KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Romney’s Argument That Health Law Would Kill Free Enterprise; FDA’s Delay In Cutting Use Of Antibiotics In Animals

Los Angeles Times: Who Says 'Obamacare' Will Kill Free Enterprise? Romney Does
In my column on Sunday, I quoted Mitt Romney's warning last week that President Obama's health reform law could doom the free-enterprise system in the United States. "With Obamacare fully installed," Romney said, "government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free-enterprise society." Could that be true? Would "Obamacare," which relies mostly on free-enterprise health insurance companies, really turn America into a socialist state? (Doyle McManus, 4/30).

The Washington Post: Why Reform Conservatism Deserves A Chance
Reform Conservatism, in contrast, would seek to achieve federal goals in modern, market-oriented ways. It is less concerned about re-founding the country than making Medicare work. Its chief practitioner is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), supported by a few policy experts of disproportionate creativity and influence (Michael Gerson, 4/30).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Health Care Providers Have Lost Their Way
Replay history and you will see how some local hospitals have evolved from caring places into money machines…. Where does Fairview [Hospital] go from here [after a controversy about debt collections]? How does it and others like it recover the public trust that patients cling to for healing? First the board (especially the CEO and former board chair on whose watch the collection effort occurred) need to do more than say "sorry." That would be asking for cheap grace. Rather they need to articulate the values that guide the organization, and hence affect every employee. Then they need to assure us that the values are being practiced (Paul Olson, 4/30).

Politico: Antibiotics In Agriculture A Threat To Public Health
The Food and Drug Administration concluded in 1977 that feeding antibiotics daily to healthy livestock, chickens and hogs could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria, capable of infecting people. ... the FDA dragged its feet for more than three decades. But a federal judge ruled in March that the agency must finally take action. The court ordered the FDA to withdraw approval for the use in animal feed of two antibiotics important for human health. This decision — in a case brought by consumer groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Science in the Public Interest — is a landmark victory in ending the misuse of antibiotics (Rep. Louise Slaughter, Robert Lawrence and Caroline Smith Dewaal, 4/30).

Des Moines Register: Special Deal For Cedar Rapids Doctor Is Wrong
Don’t like the law? Then write a check to state lawmakers and they might carve out an exception just for you. That is what the public probably is thinking after hearing about Dr. Lee Birchansky. The Cedar Rapids ophthalmologist wants to open an outpatient surgery center there. A state board has repeatedly denied him the needed certificate to do so, and the Iowa Supreme Court has agreed with the board. So Republicans in the Iowa House want to come to his rescue. They added an amendment to a state spending bill that would allow Birchansky's surgery center — and only his — to skirt a process known as the certificate of need (4/30).

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