KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Law On Generic Drugs Is ‘Outrageous Denial’ Of Patients’ Rights; Could Romney Be The Best Spokesman Against Federal Law?

A selection of editorials and opinions on health policy from around the country.

The New York Times: A Bizarre Outcome On Generic Drugs
Dozens of suits against drug companies have been dismissed in federal and state courts because of a decision by the Supreme Court last year that makes it virtually impossible to sue generic manufacturers for failing to provide adequate warning of a prescription drug’s dangers. This outrageous denial of a patient’s right to recover fair damages makes it imperative that Congress or the Food and Drug Administration fashion a remedy (3/23).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Plan Reverses Health Care Reforms, Destroys Medicare
There is no doubt that we need to slow health care spending, the fastest-growing area of local, state and federal budgets. But it shouldn't be done on the backs of seniors and the disadvantaged as the Ryan/Romney plan proposes. We must work together and continue steps taken through the Affordable Care Act to strengthen Medicare and improve our health care system so all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care (Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., 3/24).

The Washington Post: Ryan's Budget And The Path To Single-Payer Health Care
Let’s play a game: I’ll describe a health-care bill to you. Then you tell me if I'm describing President Obama's Affordable Care Act or the budget released this week by Rep. Paul Ryan (Ezra Klein, 3/24). 

Politico: 'Romney Care': GOP Albatross Or Asset?
The central tenet of the "Anybody-But-Romney" conservative theology is this article of faith: Nominating the former Massachusetts governor will take away the Republican Party's best 2012 issue — because "Romneycare" is so like "Obamacare." ... This conservative faith is wrong, however. To the extent that attacks on President Barack Obama's health care reform are good politics, the candidate best able to make them is Mitt Romney. Since he orchestrated and then signed the Massachusetts health care law, Romney is uniquely qualified to lead the GOP attacks against the federal health care reform bill (Paul Goldman and Mark J. Rozell, 3/25).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Is Medical Board Protecting Patients?
A revealing Star Tribune series recently raised serious questions about whether the state Board of Medical Practice is doing all it can to protect the public from doctors whose mistakes harm patients. A rigorous, independent evaluation of the board's operations is needed, and the best organization for the job is right here in Minnesota -- the state's respected Office of the Legislative Auditor (3/25).

HealthyCal: Hitting Below The Belt
Call me crazy. I’m a few months from losing my health insurance coverage – the "COBRA" plan you can buy after you leave a job that initially provided the benefit. So I figured I should start planning now to find an individual policy to replace my current plan before I lose it. ... It couldn't be all that tough, I thought to myself, to find an affordable health plan. I was wrong (Herbert A. Sample, 3/25).

Arizona Republic: 'War On Women' A Dem Exaggeration
The effort by Democrats to make the case that Republicans are waging a "war on women" has been interesting to watch. As often is the case in politics, the accusation reveals more about the accuser than the accused. At the national level, that's been the spin to try to wrest control of the flap over the Obama administration not providing an exemption for religious-affiliated institutions -- principally Catholic schools, hospitals and charities -- from its mandate that all health-insurance plans include free contraceptives (Robert Robb, 3/24).

Houston Chronicle: Hispanics Bear Brunt Of Perry's Health Care Policies
Hispanics understand that the victims of (Gov. Rick) Perry's politics are real people who are struggling to do their best for their families. They have enough problems; they don't need more. You take away their access to health care, and you run up costs at emergency rooms. You take away their access to contraception, and sadly, you add to the number of abortions (José Rodríguez, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Carol Alvarado, Rafael Anchia, Veronica Gonzales, Marisa Marquez, 3/23).

San Francisco Chronicle: Laura's Law Is Ineffective
Laura's Law has been on the books since 2002, promoting expensive, involuntary treatment of people with mental health disabilities on the basis that they might become dangerous to themselves or others. Although The Chronicle editorializes that it would be a crime for Laura's Law to sunset, the real crime is that as a result of California's bad economic climate, the state and counties too often have made drastic cuts to mental-health and other social-services funding, depriving individuals of the community-based services they need to avoid hospitalization (Daniel Brzovic, 3/26).

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