KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Confronting ‘Giant’ Medicare Choices; First Lady’s Anti-Obesity Campaign; Calif. Insurance Rules

The New York Times: Where Wisdom Lives
Sometimes life presents you with a basic philosophical choice. Americans are going to have to confront a giant one over the next several years. It starts in the wonky world of Medicare.  ... Democrats have much greater faith in centralized expertise. ... [Republicans] have much greater faith in the decentralized discovery process of the market (David Brooks, 6/6). 

The Washington Post: The Hard Truth About Health Care
Everyone in Washington claims to want the same thing lately: a "serious conversation" about health-care costs. So let's have one. ... I want to tell you about a graph. ... what it shows is that we've failed. Failed to control costs. Failed to restrain the growth of government. And it shows something else, too: Where we've failed, others have succeeded (Ezra Klein, 6/6).

Kaiser Health News: Ryan's Unintended Consequences (Guest Opinion) 
Offering beneficiaries the same voucher, no matter where they live, would expose the egregious amount of money Medicare wastes in many parts of the country. ... And it doesn't look as if Medicare recipients in these high-spending areas are getting better care, or more effective care. They are simply getting a lot of extra care they do not need -- and Medicare foots the bill (Shannon Brownlee and Eric Schultz, 6/6). 

The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare's Next Constitutional Challenges 
[As] the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals prepares to hear Florida v. United States, a second issue is of equal importance: Was District Court Judge Roger Vinson correct to rule that the federal government can force states to expand their Medicaid programs as a precondition for continuing to receive matching federal funds for the program? (Richard A. Epstein and Mario Loyola, 6/7). 

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Won't Accept Automatic Credit Card Payments Anymore
Most businesses are eager to have people pay their monthly bills with automatic credit card payments. ... So why is health insurance heavyweight Anthem Blue Cross telling members it will no longer allow them to do this - at least not without a hefty fee? ... Seriously, health insurers don't think they get enough bad press already?  (David Lazarus, 6/7).

San Francisco Chronicle: Blue Shield Will Cap Profits
At Blue Shield of California, we believe we have an obligation to tighten our budget, just like everyone else.  That's why we are announcing a new commitment to help our customers get the health care they need at a price they can better afford. ... We will limit our margins, provide credits to our customers, invest in the community and continue to look for ways to help individuals keep and afford their health care. We know that this explanation provides little comfort to those who received large increases. But it's a good faith effort to rise to the affordability challenge (Bruce Bodaken, 6/7).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Pro & Con: Is First Lady Michelle Obama's Anti-Obesity Campaign Working?
Yes. Personal responsibility is key to effort that promotes livable diets. ... the first lady's efforts have been mostly reasonable and well-grounded. ... Some activists see industry as the enemy. But instead of threatening industry, Obama understands that in our free society it is appropriate for her to offer a carrot rather than threaten with a stick. And indeed, retailers are offering healthier fare (Jeff Stier, 6/6).

No. The one-year anniversary of the first lady's Let's Move campaign to "end childhood obesity within a generation" was marked by celebratory speeches and fanfare - much of it generated by the White House itself. ... To win this battle, we need our political leaders to take on seriously the politics of marketing junk-food to our children (Michele Simon, 6/6).

KQED: That's Cold
Let's call him Frank. Thirty-seven, poor, black, schizophrenic, dying from an aggressive form of cancer. He can't get pain medications. He's on MediCal. I'm a mental health worker and I try my best to explain why he can't get his pain medications. But maybe I'm the one who really doesn't understand and Frank does. His response: "That's cold" (Judy Quittman, 6/6). 

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