KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Dems Vs. Ryan On Entitlement Cuts; Defending Planned Parenthood

McClatchy / The Kansas City Star: Will Democrats Follow Paul Ryan's Lead On Budget Cuts?
Every time Republicans have proposed serious entitlement reform, they've taken a beating. ... But it's far from clear the average voter appreciates what's at stake. Incredibly, 54 percent of those in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll said they didn't believe Medicare cuts were essential to meaningfully trim the deficit. I'd say Republicans have a lot of work to do (E. Thomas McClanahan, 4/13).

Chicago Tribune: Don't Play Mediscare
We hope that Obama gives an honest accounting for Medicare, and wish that Democrats would stop playing the Mediscare game. We hope that he gives brutally honest answers about the crisis in entitlement spending and sets out a plausible agenda that could lead to agreement with the GOP (4/12). 

The Washington Post: On The Budget,The White House Is Late To The Game – Again
The White House decided to hold back and let Ryan go first. The notion was that his plan would look so extreme that it would give Democrats a useful opening to attack, much as Republicans scored points against Democrats during the last election over cuts to Medicare in the new health-care law (Ruth Marcus, 4/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Paul Ryan And His Critics
One point of a document as subversive as Paul Ryan's 2012 budget is to provoke debate, and has it ever. But amid the thoughtful musings about starving orphans and grandma in a snowbank, could his critics at least get their facts right? Let's unpack the distortions ... the key point is that premium support would reduce health costs over time by changing the incentives of the health market (4/13). 

The Wall Street Journal: The Welfare Reform Model For Medicaid
One of the greatest bipartisan policy successes of recent decades was welfare reform, enacted into law by a Republican Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. As House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) has proposed in his budget, those reforms should now be extended to Medicaid and beyond (Peter Ferrara and Phil Kerpen, 4/13).

San Jose Mercury News: Attack On Planned Parenthood Is An Attack On Poor Women
[C]utting off funding to Planned Parenthood actually would cut off millions of women from health care, including cancer screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and, yes, contraception, which, arguably, is the best way to prevent abortions and help low-income women escape poverty. ... But using Planned Parenthood as a symbol and cutting its funding will create massive collateral damage among the poor women who will lose health care. Democratic leaders have to be relentless in pointing this out (4/12).

Denver Post: Guest Commentary: Do We Really Have The Best Health Care In Colorado? 
With the many health care challenges that persist in Colorado, it is discouraging to hear the same old arguments in support of the status quo - that we already have the best health care in the world or that we have universal coverage since anyone can seek care in our emergency departments. … Although we have some of the most sophisticated health facilities and best trained health professionals in the world, there are many obstacles in accessing these resources especially if you are poor, recently laid off or have a chronic condition (James K. Todd M.D., 4/13). 

The New York Times: Giving Doctors Orders 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that health care workers, even doctors and nurses, have a "poor" record of obeying hand-washing rules. ...  I  saw infractions of the rules in the I.C.U. where [my brother] Michael died, but I never called out anyone. I was too busy trying to ingratiate myself with the doctors, nurses and orderlies, irrationally hoping that they'd treat my brother better if they liked us (Maureen Dowd, 4/12).

Kaiser Health News: Letter To The Editor: Setting The Record Straight On RAND's Findings
I take exception to John Goodman's depiction of RAND research in his March 25 Kaiser Health News column entitled, "Is Medicaid Real Insurance?"  Goodman wrote: "A very comprehensive RAND study found that the type of insurance people have -- or whether they are insured at all -- does not affect the quality of care they receive." ... the RAND study was not designed to assess the value of health insurance; it was designed to examine the quality of American healthcare. Health insurance doesn't necessarily buy you better care; it gets you in the door (RAND Health Vice President and Director Arthur Kellermann, MD, 4/12).

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