KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s Op-Eds: Critiques Of ‘Obamacare,’ Skyrocketing Brand Name Drug Prices, Pay-for-Performance

Voters on ObamaCare: Informed and Opposed The Wall Street Journal
People are less negative about some of the specifics than they are about the package as a whole. But does this imply that those who understand the law like it better?... Despite their political views, the well-informed share a strong opposition to the new law. They advocate repeal 56/25; oppose the individual mandate 73/13; and oppose the employer mandate 52/36. Such numbers do not bode well for the administration's claims that to know reform is to like it (David Brady, Daniel Kessler, and Douglas Rivers, 10/15).

A Glimpse Of The Future Under ObamaCare AOL News 
It expands coverage not by making insurance more affordable but by putting millions of people on the government dole -- of the 34 million uninsured expected to obtain coverage, about 20 million will be dropped into Medicaid. ... Obamacare puts the government at the center of the health care marketplace. Americans need only look to the TSA to see how frustrating and inefficient their health sector is about to become (Sally C. Pipes, 10/15).

Basing Pay-for-Performance On Outcomes The New York Times 
[M]easuring performance by clinical outcome is easier said than done. It would be very difficult, for example, to isolate the incremental contribution to a change in one patient's health made by an individual physician. ... More headway, however, can made trying to assess an individual physician's or hospital's outcome-based average performance for a larger number of patients (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 10/15).

There's Nothing Misleading About Skyrocketing Brand Name Drug Prices The Hill
For years, AARP has been fighting to lower prescription drug costs and create more competition in the marketplace. We strongly supported the closure of Medicare's doughnut hole in the health care law, but more must be done to address these enormous price increases. We've called on lawmakers to allow for the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs from abroad, bring generic versions of biologic drugs to market faster and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices directly with drug makers (John Rother, 10/14).

Family's Vaccine Claim Is Not Sustainable The Washington Post 
The Supreme Court heard arguments this week from a couple who believe that their then-6-month-old daughter began experiencing seizures after being given Wyeth's diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) vaccine. ... Vaccine-related injuries are heartbreaking, and the FDA has the power to pull unnecessarily dangerous vaccines off the market. Opening the door to more lawsuits is neither legally compelled nor wise public policy (10/15).

The Doctor Is In (But Shouldn't Be) The New York Times
Doctors who are sick have continued for generations to see their patients. … For many doctors and other health care professionals, such self-sacrifice is proof of their dedication and professionalism. Moreover, in what are often precariously balanced hospitals  and practices, one individual's absence can inflict tremendous stress upon others. … A report in the current issue of The Journal of General Internal Medicine … argue(s) … the decision to continue working while sick contradicts a core ethical principle of medicine: primum non nocere, or "First, do no harm"  (Pauline W. Chen, 10/14). 

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