KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Obama’s ‘Sin Of Omission;’ Dems’ Panic Grows Over Health Law Woes; Men Should Pay For Maternity Care

The Washington Post: The Sin Of Omission In Obamacare 
"The big lie," as the president’s broken Obamacare promise is now known, was that everyone could keep his or her doctor and insurance policy under the ACA. No one, Americans were justified in inferring, would be remotely inconvenienced by Obamacare. Instead, the reality is well-known: Millions are expected to lose their insurance policies, while others will see their premiums skyrocket. It is still jarring to my adult psyche to impugn another, especially the president of the United States, as a liar, so I won't. But it is not possible to pretend that the American people have been told the truth. Nor is it possible to pretend that Barack Obama has been completely honest (Kathleen Parker, 11/5). 

Politico: Democrats Now See Why Tea Party Wants To Delay Obamacare
Obamacare is unworkable, and Democrats are finally beginning to acknowledge that the Tea Party Patriots were right all along. The catastrophic failure of the Obamacare website looms like a metaphor for the destructive nature of the law itself. Not being able to log on to is one thing. Horrified Americans discovering that their health insurance is being canceled is another thing entirely — it put a lie to the promise of Obamacare itself (Jenny Beth Martin, 11/5).

USA Today: Obama Health Lie Freaks Dems
Many of the president's supporters are in barely concealed panic over the fact that he didn't tell the truth when he was selling the Affordable Care Act. In an oft-repeated vow, he told the country that "if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." This was, by any common-sense measure, a lie. It was a lie because President Obama understood that one of the central aims of the Affordable Care Act was to squeeze out the individual insurance market (and the small business market), forcing those Americans on to the exchanges. You can't force people out of one insurance product and into another while simultaneously letting them keep their plan (Jonah Goldberg, 11/5).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Should Just Say 'I Was Wrong' On Health Insurance Pledge
Denis Healey, a former Labor Party leader and high-ranking official in Britain, famously said on the floor of Parliament in 1983, "The first law of holes is that when one is in a hole, one should stop digging." Too bad no one in the Obama administration seems to have taken that piece of advice to heart (Jon Healey, 11/5).

The Washington Post: In Maryland Speech, Obama Promised No Changes To Individual Health Plans
As the news of insurance cancellation notices continues to grab headlines, the White House and supporters have tried to pretend that President Obama never promised that Americans could keep their existing health plans. The president himself has suddenly claimed that he told people there would be exceptions to his promise — too bad that he didn't tell people there would be exceptions. And the president kept making that promise even after his own Department of Health and Human Services published predictions in the Federal Register acknowledging that as many as 10 million Americans will have their existing coverage cancelled (Todd Eberly, 11/5).

The New Republic: Obamacare Makes Men Pay For Maternity Care. Good!
Stories of real-life Obamacare “rate shock” have revived an old debate. Previously, health insurers could charge women higher premiums than they charged men. Insurers could also exclude maternity benefits. Obamacare prohibits those practices and conservatives are angry. Why should men have to pay higher insurance prices for services they will never use directly? ... here, for the men unhappy about this change, are four reasons all policies should cover maternity care and other women's health services—even if it makes those policies more expensive (Jonathan Cohn, 11/5).

The New York Times' Economix: In The Death Spiral We Trust
The insurance-market death spiral makes sense in theory, but economists do not really know if, and how often, it is a practical consideration in real-world health insurance markets (Casey B. Mulligan, 11/6).

And on other issues -

Bloomberg: There's A Better Way To Pay Doctors
Congress may soon vote on a bill changing how, and how much, Medicare pays doctors. That's a good idea -- so long as taxpayers benefit, too. ... the measure would help Medicare catch up with a shift that private health insurers have already started: changing the way doctors are paid, by emphasizing the quality and cost of care over quantity of services. This makes sense (11/5).

The New York Times: Approving, And Suspending, A Dangerous Drug
The Food and Drug Administration made the appropriate call last week when it suspended sales of a promising leukemia drug for desperately ill patients that turned out to be unexpectedly dangerous. About 2,000 people have taken the drug to treat a relatively uncommon form of leukemia that kills about 600 Americans each year (11/5).

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