KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Prof. Tribe On Health Law Constitutionality; Repeal/Replace Rhetoric; Texas Abortion Law

The New York Times: On Health Care, Justice Will Prevail
[T]he predictions of a partisan 5-4 split rest on a misunderstanding of the court and the Constitution. The constitutionality of the health care law is not one of those novel, one-off issues, like the outcome of the 2000 presidential election, that have at times created the impression of Supreme Court justices as political actors rather than legal analysts. Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce (Laurence H. Tribe, 2/7). 

The Washington Post: Fix Or Repeal?
President Obama has laid a trap for Republicans on health care. Will the GOP walk right into it? ... all the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have to do is pick the least objectionable Republican repeal bills, tweak them slightly and have endangered Democrats introduce them as their own - and watch each one pass with overwhelming GOP support (Marc Thiessen, 2/7). 

McClatchy / The Seattle Times: No GOP Prescription For Health Care
Health insurance is a basic economic issue for all Americans, not just the 30 million people without coverage. Republican efforts to turn repeal of the Affordable Care Act into political theater exemplify the party's detachment from ordinary lives in troubled times. Easy assumptions about access to affordable care disappeared along with jobs in the recession. Medical problems have no respect for employment or party status (Lance Dickie, 2/7).  

Kaiser Health News: '1099' Repeal Speaks Volumes About ObamaCare
[T]he Obama administration is sprinting to implement ObamaCare in spite of a federal court having struck down the law as unconstitutional. As that and similar cases work their way toward the Supreme Court, the White House needs to get some concentrated interest groups hooked on ObamaCare's subsidies – fast (Michael Cannon, 2/7). 

The Des Moines Register: How Iowa Could Repair Broken Mental Health System
Iowa's behavioral health system is in critical condition. Patients in need of services wait too long for appointments or for beds in treatment facilities. Left on their own, these Iowans often enter the system through hospital emergency rooms or law enforcement. Coupled with a fractured delivery structure that does not provide uniform access or services to citizens in different parts of the state, mental health care in Iowa is tenuous, at best (Kirk Norris, 2/8). 

The Des Moines Register: Iowans Want Health Care Security; Don't Take It Away
Republicans don't seem to get it. Iowans want better health care, and they are not going to settle for political chatter now that the election is over. Iowans want health care security, and Democrats will not allow Republicans to take it away from them (State Sen. Jack Hatch, 2/7). 

Houston Chronicle: A Look At Sonogram 'Emergency'
Imagine being informed by the doctor that, at least two hours before the [abortion], the government has required him to perform a sonogram. ... And even if you try to look away, the doctor reminds you that the government also requires him to turn up the volume so that, if there is a heartbeat, you'll be forced to listen. Now imagine this cruel, invasive mandate isn't coming from the federal government, but from Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick and the state of Texas, the land of limited government and individual rights, a place where many of Patrick's own party are still howling about socialist government overreach of the federal health care law (Lisa Falkenberg, 2/7). 

Star Tribune: Rationing Is Not The Only Alternative
As a physician, I agree that we must get health care costs down if we're going to achieve universal coverage, but I strongly disagree that the only way to do it is to ration. There is another viable and proven option: a single-payer or regulated multipayer health care system, such as exists in every nation in the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development except the United States and Mexico (Dr. Ralph S. Bovard, 2/7). 

The Baltimore Sun: Orthopedist-Owned MRIs A Recipe For Soaring Costs
The United States is the No. 1 prescriber of MRI scans, expensive radiological procedures used as an alternative to X-rays. This dubious distinction is one reason American health care is so expensive. Maryland is No. 2 in the rate of MRI tests performed in the United States, an even more alarming accomplishment that inflates medical costs for residents and helps keep health-insurance premiums heading steadily upward. A group of Maryland orthopedists and other doctors wants to make sure things stay that way (Jay Hancock, 2/8). 

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