KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Deconstructing A $65,515 Bill; ‘Puzzling’ Health Reform; Good News On America’s Health

Los Angeles Times: Medical Bills Need Reconstructive Surgery 
Susan Kovinsky underwent outpatient surgery recently at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The procedure, a hysterectomy, began at 10:40 a.m. By 3 p.m., she was on her way home. The hospital bill: $65,514.97 ... the most striking aspect of Kovinsky's bill is that Cedars-Sinai deducted $34,526.39 as a "hospital discount to patient." ... But you have to wonder: If Cedars can still make a profit billing about $31,000 for a laparoscopic hysterectomy, what's that $65,000 initial charge about? (David Lazarus, 3/24). 

Chicago Tribune: Survey Says … One Year Later, Health Care Reform Is Still Puzzling
One year after the health insurance overhaul bill became law, you'd think public opinion would be easy to read. You'd be wrong. ... the battle for public opinion on this issue remains winnable if the Democrats can get their campaign marketing groove on and get their sound bites in order (Eric Zorn, 3/24).  

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Happy Birthday Obamacare
It has certainly been a difficult year. Legal challenges, repeal efforts, and charges that it will destroy American health care with socialism. Has a new law ever had it so tough? The answer is yes. Just look at Obamacare's big brother, Medicare (Robert Field, 3/25). 

Kaiser Health News:  Is Medicaid Real Insurance? 
[I]n just three years, the nation is expected to start insuring about 32 million uninsured people. About half will enroll in Medicaid directly. If the Massachusetts experience is repeated, most of the remainder will be in heavily subsidized private plans that pay providers little more than Medicaid does. That raises an important question: How good is Medicaid?  (John Goodman, 3/25).

The Wall Street Journal: The March Of Health Progress
[A]verage Americans have not seen their living standards fall over the last 30 years, as is often claimed by those who focus only on wage data. Medical breakthroughs have been rapidly democratized and are available to the rich, the middle class and poor alike. ... Yes, American health care is expensive, but the CDC report shows that its benefits include longer and better lives (3/25). 

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