Politicos aim to slash health programs, but Modern Healthcare is on a roll
Anyone who thought the country was out of the woods economically got a dose of reality last week with the latest round of healthcare earnings reports.
Insurer UnitedHealth Group, for example, posted strong earnings helped in no small part by a decline in healthcare utilization. The continued sluggishness in the economy dampened demand for services. People who are short of cash are choosing to forgo hospital and doctor visits and procedures.
Medical-device makers are reporting that patients are postponing surgical procedures such as hip replacements.
While business limps along and ordinary people struggle with medical and other bills, the U.S. Congress continues to fumble the economic ball in negotiations over raising the debt ceiling. As we have pointed out for the past two weeks on this page, mindlessly slashing government spending in an economic downturn—this one the most severe since the Great Depression—is a fiscal remedy the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian would have loved.
Last week, the House, in an effort to appease the anarchist lobby, passed legislation with spending caps that would almost certainly cause draconian cuts in Medicare and Medicaid among other programs. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates it would also result in the loss of roughly 700,000 jobs.
At deadline, the Senate was showing a little more sense (emphasis on a little) in trying to avert financial Armageddon with more workable alternatives. Physician groups were elated that lawmakers were considering an end to the travesty of the sustainable growth-rate formula for doctor payments. However, physicians should hold their applause until they see the final agreement. That pact may remove one thorn from their side while tanking the economy and ensuring that fewer patients will show for treatment at any reimbursement rate.
And now for more pleasant news: Modern Healthcare has won eight editorial awards from the international business press association.
Trade, Association, Business Publications International bestowed the citations, known as the Tabbies, on Modern Health
care for work published in 2010. The group chose the winners from about 400 entries from English-language business publications around the world.
The magazine won a Gold Award for news coverage. The staff and then-News Editor Paul Barr were cited for excellence.
Another Gold Award, for best single news article, went to the magazine and reporter Joe Carlson for his Aug. 2 cover story on how hospitals use investment and other income to compensate for a lack of operating profits.
Outliers, the magazine’s back-page look at offbeat and humorous industry news, earned the bronze award for best department. The award cited the editorial staff and Copy Desk Chief Julie A. Johnson, who edits the page.
The March 29 issue marking the passage of the health reform law won an Honorable Mention for best single issue. Other Honorable Mentions were awarded for: Editor’s Column: the July 12 editorial “A page out of Twain’s book” by Managing Editor Neil McLaughlin.
Focus/Profile Article: The March 1 Information Technology Survey, led by editor Rebecca Mielcarski and IT reporter Joseph Conn.
Feature Article: “Putting hospitals on notice,” the May 24 Cover Story by reporter-turned-News Editor Gregg Blesch on government enforcement of anti-pollution laws against hospitals.
Front Cover, Photographic: The May 24 cover illustrating the above feature by Assistant Graphics Editor Eric Semelroth.
These awards honor the magazine’s commitment to provide the best independent news coverage and analysis to our readers.