KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Compromises On Fixing Medicare?; ‘Progress’ On AIDS; Working Families Falling Behind

Politico: Give Patients Control Of Health Care
Fixing Medicare should not compromise patient care. The president's health care bill created the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board. This panel of unelected bureaucrats, whose sole purpose is to decide whether to offer Medicare benefits based on a budget, could lead to government rationing of care (Rep. Phil Roe, 6/19).

CNN Money: Why Can't We Fix Medicare Once And For All? 
One way to fix it is the Brute Force approach. That's the concept on which Medicare was built. The federal government dictates which services are covered and how much will be paid to doctors, hospitals, and others for everything they do. ... How well has the Brute Force approach worked? "It never works," says Mark McClellan, former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Geoff Colvin, 6/20).

The New York Times: Economic View: Seriously, Some Consensus About Health Care
We are entering the season of polarization. ... But beneath this veneer of partisanship lie a few fundamental agreements. Consider health care, which will be at the center of the political debate. Here are four aspects of the issue in which Republicans and Democrats have stumbled into consensus (N. Gregory Mankiw, 6/18). 

The Wall Street Journal: The Accountable Care Fiasco 
The ACO concept is well-meaning, and we hope it works, but we suspect it will go the way of diagnostic-related groups, HMOs, the sustainable growth rate, and every other top-down government plan to cut health spending since the 1970s. We also hope ACOs work because if they don't, the liberal fallback to cut costs are harsher price controls and the political rationing of care. Seniors will wish they had Paul Ryan's choices (6/19). 

iWatch News: Analysis: Cost Of Health Coverage Laves Behind
If you haven't gotten much of a raise lately, it's probably because the extra money that might have been put in your paycheck instead went to your health insurer if you are enrolled in an employer-sponsored plan (Wendell Potter, 6/20).

Kaiser Health News: Low –Income Families' Rx For Health Reform (Guest Opinion) 
The healthcare system, particularly the primary care providers currently caring for low-income patients, must prepare for a world of expanded coverage and expanded choice. Their patients tell us they will vote with their feet to have a regular personal doctor and to access care in a facility with perceived high quality (Peter Long and Ian Morrison, 6/19).

The Washington Post: Real Progress In The Fight Against HIV/AIDS
The District's efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic are working. Last week's release of the D.C. Department of Health's annual report on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases is the latest evidence of the effectiveness of the city's response. Since 2006, the District has nearly tripled the number of publicly supported HIV tests each year - from 40,000 to 110,000. ... Our prevention and treatment programs, which include a revamped school health curriculum, are aggressive, innovative and effective (David Catania, 6/17).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker's Medicaid Failures
In his March 1 budget message, Republican Gov. Scott Walker said this about the Medicaid program that one in five Wisconsin residents now rely on for health care: ... "(T)he state is facing an unsustainable budget challenge. A challenge in need of a serious and long-term solution." But the budget drafted by the Republican-led Legislature doesn't include any "serious and long-term solution" (Steven Walter, 6/18).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Georgia Hospitals Focused On Quality
In last Sunday's AJC article, "When the treatment makes people sick," readers were given a thorough look at the challenges associated with patient care. But unfortunately they didn't get the whole picture when it comes to solutions. ... the Georgia hospital community is investing considerable time and resources to completely eliminate any preventable errors or infections (Joseph Parker, 6/17).

The Miami Herald: Florida Must Stay Vigilant And Close Abusive Homes
Finally, Florida regulators are doing their jobs to protect the most vulnerable. The Agency for Health Care Administration seems to have stepped up the state's enforcement of assisted-living facilities that care for elderly and disabled patients. ... Even though stopping Medicaid payments within the next month is warranted, stronger action still could be taken (6/18).

Dallas Morning News: Legislature's Health Care Proposal Could Harm Too Many
For reasons that make no apparent sense, the Texas House and Senate have decided to match up one cutting-edge health care concept with a particularly regressive one (6/17). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.