What’s Missing In The Coronavirus Response

In the age of coronavirus, Americans are being told to stay home and wear masks outside. The federal government has made way for hospitals to treat patients in repurposed hotels and dormitories. Private companies are working to push out new diagnostic tests.

But the national effort has been disorganized, relying heavily on state action, said health systems experts and public health researchers. That approach has fallen short, they assert.

“We’re in a lot more trouble than we need to be,” said Dr. Donald Berwick, who ran the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Obama administration.

So what else should the United States be doing?

Public health specialists said a range of tools, high-tech strategies and old-school public health interventions could help tamp down the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Though an ambitious

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Newsom’s Ambitious Health Care Agenda Crumbles In A ‘Radically Changed’ World

This was supposed to be a big health care year for California.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in January unveiled ambitious proposals to help him achieve his goal of getting every Californian health care coverage. Though it was far less than the single-payer promise Newsom had made on the gubernatorial campaign trail, his plans, if adopted, would have expanded the health care system as no other state has.

His $47 billion health care agenda, fueled by a once-booming economy and pressure from legislative Democrats, sought to expand the pool of undocumented immigrants covered by Medicaid, enable California to manufacture its own generic drugs, pour billions into the Medicaid program to address chronic homelessness and dramatically increase mental health and addiction treatment statewide.

Then, the novel coronavirus swept in, decimating those ambitions.

“The world has radically changed,” Newsom said this month,

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Retiree-Rich Palm Beach County Leads Florida In COVID-19 Deaths

JUPITER, Fla. — No place in Florida has recorded more deaths from COVID-19 than Palm Beach County, the tropical vacation and retirement destination that bills itself — chutzpah notwithstanding — as “The Best of Everything.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, 69 people in the South Florida county of 1.5 million had died after being infected with the novel coronavirus. The death toll outpaces the state’s two more populated counties, including Miami-Dade, which has nearly twice the population and 49 deaths.

Health experts attribute the county’s high mortality rate to three factors: a large elder population, with 1 in 4 residents 65 or over; its lack of available testing, particularly compared with its southern neighbors, Broward and Miami-Dade counties; and frequent travel among residents and visitors to and from the New York metro area, the national epicenter of the outbreak.

Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious disease specialist in the county, said that,

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Pandemic Delays Federal Probe Into Medicare Advantage Health Plans

Federal health officials, citing a need to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, have temporarily halted some efforts to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments made to Medicare Advantage health plans.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says the decision will allow insurers and the agency to “focus on patient care,” and will last “until after the public health emergency has ended.”

Critics aren’t convinced that’s a wise idea.

“Some loosening of regulations during a crisis is necessary. But is this an abdication of oversight?” asked David Lipschutz, associate director and a senior policy attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “This is a serious concern we will have to grapple with at some point.”

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private health insurers under contracts with Medicare. They treat more than 24 million Americans, most of them seniors at a relatively high risk of serious health complications

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