KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s OpEds: States’ Very Different Approaches To Health Reform; Tanning Tax; Sen. Collins On Long Term Care

Get Ready For The Tanning Tax CNN
The tanning industry is just the latest victim of government paternalism, putting it in the same category as cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, sodas, trans fats, junk food and other targets of so-called 'sin taxes.' Desperate for revenue and lacking the guts to curtail big special-interest tax breaks such as the employer-provided health insurance exclusion or the mortgage interest deduction, congressional leaders and the president have singled out a politically vulnerable target (Natasha Altamirano, 6/30).

Republican Health Care Fratricide The New Republic
One of the political benefits to Democrats of passing the Affordable Care Act, rather than following the 'crawl into a hole and die' strategy urged upon them in all sincerity by Republicans, is that it shifted the debate to favorable terrain. Now Democrats are favoring the status quo, and Republicans are trying to pass a radical change (Jonathan Chait, 6/30).

Senior And Disabled Americans Deserve Quality Home Services Sanford News
Nurse practitioners, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists are all playing increasingly important roles in the delivery of health care services, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas of our country. But despite their important role, these advanced practice nurses and physician assistants are currently unable to order home health services for their Medicare patients (Sen. Susan Collins, 7/1). 

Clear Understanding Critical to Health Reform Burlington Free Press
Vermont's health care reform effort moves into a phase where it becomes critical that any changes being contemplated are clearly understood by the people outside of Montpelier. ... Exploring what a single-payer system or a public option might look like is more than a useful exercise. Putting road maps before lawmakers will help move the debate to where they will have to argue for their position using real numbers about cost and access (7/1). 

Point: Opt Out Is A Cop-Out Oklahoma Gazette
On Nov. 2, the citizens of Oklahoma will vote on whether to approve a state constitutional amendment that prohibits "forced participation in a health care system." Passed by the Oklahoma Legislature after failing to override Gov. Brad Henry's veto of a similar statute, the initiative is essentially a protest against national health care reform. … The idea is pointless, flawed and simply asking for trouble (Keith Eakins, 6/30).

Pa. GOP Leaders Should Lobby Congress For Extra Stimulus Dollars [Pennsylvania] Patriot News
Last week, unified Republican opposition prevented the U.S. Senate from overcoming a filibuster to enact a bill that extends key elements of last year's stimulus legislation. … This 'extender' bill is designed not just to help individuals hurt by the severe recession, but to allow state governments to continue spending at close-to-normal levels even though their tax revenues have dropped precipitously due to our economic troubles. … In their denunciation of federal policies designed to restore our economy to growth, right-wing extremists and their Republican supporters in Washington are poised to do real damage to our citizens, our commonwealth and our country (Marc Stier, 7/1). 

An Industrial Approach To Eliminating Health Care Waste The Daily Caller
While the health care reform agenda has spotlighted many of this industry's shortcomings, there remains great opportunity to address the root causes of health care inefficiency. To remedy them, we need an operational mindset that transcends politics to convert institutionalized bad habits into business best practice. We believe that by putting five proven strategies into effect to address the worst of those bad habits, the health care industry can cut its costs by 5 percent a year, an achievement that over a 10-year period would save the nation an impressive $3.6 trillion (Robert Kelley and Dr. Roy Fabius, 7/1).

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