KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Perspectives On Policies And Politics: Medicaid’s Value; Who Now Owns Obamacare?

Opinion writers also offer their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act's stability, the negative systemic possibilities of Medicare for all and a range of other topics.

RealClear Health: Why Medicaid Matters To You
Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have been suspended for the time being, and many Americans are breathing a sigh of relief. But Obamacare is far from safe, and the same is true for one of the key programs – Medicaid – that the law used to expand health care coverage for millions of Americans. (Sharona Hoffman, 8/9)

JAMA Forum: Has Obamacare Become Trumpcare?
With the failure of several bills in the Senate to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the effort to significantly remake the 2010 health law is apparently on hold, if not dead. This is a dramatic turn of events that few anticipated when Republicans took control of the White House and Congress after 7 years of vowing to repeal the ACA. So, now what? (Larry Levitt, 8/8)

Louisville Courier-Journal: We're Ready To Work With McConnell To Improve Health Care
We represent a coalition of faith leaders, economists, health care providers, health advocates, and concerned Kentuckians working to reduce poverty, support working families and improve health outcomes in our Commonwealth. With the recent failure of the Senate’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we write to ask you to take this opportunity to recognize the merits of the ACA and find ways to build on it. (Emily Beauregard, 8/7)

Axios: The ACA Stability "Crisis" In Perspective
The big questions about the stability of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces have focused on how fast premiums will rise, and how many plans will participate. But an equally important question, and the heart of the matter politically, is: How many people will be affected by the sharp premium increases? (Drew Altman, 8/10)

JAMA: Challenges In International Comparison Of Health Care Systems
International comparisons of health system performance exert major influence on the public and on policy makers. These comparisons allow for reflection on and evaluation of national performance, provide empirical bases to drive reform, and serve as a way to promote accountability. Most international comparisons seek to identify high performers, often conceptualized as health systems with the best outcomes or most value for money. Even though these notions seem relatively straightforward, operationalizing them is difficult. There are at least 3 key challenges of conducting international comparisons: drawing the boundaries of the health system, managing limitations of data, and accounting for different values inherent in national systems. Without understanding and addressing these challenges, cross-national comparisons will fail to improve health policy and may lead to misinterpretations and poor policy making. (Irene Papanicolas and Ashish K. Jha, 8/8)

Sacramento Bee: So Few Docs Take Medi-Cal That It Violates Civil Rights
Fully one-third of our population, including seniors, people with disabilities and children, depend on Medi-Cal, the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income Californians. While there is wide coverage, Medi-Cal recipients have worse access to healthcare than Medicaid recipients in almost every other state, judged by the percentage of physicians who accept Medicaid patients. (Lann Lee, 8/9)

Los Angeles Times: Does State Funding For Medi-Cal Discriminate Against The Latinos It Serves?
No question, it would be great if a safety net program could offer healthcare as extensive as private insurance or Medicare. But that may not be possible or practical, and it can’t reasonably be guaranteed by law. The fiscal pressures on the state force lawmakers to balance competing demands, so increasing Medi-Cal provider fees could require cuts in benefits, a reduction in the number of people eligible for coverage, or sacrifices in other state programs. How to strike that balance is a policy judgment, not a legal one. (8/9)

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