Daily Rounds: Romney Baffles On Medicare; Bellevue Struggle; Climate Excuses; Choosing Wellness Over College Sports

Romney’s baffling claim about Medicare pay cuts for doctors (NPR) – “Over the last couple of weeks, Republican Mitt Romney has been making a new claim that doesn’t quite clear the accuracy bar. It has to do with $716 billion in Medicare reductions over 10 years included in the federal health law, the Affordable Care Act. And it’s become a standard part of Romney’s stump speech. Here’s how he put it last week in his big economic speech in Ames, Iowa: “It matters to the senior who needs to get an appointment with a medical specialist, but is told by one receptionist after another that the doctor isn’t taking any new Medicare patients; because Medicare has been slashed to pay for Obamacare.” “Not true,” says Harold Pollack, a professor of public health policy at the University of Chicago. “I’m honestly rather baffled at the arguments that Governor Romney is making.”

A convenient excuse (The Boston Phoenix) – “First: We need to see a much greater sense of urgency in the media’s coverage of climate change, including in the Globe’s editorial and opinion pages. This is more than an environmental crisis: it’s an existential threat, and it should be treated like one, without fear of sounding alarmist, rather than covered as just another special interest, something only environmentalists care about. And it should be treated as a central issue in this election, regardless of whether the candidates or the political media are talking about it. Second: Business-as-usual, politics-as-usual, and journalism-as-usual are failing us when it comes to addressing the climate threat. If there’s to be any hope for the kind of bold action we need, a great deal of pressure must be brought from outside the system, in the form of a broad-based grassroots movement, in order to break the stranglehold of the big-money fossil fuel lobby on our politics. And in fact, there is a movement emerging on campuses and in communities across the country — especially here in New England — and the Globe should be paying attention to it.”

Related:Bloomberg backs Obama, citing fallout from storm (The New York Times)

At Bellevue, a desperate fight to ensure patient safety (The New York Times) – “Some doctors began urging evacuations, and on Tuesday, at least two dozen ambulances lined up around the block to pick up many of the 725 patients housed there. People carried babies down flights of stairs. The National Guard was called in to help. On Thursday afternoon, the last two patients were waiting to be taken out. The evacuation went quickly only because Bellevue had planned for such a possibility before Hurricane Irene hit last year, several doctors said. But the city, which had evacuated two nearby hospitals before that storm, decided not to clear out Bellevue. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the consequences of bad calls, bad luck and equipment failures cascaded through the region’s health care system, as sleep-deprived health care workers and patients were confronted by a new kind of disarray.”

Beyond sports (Inside Higher Ed) – “Spelman College is doing the exact opposite. The historically black liberal arts women’s college in Atlanta will announce today that it is completely eliminating intercollegiate athletics at the end of this academic year. Granted, Spelman’s presence in the NCAA was minuscule compared to that of many others, and the Division III college with 80 athletes is hardly getting the same attention as the Division I program that fields hundreds (and enjoys lucrative deals from championship appearances and television contracts). So rather than dedicate its resources to programs from which only 4 percent of Spelman’s 2,000 students benefit, President Beverly Daniel Tatum decided to direct that money — nearly $1 million — and energy toward a campuswide fitness and wellness initiative that she sees as crucial to her students’ health and overall well-being.”

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