.” Those words don’t even come from the article they charged me 46 cents a word to quote from (and that’s with the educational discount). No, they’re from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Isaac McPherson, in which Jefferson argues that copyright has no basis in natural law.

(A commenter notes that Jefferson was actually writing about patents, but close is good enough in hand grenades and freedom of the press and freedom of thought.)

Grimmelman has more thoughts (and links to his earlier work on the issue)Boing-Boing did a cover of Grimmelman’s piece.

James Grimmelman pwns AP instead.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Dr. Pamela Bumsted.

India today, in photos

August 3, 2009

Geography teachers, get out your PowerPoints and Keynotes.

Photo of life in Delhi, India.  From a collection by Belgian photographer Frederik Buyckx, 2009

Photo of life in Delhi, India. From a collection by Belgian photographer Frederik Buyckx, 2009

Thought provoking, occasionally breath-taking photos from a 6:00 a.m. walkaround in Delhi, India; Belgian photographer Frederick Buyckx promises more photos from his recent trip to India and Pakistan, at his blog.

Please share:

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2009 Poets Forum – October 15 – 17, in New York City

August 3, 2009

This sounds like fun, actually.  I wonder if they offer Continuing Education Units?

Shouldn’t schools make sure all English teachers get to make this pilgrimage at least once every four years?  Principals, are you listening?

Poets Forum Update:
New Events and More Participants Announced for 2009
Discounted passes available for a limited time at

Participants include Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian,Edward Hirsch, Haryette Mullen, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Jean Valentine, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and many more.

The Academy of American Poets invites you to join us in New York City for the annual Poets Forum, a series of events exploring the landscape of contemporary poetry in America.

This year’s Poets Forum includes new talks and discussions with an array of distinguished poets, readings, publication parties, and an expanded selection of literary walking tours, led by poets, through Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“In only three years, the Poets Forum has become the poetry event of the fall, as poets (and fans of poetry) of all aesthetics celebrate and learn about what they all have in a common: a desire to give life itself a shape through language.”
– Carl Phillips

Poets Forum Reading
Thursday, October 15
7 p.m.
Join us for an unforgettable evening as some of the most acclaimed poets of our day come together on one stage to read from their latest work. Featured readers include Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian, Edward Hirsch, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, and Ellen Bryant Voigt.
The Times Center
242 West 41st Street

Poetry Walking Tours
Friday, October 16
10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Take a trip down the same streets traversed by Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, E. E. Cummings, Langston Hughes, George Oppen, and countless other poets. Walking tours will explore the literary history of Brooklyn, Harlem, the Museum of Modern Art, the West Village, and SoHo. Tour guides include poets Anselm Berrigan, Jordan Davis, Bob Holman, Katy Lederer, Greg Pardlo, Tom Thompson, and Mónica de la Torre.
Meeting locations throughout New York City.

NEW: Poets & Place Talk
Friday, October 16
2 p.m.
“Show Me Your Environment, and I Will Tell You Who You Are”:  Place, Pathos, and the Problems of Identity
David Baker discusses the relationship between poets and their environment.
Philoctetes Center
247 East 82nd Street
Co-sponsored by the Philoctetes Center

Poets Awards Ceremony Friday, October 15 7 p.m. Celebrate contemporary poetry and recipients of the premier collection of awards for poetry in the United States. The night will include readings and presentations by Linda Gregg, Jennifer K. Sweeney, J. Michael Martinez, Harryette Mullen, James Richardson, Avi Sharon, Jean Valentine, and many others. A reception will follow.
Tishman Auditorium
The New School
66 West 12th Street
Co-sponsored by the New School Creative Writing Program

Poets Forum Discussions Saturday, October 17 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 6 Sessions Examine the issues central to contemporary poetry as we present a day of engaging and intimate conversations with some of the most renowned poets of our time, including Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian, Edward Hirsch, Harryette Mullen, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Jean Valentine, Ellen Bryant Voigt and other special guests.
Tishman Auditorium
The New School
66 West 12th Street
Co-sponsored by The New School Creative Writing Program

“This public forum on American Poetry is the first of its kind for our brave, wild world of poesy. We will leave no stone unturned to address all the voices and all the thoughts that beset, overwhelm, confuse, delight, and alarm us.”
– Gerald Stern

American Poet Publication Party
Saturday, October 17
7 p.m.
Reading and reception for the new fall issue of American Poet, the journal of the Academy of American Poets. Noelle Kocot, Robert Polito, and Brian Teare will read from their work. Ico Art and Music Gallery
606 West 26th Street (at 11th Avenue)
Co-sponsored by the Ico Gallery

Ticket Information
All-Events Pass: $85 before Sept 15 / $110 after
Saturday-Only Tickets: $60
Students (with current ID): Student rates are available by by phone.
Contact: Jennifer Kronovet, (212) 274-0343, ext.10.

Purchase tickets online at or by phone,(212) 274-0343, ext.10.

All times are subject to change. Contact Jennifer Kronovet at with further questions.
Academy of American Poets
584 Broadway, Suite 604
New York, NY 10012


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