KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: The Doctor Is In — At Walmart; A ‘Hole’ In The Halbig Strategy

Bloomberg: Welcome To Wal-Mart, The Doctor Will See You Now
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to disrupt another mass market: health care. The company is piloting what it hopes will be a broad network of primary-care clinics. ... A doctor’s visit at one of its primary-care clinics costs just $40, in cash .... This model makes a lot of sense to me. Doctor’s offices are, as the Affordable Care Act’s designers frequently stressed, remarkably inefficient compared to most of the rest of the economy. There are a lot of efficiencies that can be brought to the market by a big company employing staff physicians and centrally coordinating things such as purchasing and information technology (Megan McArdle, 8/8).

Politico: Another Hole In The Halbig Verdict
It is no secret that the people bringing the challenge to the Obamacare subsidies in the Halbig and King cases ... are some of the same people who brought the 2012 constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act before the high court. ... What's less known, however, is that in the 2012 constitutional case, these same challengers filed briefs describing Obamacare to the court in precisely the way they now say the statute cannot possibly be read. ... the challengers' 2012 statements are relevant as a legal matter because what the government has to prove to win—as a matter of black-letter law under the Chevron doctrine -- is that the statute is ambiguous (Abbe R. Gluck, 8/10).

The New York Times: A Judge Rules For Alabama Women On Abortion
In large parts of the country, women's access to safe and legal abortion care is increasingly coming to depend on the willingness of judges to rigorously examine and reject new (and medically unnecessary) restrictions imposed by Republican legislatures (8/10). 

Los Angeles Times: The Latest To Play The 'Male War Against Women' Game
[E]very time the three female justices vote as a bloc to dissent against a majority opinion in which the five conservative justices vote as a bloc -- such as, oh, say, the contentious 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision of June 30 -- liberals play a game called the "Male War Against Women." ... The latest to play the game is none other than [Justice Ruth Bader] Ginsburg herself, author of a 35-page dissenting opinion in Hobby Lobby in which she maintained that the craft chain’s owners had “no constitutional right to foist [their religious beliefs on abortion] on the hundreds and hundreds of women" working for them (Charlotte Allen, 8/8).

The New York Times: Controlling The Ebola Epidemic
On Friday, the World Health Organization formally declared an international public health emergency in response to what its director general, Dr. Margaret Chan, called "the largest, most severe, most complex outbreak" of the deadly Ebola virus "in the nearly four-decade history of the disease." And what has the world done in those 40 years to defend against the disease? Not much. Apart from inflicting a staggering human toll, the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa has laid bare how unprepared the United States and other advanced countries are to protect and treat thousands of Africans whose lives are threatened by an extremely dangerous virus for which there is no cure (8/10). 

The Wall Street Journal: Private Money Pays Off For Medicine
Twenty-six years ago, Ted Stanley found his son, Jonathan, in a straitjacket in a locked psychiatric ward in Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital. The college junior had torn frantically through city streets for three days, convinced that secret agents were chasing him. Diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder, Jonathan was successfully treated with lithium and went on to lead a normal life, becoming a lawyer and mental-health advocate. Most of the 13 million Americans currently suffering from severe mental illnesses are not as lucky in finding effective treatment (Eric S. Lander and Louis V. Gerstner Jr., 8/10). 

The New York Times' Upshot blog: Can Family Leave Policies Be Too Generous? It Seems So
When measured by who holds a job, American women are falling behind women in other developed countries. Yet the American women who are working tend to have more high-achieving careers. Within that paradox lies a puzzle about how to shape maternity leave. The United States is the only country besides Papua New Guinea that mandates maternity leave but does not require that it be paid. ... Economists say paid leave is essential to making it possible for women to work. Beyond benefiting babies and families, it helps the economy by increasing the chances that women continue to work, even years later. ... But it turns out that long paid leaves can also hold back women. Researchers are finding that even as family leave boosts labor force participation by women, it can have negative effects on their job opportunities (Claire Cain Miller, 8/9).

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