KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Researchers See Potential To Control HIV Pandemic; The ‘Ceaseless Attacks’ On Women’s Reproductive Health

New England Journal of Medicine: The Beginning Of The End Of AIDS?
We are at a moment of extraordinary optimism in the response to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A series of scientific breakthroughs ... have the potential to markedly expand the available preventive tools. There is evidence of the first cure of an HIV-infected person. And most important, the finding that early initiation of antiretroviral therapy can both improve individual patient outcomes and reduce the risk of HIV transmission to sexual partners by 96% has led many to assert what had so long seemed impossible: that control of the HIV pandemic may be achievable (Dr. Diane Havlir and Dr. Chris Beyrer, 7/19).

The New York Times: A Ruling Protecting Women's Health
A federal judge in Nebraska made the right call on Tuesday when he dismissed a lawsuit filed by seven state attorneys general against the requirement in the new health care law that most employers provide insurance coverage for contraception (7/18).

Los Angeles Times: The War On Abortion Rights
In California, where limiting access to abortion and other reproductive services would be practically unthinkable, it can be easy to ignore the ceaseless attacks on women's reproductive rights elsewhere. But an aggressive campaign to curtail those rights is being waged across the country as opponents seize every opportunity to deny women long-established constitutional protections (7/18).

The Wall Street Journal: An Evangelical-Catholic Stance On Liberty
On Wednesday, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the trustees of Wheaton College joined The Catholic University of America in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services. They did so because the HHS mandate requiring the college to provide and subsidize insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs violates the conscience of the school and its members, and denies their First Amendment freedom of religion (Philip Ryken and John Garvey, 7/18).

The New York Times: More Myths Of Obamacare
If only I'd checked with you first, Times readers, I could have expanded my list of fallacies about the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to your comments and emails on my column, I’ve noted a few more enduring myths that seem worthy of debunking (Bill Keller, 7/18). 

Philadelphia Inquirer: Language Is Loser In 'Obamacare' Ruling
It was [Paul Clement's] easy grasp of the subject that made his baseline declaration about Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion in President Obama's health care law all the more jarring. "The individual mandate was struck down," he declared to the audience of 200 or so lawyers. If so, that would certainly come as a surprise to the White House and to Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, who have hailed the wisdom of Roberts decision to essentially uphold the law that they enacted. Yet Clement's assertion wasn't quite as out there as it seemed (Chris Mondics, 7/19).

Minnesota Public Radio: The Danger Of A Supreme Court That Can Find A 'Rational Basis' For Any Mandate
What is most shocking about last month's ruling on the Affordable Care Act is not that the law was upheld but that any justices voted to uphold it. Lost in all the intrigue surrounding why Chief Justice John Roberts voted the way he did is that four other justices would have upheld the law's individual mandate — the requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance — under a view of the federal government's authority so sweeping that it would eliminate the Framers' carefully constructed plan of enumerated federal powers. When the U.S. Supreme Court is one vote away from abandoning a basic safeguard for liberty, you know how precarious our system of federalism has become (Anthony Sanders, 7/19).

The Hill: Continuing On The Path Toward Health Care Reform
While it was important to settle the questions surrounding the ACA – after all, no industry likes uncertainty – the train had already left the station. The only question was how fast it would reach its destination, and we in the healthcare industry couldn't sit on our hands waiting to find out. As the adage says, "If you don't create change, change will create you." Many health care organizations – including Cleveland Clinic – set about creating change several years ago, addressing issues of patient access, cost and quality (Dr. Delos M. "Toby" Cosgrove, 7/18).

Boston Globe: State Needs To Take Stock Before Expanding Health Payment Methods Employers Are Rejecting
The health care legislation under consideration in the State House has ambitious goals — to cap spending and change the way providers are paid. The bills encourage health insurance plans to move to a variety of payment methods that share the same focus: they would require providers to be held financially responsible for the health outcomes of their patients; they promote coordination of care; and they discourage redundant care. ... The problem, and what the legislation doesn't recognize, is that fewer — not more — employers are offering these types of insurance plans (Eric Beyer, 7/18).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Living Outside The Affordable Care Act Tent
It should be no surprise then that we do not focus on whether patients are citizens or undocumented immigrants when they enter our clinic. We believe that everyone in our community needs and deserves high quality health care services. Unfortunately, the health care reform law leaves undocumented immigrants largely outside of the discussion. We understand the political reality of today, where Congress is gridlocked on the issue of immigration.  Despite this impasse, the recent Supreme Court decision advances the idea that we are a nation that cares for its sick, and that the time has come for us to expand our definition of "we" to fully reflect our neighbors and our communities (Jim Garcia, 7/18).

Journal of the American Medical Association: How Can We Spur Organizational Innovation To Fix US Health Care?
Why is it so hard to improve the delivery system or to reform the outdated structure of Medicare? In large part it's because of the way we have chosen to solve the challenge of getting a vibrant private-sector market to achieve social goals, such as providing insurance for many essentially uninsurable people or delivering a basic package of care to people who don't have the money to pay for it. To address this challenge, we've primarily been using a central planning strategy. And it is fundamentally flawed (Stuart Butler, 7/18).

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