Health Buzz: New York Pays for Medicaid Mistake and Other Health News

Fixing health insurance first; cooking with whole foods

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New York to Pay $540 Million to Settle Medicaid Case

The city and state of New York will pay $540 million to settle allegations they submitted inappropriate Medicaid claims, the Associated Press reports. It is the biggest dollar settlement ever for the government program, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Between 1990 and 2001, the state and city allegedly billed Medicaid for school health services that did not qualify for reimbursement, the AP reports. A speech therapist filed two lawsuits that alleged that the state had submitted false claims for speech therapy services, which prompted the Justice Department's investigation.

Consider 7 ways laid-off baby boomers can find health insurance. Read new study findings that show why millions of Americans can't afford health insurance.

Why Rush Health Reform? Let's Fix Insurance First

President Obama was caught off guard recently when asked how he would react if Malia, Sasha, or Michelle needed medical care not covered by the public health insurance plan he favors. It was a telling and awkward moment. He paused, then indicated he'd seek out whatever care he felt was best for his family. Obama's quintessentially human moment offered an important insight: Decisions about the prudent use of medical resources are not always clear cut and must take into account deeply personal needs and considerations, U.S. News's Bernadine Healy, M.D., writes. Instead of a rushed overhaul of the entire healthcare system, Healy says, conservative changes just to the insurance system could reduce costs while expanding coverage.

Healy proposes a two-part plan to fix the health insurance system. Mandating catastrophic medical insurance for everyone would address the fear that a major illness would mean financial ruin, as well as the practice of using emergency rooms to access care, she writes. Another change Healy supports: the creation of a health insurance exchange that makes prices transparent. One reason healthcare spending is so high is that the prices negotiated are largely secret, and for years, patients and doctors have been shielded by insurance from knowing the costs of the therapies they have used, Healy says.

Here are 7 ways healthcare reform will affect Americans and reasons doctors take issue with health reform. Read one prominent economist's take on today's healthcare costs and efforts to overhaul the system.

Whole Foods Diet Cookbook: How to Eat for Health and Taste

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 22, Ivy Ingram Larson, with the help of her husband, Andrew, a surgeon, developed an eating strategy they say has improved their health. U.S. News's Katherine Hobson spoke with Larson, who coauthored the Whole Foods Diet Cookbook, on how to include whole foods in your diet. The cookbook has recipes based on minimally processed foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein (including some animal protein), and, in moderation, essential fats.

Whole foods are foods in their unrefined state, Larson says. That means apples instead of applesauce, or oatmeal instead of a granola bar with oatmeal in it, for example. She says eating nutrient-rich whole foods may help support a healthy metabolism and keep food cravings under control. And whole foods take up a lot of space in your stomach, so you'll feel more full for hours, Larson says.

Consider these diets that promote health and always have, and learn about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, Asian diet, and Latin American diet. Craving the latest in diet news and trends? Check out U.S. News's page on diet and fitness.

Megan Johnson

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