KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: America’s Mixed Views On Health; Contraception And Political ‘Excesses’; Colorado Medicaid Debate

Los Angeles Times: Obama's Healthcare Albatross
Most people tell pollsters they like the parts of the law that have gone into effect: health insurance for people with preexisting conditions, a clause that allows children to stay on their parents' health plans until the age of 26 and discounts for prescription drugs on Medicare. And, as time goes by, Americans seem less worried that the law will have a negative effect on their own medical care ... But the law itself isn't any more popular than the day it passed (Doyle McManus, 3/11). 

McClatchy: Premiums Buy Health Care, Not Sex
Despite the misrepresentations out there, the Georgetown law student Rush Limbaugh took after wasn't begging Congress for a federal handout or asking taxpayers to fund wanton fornication. She was talking about having the health insurance she pays for -- just as many individuals, workers and their employers do from their own pockets -- cover the cost of prescription drugs that many American women use in a perfectly legal and responsible way (Linda P. Campbell, 3/9).

Boston Globe: Contraception, The Economic Miracle Drug
As she stumps for the Senate these days, Elizabeth Warren is trying her best to emphasize economics over gender.  ... Contraception, she said, is "an economic issue, as well as a social issue.’" ... For fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks, birth control turns out to be something of a miracle drug. It saves everyone money (Joanna Weiss, 3/11).

Arizona Republic: Amid Antics By Right, President Is Attacking Religious Conscience
The president's health-care reform mandates assault religious freedom on a number of fronts. ... But nowhere are the mandates more obviously in conflict with religious independence from government control than where they cross paths with self-insured religious organizations, a cohort that includes more than 600,000 insured employees nationally (Doug MacEachern, 3/10).

Houston Chronicle: Save The Women's Health Program
When it comes to women's health issues, it is time for policymakers in Austin to focus on what best serves Texas.  (The Women's Health Program) in its current form saves the state a lot of money, keeps women healthy and prevents unplanned pregnancies. We shouldn't undermine a program that accomplishes so much so economically (3/9).

The Dallas Morning News: Abortion Ploy Hurts Women More Than Planned Parenthood
Texas is about to get a nose job. And it won't be pretty. Mania over the abortion issue is leading our state into a classic case of cutting off its own nose to spite its face. And the real tragedy is that this fit of pique will very likely lead to more unintended pregnancies and more abortions, not fewer (Steve Blow, 3/10).

Bloomberg: How To Stop Medicare's Multibillion Dollar Fraud Siphon
The government estimates that improper payments, which include error and fraud, in the fee-for-service element of Medicare equaled $28.8 billion last year. ... Yet neither Congress nor the Obama administration -- professed enemies of waste, fraud and abuse -- has taken up the cause with the urgency it requires. Overhauling Medicare’s payment system is a daunting task ... The system was designed to correct errors, not root out fraud  (3/11).

Denver Post: Does Medicaid Receive Too Great A Share Of Colorado's Budget? No
Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health services to low-income families, helps provide an important safety net for families, the elderly and disabled across Colorado. Republicans say Medicaid is taking too big a bite out of our state budget. However, they still have not provided details of their solutions to help control the growing cost of Medicaid (Rhonda Fields and Beth McCann, 3/11).

Denver Post: Does Medicaid Receive Too Great A Share Of Colorado's Budget? Yes
The problem is that states no longer have the ability to set their own priorities. The federal-state Medicaid "partnership" increasingly resembles a shotgun wedding. A state that rejects the federal spending mandates also loses out on federal matching funds that pay for half of the $5 billion price tag of Colorado's program. In the past five years, the number of Coloradans participating in Medicaid has swollen from 391,962 to 613,148 (Mark Hillman, 3/11).

Denver Post: Why Nursing Is Critical To Colorado's Future
For the next 20 years, Colorado will need over 3,000 nurses per year.  Yet, each year our state's nursing schools graduate 900 fewer nurses than we need. Where will the additional nurses come from? As president of a school of nursing, I'm asked every day: Can Colorado grow its own qualified nursing candidates for employment? I respond with a resounding "Yes." But much needs to be done (Marcia Bankirer, 3/10).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: An Affront To Cancer Survivors
This burden is imposed by legislation that places a moratorium on the construction of any new cancer radiation facilities in a 14-county area encompassing the entire metro area and other populous counties. ... The only clear results of this legislation are to make life tougher for cancer patients and likely increase the future cost of medical care (Dr. Irv Lerner, 3/11).

Detroit Free Press: Fix A Cruel Inequality For Mental Health Care Coverage
(A)n estimated 1.5 million to 2 million privately insured Michigan residents lack coverage for mental health treatment. Michigan must resolve that problem in a comprehensive way. Bills now before the state Senate would take a step toward parity by mandating private insurance coverage for the treatment of one pervasive developmental disorder: autism (9/12). 

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