KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Basic Benefits Package Budget Buster?; Colorado CHIP Cuts; Pharma’s Public Image

Fortune: How Rich Health Care Mandates Could Bust The Budget
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aims for a delicate balance that even its champions acknowledge as highly challenging: Making medical services affordable for tens of millions of uninsured Americans, and yet restraining the expenditures needed to vastly expand coverage. ... To grasp why the reform bill (PPACA) risks missing both goals -- and why the measure's margin for error is so perilously narrow -- it's crucial to follow the debate over its central provision, what it calls the "Essential Health Benefits" package  (Shawn Tully, 5/4).

The Washington Post: Mission Possible: Getting To Yes On The Budget
I don't know about you, but the prospect of an endless summer of budget posturing and brinksmanship is probably more than I can take. Can't we just hand this whole thing over to the Navy SEALs? ... Given the political and economic realities, it's pretty clear how it's going to play out: ... Medicare and Medicaid spending will be capped at a growth rate of GDP plus 1 percent per year per average beneficiary. Cuts would take effect automatically if Congress fails to act (Steven Pearlstein, 5/3). 

Philadelphia Inquirer: How Pharma Can Improve Its Public Image
Shortly before and after last fall's Congressional elections, the industry's lobbying group made it clear that they intend to terminate their short-lived cooperation with the Obama administration's health care efforts and return to their historical support for Republicans. That's unfortunate because if pharma opposes the Republican budget proposals, especially the one from Congressman Paul Ryan, the industry can help mitigate its tattered public image (Daniel Hoffman, 5/4). 

Denver Post: Guest Commentary: Senate Bill 213 Blocks Access To CHP+
Today, 67,820 Colorado kids get their health insurance through the Child Health Plan Plus or CHP+, the state's safety net health plan that serves kids up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level -- about $55,000 in annual income for a family of four. These are the children of our teachers, our firefighters and our small business owners. These are the children of hard working, tax paying parents who rely on this support because health care coverage on the private market is out of reach. Senate Bill 213, which was introduced with the package of bills intended to balance the state budget for next year, would impose new monthly premiums for some of the children served by the CHP+ program. This is a bad idea (Chris Watney, Len Dryer, and Dr. Steve Federico, 5/4). 

Los Angeles Times: Curing The State's Medical Regulation System
The Medical Board is the state agency charged with protecting patients through "vigorous, objective enforcement" of physician licensing and disciplinary laws. Its role is to investigate complaints and to force underperforming doctors out of business. It's a failed regulator. California's board consistently ranks near the bottom of all such bodies in the country when measured by the number of serious disciplinary actions it imposes - license revocations, surrenders, suspensions and probations - as a percentage of all doctors licensed in the state (Michael Hiltzik, 5/4).

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