KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Rep. Ryan On His Budget Plan; Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate Could Hurt McCaskill In Tight Missouri Race;

The Wall Street Journal: The GOP Budget And America's Future
On the critical issues of health security and tax reform, our budget draws a clear distinction between serious reformers and those who stand in the way of the growing bipartisan consensus for principled solutions. Our budget's Medicare reforms make no changes for those in or near retirement. For those who will retire a decade from now, our plan provides guaranteed coverage options financed by a premium-support payment. And this year, our budget adds even more choices for seniors, including a traditional fee-for-service Medicare option (Rep. Paul Ryan, 3/20).

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare's Flawed Economic Foundations
ObamaCare will be argued next week in the Supreme Court. While the justices will consider the intricacies of constitutional law, at their heart the arguments in favor of the legislation have to do with the economics of health care. Consider the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. The Obama administration defends the mandate on the ground that a person's decision to not buy health insurance affects commerce by materially increasing the costs of others' health insurance (Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Vernon L. Smith, 3/19).

The Wall Street Journal's Political Diary: McCaskill's ObamaCare Baggage
Many conservatives are calling President Obama's contraception mandate a "war on religion," and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill could become a political casualty. A new Rasmussen poll shows the Democratic incumbent trailing all three of her potential Republican opponents. According to the poll, Sarah Steelman, a former state treasurer who ran for governor in 2008, boasts a 10-point lead. A month ago, Public Policy Polling had the senator and Ms. Steelman running even (Allysia Finley, 3/19).

The New York Times: The States Get A Poor Report Card
State governments have long been accused of backroom dealing, cozy relationships with moneyed lobbyists, and disconnection from ordinary citizens. A new study suggests those accusations barely scratch the surface. … And yet all the Republican presidential candidates think it would be a good idea to hand some of Washington’s most important programs to state governments. … In a speech on Monday, Mitt Romney said he would dump onto the states most federal anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance, because states know best what their local needs are (3/19).

Chicago Tribune: What Romney Wants To 'Get Rid Of'
When I was 17, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that can cause infertility. During graduate school, when many of us "aged out" of our parent's medical insurance, Planned Parenthood provided me with affordable birth control, which manages the condition and prevents long-term damage to the reproductive system. So I was shocked and taken aback to hear Mitt Romney say he would "get rid of" Planned Parenthood (Courtney Everette, 3/20).

Arizona Republic: Republicans Need To Focus On Something Other Than The Uterus
Republicans in the Arizona Legislature continue their quest this week to alienate every last woman in the state (and a fair number of men). ... Even as Sen. John McCain warned the Legislature this weekend to back off, state House Majority Whip Debbie Lesko was preparing her final push to make it more difficult for women – or at least, some women -- to get The Pill. ... the Republican Party has become, as one reader put it, the party of "Guns, God and Gynecology" (Laurie Roberts, 3/20).

The Baltimore Sun: O'Malley Gets It Wrong On Medical Marijuana
On March 9, Gov. Martin O'Malley said he is likely to veto a medical marijuana law if the Maryland General Assembly passes one. His spokeswoman said he is concerned about a Feb. 9, 2012 letter from Charles Oberly, Delaware's U.S. attorney, to Gov. Jack Merkell, threatening to prosecute Delaware officials as common drug traffickers if they carry out their state's medical marijuana law. ... I believe Mr. Oberly dishonestly manipulated Governor Markell by threatening prosecutions he is forbidden to bring (Eric E. Sterling, 3/19).

Mercury News: Santa Clara Family Health Plan's Future Deserves Full Discussion
Fifteen years ago Santa Clara County established the independent Santa Clara Family Health Plan to deliver quality care to low-income families. The nonprofit public agency, with a multitude of providers throughout the county, serves 139,000 people, including nearly 100,000 children. Its hallmark plan, Healthy Kids, is a model for programs throughout California and beyond. But the Health Plan's survival as an independent agency is in doubt, threatening the collaborative relationships among providers that are essential for the county's transition to health care reform (3/19).

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