KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Monday’s Opinions: Justice Anthony Kennedy May Hold Key To Health Care Outlook; Minn.’s Medicaid Plans; Improving Food Choices

The Washington Post: Health-Care Overhaul's Individual Mandate Makes All The Difference
Unless someone can drop into Anthony Kennedy's dreamspace and, "Inception"-style, either figure out what he thinks of the individual mandate or simply tell him what to think of the individual mandate, it's not worth spending much time speculating on the ultimate legal fate of the provision. The case will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court, and when it does, Kennedy will decide which side has the majority, and until that happens, the various legal decisions are little different from op-ed columns (Ezra Klein, 12/18).

Kaiser Health News: A Bipartisan Budget Will Require Bipartisan Health Care
But it will be near impossible for the president to succeed in building a strong bipartisan coalition of support for a budget plan if he takes the same approach as Bowles-Simpson and builds a wall around health care. Health care is the largest line item in the federal budget, and it will only become more important in future years (James Capretta, 12/20).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dayton's Plan On Medicaid? Several Flaws
Gov.-elect Mark Dayton has announced that he will expand the state's federally funded Medicaid program to poor adults without children as soon as Jan. 3. ... There are two problems, however. First, the statute that allows Dayton to expand Medicaid is probably unconstitutional. Second, rolling GAMC into the state's Medicaid program effectively reinstates the old GAMC program, with all its shortcomings (Peter Nelson, 12/19).

The Kansas City Star: Obamacare And The Risk Of 'Positive Rights'
Last week's court decision striking down the linchpin provision of the health care bill is a reminder that what's at stake is larger than the future of Obamacare. If this law passes constitutional muster, the question is whether the federal government can be constrained by any limits at all. At issue is the personal mandate, the part of the law that says everyone must buy health insurance or pay a penalty (Thomas McClanahan, 12/18).

Detroit Free Press: Michigan Forges Ahead In E-Prescribing
As a percentage of prescriptions written, Michigan ranks second in the nation in terms of prescriptions written electronically. This achievement has been made possible because people in the auto industry put aside their rivalries to work for the common benefit of their employees and the state. E-prescribing is a relatively new practice, but is already an important part of the nation's health care system (Harry Totonis and Mark A. Kelley, 12/20).

San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Health Care Obligations A Ticking Time Bomb
The numbers grow larger, but the problem is the same. San Francisco faces runaway health obligations for its city workers, a financial burden that must be fixed or else layoffs, growing deficits and higher taxes will surely follow (12/20).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Politics Of Health Care
A conservative judge's ruling that a key provision of President Obama's health-care overhaul is unconstitutional hardly spells the death knell being sought by tea-party adherents and Republican leaders for the landmark reform. With his conclusion that Congress exceeded its authority in requiring Americans to buy health insurance, Virginia U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson stands in direct opposition to two other federal judges who upheld the law (12/19).

The Des Moines Register: Beware Of Medical Discount
Take a high unemployment rate. Add millions of uninsured Americans. Throw in a confusing, new health reform law. What do you get? An environment ripe for scam artists peddling health coverage -- specifically so-called "medical discount cards," which promise to reduce costs of care for customers. Such cards have long been problematic. Now some companies offering them may portray the plans as affiliated with federal health reform when they're not (12/20).

The Seattle Times: A Mission To Promote Health And Wellness
One concern is the access our children and youth have to junk food and soda through our own church-sponsored programs. But this is changing and must change. High-fat, high-sugar foods are fine on occasion, but have no place in regular church programs and activities (Garry Tyson and James Kelly, 12/17).

The Kansas City Star/Dallas Morning News: First They Came For My Twinkie
Somewhere along the way, these penny-wise eating skills have been lost amid fast food choices, an array of nutritionally questionable snacking options and, yes, laziness. If it takes some government spending to re-educate people, I'm all for reaping the benefits of a healthier nation (Mary Sanchez, 12/17).

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