KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: WSJ Suggests Norquist ‘Give Some Ground’ On Fiscal Cliff Talks; Voters Aren’t Buying GOP Obstruction On Health Law

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans And The Tax Pledge
The fact is that Republicans and (Grover) Norquist both face a new political reality on taxes. President Obama's re-election means that taxes for upper-income earners are going up one way or another. The Bush rates expire on December 31 unless Mr. Obama signs an extension, and he shows no inclination to do so. ... This is where Mr. Norquist can give some ground. If taxes are going up anyway because the Bush rates expire, and Republicans can stop them from going up as much as they otherwise would, then pledge-takers deserve some credit for that. ... Speaker John Boehner deserves some leeway to try to mitigate the damage by negotiating a larger tax reform. All the more so if Mr. Boehner can also get Mr. Obama to agree to significant spending and entitlement reform. This means more than the usual suspects of cuts to doctors and hospitals and means-testing benefits for the affluent (11/26).

The Washington Post: Breaking Grover Norquist's Anti-Tax Pledge
Republicans who signed the pledge — and who now find themselves in a box — have only themselves to blame. To boost their own political fortunes, they lied to the voters. They pretended it was possible to provide the services that Americans need and want without collecting sufficient revenue. They sold the bogus promise of not just a free lunch, but a free breakfast and supper, too. This is a big, complicated country that faces big, complicated challenges. There are no simple, one-sentence solutions (Eugene Robinson, 11/26).

The Hill: In Denial On Health Reform
Four weeks after a decisive election victory for President Obama, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and much of the GOP are still suffering from a severe case of Romnesia. The symptoms initially seemed to subside when Boehner admitted to ABC news that the Affordable Care Act is the "law of the land" in a post-election interview, only to return shortly thereafter as a spokesman "corrected" the Speaker’s comments by restating support for repealing the healthcare reform law. Boehner followed up with an op-ed in The Cincinnati Enquirer with new GOP talking points renaming obstructive efforts as "oversight of the executive branch." …The inability to accept the validity of certain polls has been a key symptom of Romnesia. Yet the GOP does seem to recognize its obstruction effort is in a race against the clock; recent polls show the more Americans learn about the Affordable Care Act, the more they like it, and support for repeal is declining (Karen Finney, 11/26).

The Washington Post: Santorum's New Cause: Oposing The Disabled
(Former Republican Sen. Rick) Santorum, joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), declared his wish that the Senate reject the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities — a human rights treaty negotiated during George W. Bush's administration and ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Saudi Arabia. The former presidential candidate pronounced his "grave concerns" about the treaty, which forbids discrimination against people with AIDS, who are blind, who use wheelchairs and the like. "This is a direct assault on us," he declared at a news conference (Dana Milbank, 11/26). 

WBUR: CommonHealth: When The Full Sticker Shock Of Health Coverage Hits Our Family
I have always carried the health insurance — a very robust PPO (“paid provider option”) family plan that was largely subsidized by my employer. The direct cost to me (paid bi-weekly on a pre-tax basis) was roughly $400 a month. In discussing my career departure with my husband, we knew that the monthly cost for a similar plan purchased through the Health Connector (the Massachusetts state agency that acts as a vehicle to allow uninsured residents to purchase health insurance through local health insurance companies) would likely be higher. Much higher (Sara Cushing, 11/26).

The Lund Report: We Can Improve Healthcare By Exchanging Ideas
If you had five minutes with the Governor to talk healthcare, what would you say? That’s the question we asked 17 healthcare, business, civic and legal executives from across four states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska The response, collected in a new book titled "Dear Governor: About The State Of Reform," offers readers perhaps the most sophisticated level of discussion and analysis of state healthcare policy in the northwest (DJ Wilson, 11/26).

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