KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Different Takes On Health System Issues: A ‘DNR’ For The AHCA; How Are We Doing On Patient Safety?

Opinion writers across the country take hard looks at various aspects of the health care system, from what's happening with the congressional repeal-and-replace debate and state health insurance markets to confidence levels in health data sharing, cost and quality issues and a range of other topics.

RealClear Policy: Do Not Resuscitate The American Health Care Act
Republicans get credit for trying to resuscitate the American Health Care Act (AHCA). What was flat-lined two weeks ago, now has a pulse. A good thing, right? Wrong. What I've learned from 13 seasons of watching “Grey’s Anatomy” — and a few additional seasons on the sidelines in Washington — is that it’s important to act fast when the patient is crashing, while taking a care to make sure your treatment won’t kill the patient. Unfortunately, this new bill just isn’t the right prescription. (Kerrie Rushton, 4/11)

Stat: Patient Safety: A Public Health Crisis For A Nation Of Patients
The United States is a nation of patients. More than 300 million Americans — 95 percent of us — encounter the nation’s health care system at least once in the space of five years. It’s essential that every health care encounter is safe and free from harm. Sadly, that isn’t the case. Our daughter, Meredith, died not from the cancer she had been so bravely fighting but from a health care-associated infection that should have been preventable and for which there was no effective antibiotic. Meredith isn’t an exception. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly three-quarters of a million Americans develop health care-associated infections each year, 75,000 of whom die during that hospitalization. (Stephen E. Littlejohn, 4/10)

RealClear Health: Health Data Sharing Is Increasing, But Confidence In Privacy Security Lags
More patient health data is being shared for approved purposes, with almost 57 percent of organizations possessing such data reporting sharing and over 55 percent increasing the amount shared. However, these same organizations lack confidence in their ability to protect privacy, increasing reputational and other risks if patient identities are exposed. These are three findings from the second year of a survey, released recently, of organizations that collect and store health data. (Sam Wehbe, 4/11)

The Des Moines Register: Wellmark, Aetna Exits Call For Public Option
Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield announced last week it will quit selling individual health insurance in Iowa. People who purchased policies the last few years will also lose them. A few days later Aetna announced its withdrawal from the individual market here, too. This is a devastating development. (4/10)

Stat: Tom Price: Remember Your Roots As A Grady Physician
As Grady physicians, the biggest barrier we face is not diagnosing disease but the lack of resources — our patients’ and our own — to deliver first-line health care. Just last week, my elderly patient Audrey experienced her first seizure, possibly resulting from critical blockages in the carotid arteries supplying blood to her brain. Just one day after coming off the ventilator that had been breathing for her, she checked herself out of the hospital against my medical advice before we could further investigate her arteries. She did this because she was so terrified of the medical bill she was accruing in the intensive care unit. (Allyson Herbst, 4/10)

Tampa Bay Times: The Legislature's Free-Market Fantasy For Hospitals
Access to quality health care is not just at risk in Washington. It also is at stake in Tallahassee, where Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran relentlessly pursues a free-market fantasy that threatens the future of hospitals such as Tampa General, Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg and the BayCare network. This is a risky strategy that would undermine the financial viability of the venerable institutions Tampa Bay residents have long relied upon for top-flight care, and it fails to recognize that hospitals cannot be treated like fast-food franchises competing for customers on opposite street corners. (4/10)

Tampa Bay Times: Reject Fees For Florida Medicaid Patients
Hospitals aren't the only targets in Tallahassee when it comes to Medicaid. House Republicans want poor people on Medicaid to meet new work requirements and pay fees or get cut off. It is a callous attempt to control costs on the backs of the poorest Floridians by rationing access to health care that should be a fundamental right. (4/10)

The Des Moines Register: Doctors Protest Branstad Speech At Medical Society Event
What was once unbelievable is now believable and that's unbelievable. It is no coincidence with the recent change of administration in our country that the reading of George Orwell's "1984" has become so popular. With the government espousing protection of the environment while gutting the EPA and expanding military spending while basic needs like education and health care get short shrift, one can appreciate the repeated slogan: "War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength." (Dr. David Drake, 4/10)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.