KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s OpEds: End-Of-Life Issues; States And Health Law Waivers; The Medicaid Long-Term Care Safety Net

Pay More, Get Less: The Boehner Principle St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
One key goal of health care reform is to make our system more efficient. That doesn't mean denying people needed care. It means making sure that the care we receive actually works. It means changing the system to reward quality instead of quantity. Maybe Mr. Boehner and other opponents of health care reform don't think that America can do as well as Germany, the Netherlands or Bosnia and Herzegovina (11/28).

Republicans Shouldn't Tamper With New Health Care Reform Law (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle 
Repealing health care reform would be expensive and short-sighted. Thanks to reform, we prevented a trillion-dollar burden from being placed on our children and grandchildren. At the same time, we improved the quality of care for all, and opened doors to insurance for 32 million more Americans (Rep. Louise Slaughter, 11/28).

Let States Innovate On Health Care The Oregonian 
If Oregon or other states find better, less costly ways to expand coverage, they should be allowed to opt out of portions of federal health reform (11/27).

Should States Drop Out Of Medicaid? The Sacramento Bee  
[B]oth states and the federal government are going to have to get real about the fact that fulfilling our obligation to provide for those in need is going to require restoring revenues (Micah Weinberg, 11/28).

Replace The Tattered Medicaid Long-Term Care Safety Net Kaiser Health News 
It makes sense to get the program out of the long-term care business. And a way to do that would be to replace it with a broad-based insurance system (Howard Gleckman, 11/29).

End-Of-Life Uncertainty The Los Angeles Times 
Americans need to be more assertive in detailing the medical treatment they want as they age. ... Those who do not make those decisions themselves will leave it to others, with uncertain consequences at the most trying times (11/29).

Doctor Worries About Board Deciding Healthcare Treatments The Bellingham Herald 
Medical decisions should be left to doctors and their patients. As a practicing physician, I'm concerned that the Independent Payment Advisory Board allows government accountants to intrude on that relationship. By all means, let's fix Medicare. But when it comes to the payment advisory board, the cure might be worse than the disease (Paul B. Brown, 11/28).

Health Care Report Card Was Flawed The Minneapolis Star Tribune 
The most important factors outside of provider control that can distort quality-of-care measures are patient health, income and lifestyle. The failure to control for these factors means that providers who treat sicker and poorer patients, or patients with unhealthy habits, will get lower grades even though they may provide better care than higher-scoring providers who treated healthier, wealthier patients (Kip Sullivan, 11/28).

Autism Insurance Reform Warrants Support The Grand Rapids Press  
National health care reform does not specify autism treatment in the essential benefits package and only impacts the uninsured. The federal mental health parity law doesn't even reference medically necessary autism treatment. Economic-impact studies show Michigan simply can't afford not to help children with autism (Brian Calley, 11/27).

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