KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Democrats Must Get Tough On Entitlements; Fla. Gov. Scott Says Feds Should Stay Out Of State Medicaid Decisions

Politico: Tough Love: Why Democrats Must Cut Entitlements
Democrats nurtured entitlements, which provided a bedrock of security for Americans. But we never said no to entitlement expansion or benefit increases. We haven't supplied enough discipline, and they are out of control. Conversely, we've ignored the New Frontier investment programs, bragging about them but meting out only subsistence rations. They're now stunted and need higher rations. We have one more chance. The fiscal cliff was designed to force tough choices. For Republicans, those tough choices are about taxes. For Democrats, it must be about entitlements. We have defended them to the hilt. We have made their success our legacy. But they are eating us out of house and home (Gabriel Horowitz and David Kendall, 8/9).

The Washington Post: The Case Against Reelection
Obama's ideology — and the program that followed — explains the failure of these four years. ... (Among the examples, Obama's) radical reform of health care that would reduce its ruinously accelerating cost: "Put simply," he said, "our health-care problem is our deficit problem" — a financial hemorrhage drowning us in debt. Except that Obamacare adds to spending. The Congressional Budget Office reports that Obamacare will incur $1.68 trillion of new expenditures in its first decade. To say nothing of the price of the uncertainty introduced by an impossibly complex remaking of one-sixth of the economy — discouraging hiring and expansion as trillions of investable private-sector dollars remain sidelined (Charles Krauthammer, 8/9). 

The Wall Street Journal: A Nation That Believes Nothing
The pro-Obama Super PAC ad that essentially blames Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer is over the line, and if it's allowed to stand the personal attacks that have marked the presidential campaign will probably get worse. If the president rebukes the PAC and renounces the ad—and he should, and he'd look better doing it than not doing it—then we'll all know there's an ethical floor below which things can't sink (Peggy Noonan, 8/10).

Christian Science Monitor: Health Care Reform: Has Team Romney Embraced The Individual Mandate?
Has Team Romney endorsed the individual mandate, the central pillar of President Obama’s health-care law that the GOP otherwise loves to hate? A Romney official seemed to indicate that Wednesday. Commenting on the harsh ad just released by a pro-Obama "super PAC," in which an ex-steelworker basically blames Bain Capital for his uninsured wife’s death, spokeswoman Andrea Saul told Fox News that "if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health-care plan, they would have had health care" (Peter Grier, 8/9).

The Wall Street Journal: The Ryan Express
The Romney camp has not-so-discreetly floated the trial balloon (that Rep. Paul Ryan may be the vice presidential pick) in recent days to prominent conservative leaders to get instant feedback. Most conservatives I caught up with in recent days were enthusiastic about a Ryan veep nomination. ... One big reservation for the Romney team is that putting Mr. Ryan on the ticket further exposes Mr. Romney to the Mediscare campaign that the Obama team is dying to roll out in the fall (Stephen Moore, 8/9).

Miami Herald: Medicaid Expansion Could Save Over 5,000 Lives
To those who control Florida health policy, discussions about Medicaid are exclusively about dollars and cents. Gov. Rick Scott calls the health-insurance program for certain low-income groups a budget-buster, even though Florida has one of the lowest Medicaid costs per patient in the nation. He refuses to consider the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults who are uninsured, even though the federal government pays the whole tab until 2017 and at least 90 percent after that. He speaks only of future costs, without looking at savings that could accrue to hospitals and without looking at economic benefits of a healthy, productive population. Now, it's time to talk about human suffering and early deaths (Carol Gentry, 8/9).

Miami Herald: Medicaid Expansion Bad For States
History has repeatedly shown the costs of many government healthcare programs far exceed early projections. Why does anyone expect the expansion of Medicaid would be any different? ... Medicaid expansion is bad for states because it would put a tremendous strain on state budgets and increase dependency on government programs. We don't need to expand a big-government program to provide for everyone’s needs. What we need is to shrink the cost of healthcare and expand opportunities for people to get a job so more people can afford it (Florida Gov. Rick Scott, 8/9).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:  Health Care Law Boosts Costs, Worsens Care
The best course of action now is for the entire health care law to be repealed and replaced with a real solution to our nation's health needs: market-oriented solutions that foster competition between providers, instead of a larger and more invasive role for the federal government. That's what will bring down costs and make care more affordable and accessible, so that all Americans can enjoy the quality and access to care that we have in Wisconsin (Luke Hilgemann, 8/9).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Health Care Access And Education Are Vital
Access to affordable reproductive health care, not just for prospective mothers but for fathers as well, is a crucial but sometimes invisible piece of the infant mortality puzzle. ... The bottom line is that improved awareness about and access to birth control and the early diagnosis and treatment of STDs (a serious risk factor for preterm births) before pregnancy improves birth outcomes (Teri Huyck, 8/9).

Bloomberg: Make It Hard For Parents To Deny Their Kids Vaccines
With more than half of parents expressing concern about vaccine safety in one survey, however, abolishing all nonmedical exemptions now could lead to a backlash. ... Instead, parents -- two parents, if both are legally responsible for the child -- should be required to visit a pediatrician for counseling on the risks of vaccination versus leaving a child unprotected (8/9).

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