KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s Opinions And Editorials

What My Amendment Won't Do The New York Times
The language in our amendment is completely consistent with the Hyde Amendment, which in the 33 years since its passage has done nothing to inhibit private health insurers from offering abortion coverage. There is no reason to believe that a continuation of this policy would suddenly create undue hardship for the insurance industry - or for those who wish to use their private insurance to pay for an abortion (Rep. Bart Stupak, 12/8).

Will Abortion Derail Healthcare Reform? Los Angeles Times
Whatever the fallout from Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson's failed attempt to insert new abortion restrictions into the Senate's healthcare package, it appears increasingly likely that reform will be made hostage to this most divisive of issues. In the process, it also appears that America's Catholic bishops, who have supported some form of government health insurance as a fundamental right for nearly a century, are determined to transform themselves into a single-issue constituency. If that occurs, it will constitute a transformation almost as historic as passage of universal healthcare reform (Tim Rutten, 12/9). 

South Florida Is Scam Capital The Miami Herald
Thanks to an aggressive federal push to catch the fraud in medical equipment sales, HIV infusion therapy and fake diabetes treatments, dozens of scammers have been prosecuted the past two years in South Florida. But more can be done, starting with a new Medicare policy in January that will cap payments to home-health agencies treating diabetics to 10 percent of the bill for such services (12/9).

Health Reform's Heavy Lifting The Washington Post
As the Senate weighed whether to proceed to debate on health-care reform, we hoped lawmakers would take up an imperfect measure and improve it. So far they've done one but not the other (12/9).

Cancer Death Rates Are Down, But Watch Out If Breast Cancer Screening Falls Off U.S. News & World Report
The breast-cancer screening saga points to the kind of struggles that will be rampant as comparative-effectiveness studies-whether of mammograms, testing for prostate cancer, or a new drug or procedure for heart failure-are translated into medical decisions by Uncle Sam, who will also be determining what everyone's health insurance will and won't cover. Most of these decisions will be clear, based on good science and a consensus of opinion, but some will struggle in the gray zone where legitimate disagreements can run hot (Bernadine Healy, 12/8).

The Medicaid Nuclear Option The National Review 
Buried amid the bill's technical gobbledygook are several provisions that, acting in concert, could induce many, if not most, states to terminate their Medicaid programs and stick Uncle Sam with the full cost of providing health care to some 60 million low-income Americans.  (Michael G. Franc, 12/9). 

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