KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Thinking About Policy: Mapping The ‘Supposed’ Obamacare ‘Implosion’; Modernizing Medicaid Waiver Process

Opinion writers offer their takes on a variety of health policy topics, from the continuing analysis of where the Affordable Care Act stands to issues related to Medicare for all and single-payer health systems.

Boston Globe: The GOP’s Downward Spiral
In its relentless efforts to delegitimize Barack Obama, the GOP further divided the country and eroded its own capacity to govern. ... Inevitably, this nihilism bred the fiasco of the party’s fake crusade against Obamacare — seven years of propaganda bereft of program. (Richard North Patterson, 8/22)

Morning Consult: Time to Modernize Medicaid’s Broken Waiver Process
For all the attention on various ways to improve Medicaid’s finances and sustainability in recent months, another key area of Medicaid policy that deserves focus is improving the state waiver process. With all the recent calls for bipartisanship, this should be an area where Democrats and Republicans can work together to improve the program. ... Despite the prevalence and normalcy of Medicaid waivers, the process for states obtaining waivers is needlessly long, cumbersome, and uncertain. (Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), 8/22)

The Des Moines Register: Iowans' Health Insurance Is In Trump's Hands
When it comes to the fate of the Affordable Care Act, Iowans have been watching Congress. They should also be watching the Trump administration. Unlike President Barack Obama, who wanted the law to succeed, the current president said he would “let Obamacare fail.” He and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price can do much to ensure it does. And Iowans are positioned to feel disproportionate pain. (8/21)

Fortune: Why Medicare-For-All Is Good For Business
The ongoing failure of our health care system is directly attributable to the fact that it is largely designed not to provide quality care in a cost-effective way, but to make maximum profits for health insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical equipment suppliers. That has got to change. We need to guarantee health care for all. We need to do it in a cost-effective way. We need a Medicare-for-all health care system in the U.S. Let’s be clear. Not only is our dysfunctional health care system causing unnecessary suffering and financial stress for millions of low- and middle-income families, it is also having a very negative impact on our economy and the business community—especially small- and medium-sized companies. (Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), 8/21)

The Atlantic: Are You Sure You Want Single Payer?
French women supposedly don’t get fat, and in the minds of many Americans, they also don’t get stuck with très gros medical bills. There’s long been a dream among some American progressives to truly live as the “Europeans” do and have single-payer health care. Republicans’ failure—so far—to repeal and replace Obamacare has breathed new life into the single-payer dream. In June, the majority of Americans told Pew that the government has the responsibility to ensure health coverage for everyone, and 33 percent say this should take the form of a single government program. The majority of Democrats, in that poll, supported single payer. A June poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation even found that a slim majority of all Americans favor single payer. (Olga Khazan, 8/21)

Forbes: The False Promise Of 'Medicaid For All'
"Medicaid for All" has suddenly become the darling of the health reform crowd. Nevada almost became the first state in the nation to adopt Medicaid for All this year -- until Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed the plan in June. Other states, including Massachusetts and Minnesota, are looking into it. ... This argument for "Medicaid for All" might sound compelling. But Medicaid provides low-quality care to its current beneficiaries, who are generally poor and among the most vulnerable in society, at extremely high cost to taxpayers. Expanding it would only exacerbate its problems. (Sally Pipes, 8/21)

The Health Care Blog: Tackle The Next Wave Of Healthcare Consumerism
Value-based healthcare initiatives are great, but on their own won’t be enough to bend the healthcare cost curve. The focus must move—and move quickly—from treating people who are sick to helping them get and stay healthy. The only way that’s going to happen is by getting patients and populations motivated to do the right things early instead of desperate things late. The New Consumer World of Tools and Health Models Health plans, in particular, have shifted responsibility onto consumers. (8/21)

Los Angeles Times: Lawmakers, Activists Say Nursing-Home Residents Must Have Right To Sue
Healthcare, tax reform and the debt ceiling probably will be among the highest-profile issues when Congress returns from a monthlong recess Sept. 5. But Democratic lawmakers and consumer advocates already have served notice that they’re also going to keep a spotlight on protecting people’s right to sue nursing homes for neglect or abuse of elderly patients. (David Lazarus, 8/22)

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