KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Did Sen. Cruz Get Early Benefits From Canadian Health Care?; Medicaid Expansion Won’t Work If Doctors Don’t Accept Patients

Los Angeles Times: Did Ted Cruz, The Canadian, Get The Kind Of Healthcare He Now Scorns?
Quite without realizing it, apparently, the location of Cruz's birth automatically made him a citizen of our socialist (in healthcare, at least) neighbor to the north. Did his mother receive excellent free medical care under Canada’s single-payer healthcare system when her baby was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1970? Did little Ted, who moved back to the United States with his Cuban-born father and American-born mother when he was 4, get free vaccinations and pediatric care from his Canadian doctors? We'll probably never know (Robin Abcarian, 8/20).

The New York Times: They Can't Handle The Health Care Truth
At the most fundamental level, you can’t guarantee adequate health care to everyone unless the people who don’t need help right now — the young, healthy, and affluent — are induced, one way or another, to contribute to the care of those who do need help. You can do this purely with taxes, via a single-payer system (and maybe even by having the government act as provider), or you can do it, Swiss or Massachusetts style, via a combination of regulation, taxes, and subsidies. But some way of corralling the lucky healthy into contributing is necessary. For the vast majority of this group, this is still a good deal (Paul Krugman, 8/20). 

The New York Times: Republicans Retreat From A Shutdown
Whether out of pure self-preservation or a sudden attack of common sense, a growing group of Republicans is saying no to the strident extremists who want to shut down the government this fall if health care reform is allowed to proceed. "I think it's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of," Senator Richard Burr, a Republican of North Carolina, said recently. He and others in his party are pushing back hard against the idea. ... That doesn't mean, however, that Republicans are out of foolish ideas. Virtually every one of the party's elected officials takes it as an article of faith that health care reform must be stopped, and many are still looking for other ways besides a shutdown to make sure the uninsured remain that way (8/20). 

The Washington Post: Wonkbook: Newt Gingrich Explains How The GOP’s Obamacare Tactics Backfired
The opening session of the Republican National Committee’s Boston confab featured ex-speaker Newt Gingrich scolding his fellow Republicans on their failure to come through on the “replace” side of “repeal-and-replace.” ... That’s a task Republicans have clearly failed at. One of the more interesting polling wrinkles of the past few years is that the persistent unpopularity of the Democrats’ signature health-care initiative hasn’t helped the GOP take the lead on the broader issue. A recent poll by the Morning Consult found a 10 percent edge for Democrats on health care. Even the conservative polling group Rasmussen continues to find a Democratic edge. The public doesn’t like what the Democrats did. But they really don’t like what they think the Republicans will do (Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, 8/20).

Forbes: Attention Medicaid Patients: The Doctor Won't Be Seeing You
I leave you with a simple take-home point: health care coverage does not equate with access to healthcare. Physicians have to be willing to see patients. And if Medicaid does not pay well enough to incentivize physicians to see Medicaid patients, or if it is too slow to pay off claims, or if some other barrier stands in the way of helping these patients receive needed medical care—then we need to address those barriers. It is no use to obtain healthcare coverage that doesn’t get you healthcare (Peter Ubel, 8/21). 

The Washington Post: Getting Ready For Obamacare
A marketplace like no other is opening soon. Beginning Oct. 1, people without health insurance will be able to shop for what is promised to be affordable coverage (Michelle Singletary, 8/20). 

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Biggest Health Risk Facing Colorado’s Youth Is How Many Are Uninsured
In fact, according to the Colorado Health Institute, about 44,000 of our 12- to 17-year-olds are uninsured, which places us between 38th and 42nd (depending on the data source) in the country for our rate of uninsured young people. Given the significant availability of health insurance for children under 18, it is unacceptable to be so far behind (Denali Johnson, 8/20).

The New York Times: The AIDS Epidemic Can Be Ended
While the debate about gay rights in the West has shifted to the rights of same sex couples to marry, these recent events bring back to light the cruel reality that in many countries people who are openly homosexual or suspected of being homosexual are still being thrown in jail for years or even facing death sentences. It beggars belief that in sub-Saharan Africa homosexuality remains illegal in 38 countries (Bertrand Audoin, 8/20). 

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