KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: Gaming Special Enrollment Periods; Hillary Clinton’s Attack On Bernie Sanders’ Single-Payer Plan

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

Bloomberg: Gaming Of Health Care Threatens The Whole Program
In November, UnitedHealth abruptly reversed its previously sunny take on Obamacare and said that the company would have to pull out of the government-run exchanges if market conditions didn't improve. The problem: People signing up during "special enrollment" (the majority of the year that falls outside of the annual open enrollment period) were much sicker, and paying premiums for much less time, than the rest of the exchange population. The result: Those policies were losing a ton of money. (Megan McArdle, 1/14)

The Washington Post: Hillary Clinton’s Latest Attack On Bernie Sanders Shows She’s A Rotten Candidate
At some point, you cannot blame the national mood or a poor staff or a brilliant opponent for Hillary Clinton’s campaign woes. ... Her attack over health care makes no sense whatsoever. Clinton is dinging Sanders for a universal health-care plan that she says would require a big tax hike. Huh? This is Sanders, the darling of the left, who has always wanted true, single-payer health care. The idea that Sanders — “the democratic socialist” — would be coming up with a dastardly plan to undermine or take away universal health care, from the left’s perspective, is inconceivable. (Jennifer Rubin, 1/14)

Modern Healthcare: Hillary's Attacks On Sanders' Single-Payer Proposal May Be Risky In Iowa
Pundits are questioning the political wisdom of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's attacks against her rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, over his proposal for a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health insurance system in the U.S. There's good reason for those questions. Conversations this month with Democratic Party officials and voters in Iowa lend support to comments that Clinton's assault on Sanders over single payer is a risky gambit going into that state's Feb. 1 presidential caucuses. (Harris Meyer, 1/14)

The Huffington Post: Louisiana Just Expanded Medicaid. Now Obama Is Gunning For Other Holdouts.
Louisiana on Tuesday became the 31st state to embrace the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. That's a big deal. The decision means 300,000 poor and working-class residents will soon have access to comprehensive, government-provided health insurance. Those who enroll will be better off, financially and perhaps medically, according to the best and most recent research. But more than 4 million low-income Americans just like them still can’t get onto Medicaid. That’s because officials in their states despise Obamacare and have refused to expand the program’s eligibility. (Jonathan Cohn, 1/14)

Lexington Herald Leader: Bevin’s Dis-Kynect Bad For Business
It’s disappointing that Gov. Matt Bevin felt compelled to follow through on an illogical position that he staked out early in his campaign, based on limited knowledge. Bevin’s decision to move forward with dismantling Kynect, Kentucky’s much-praised health insurance exchange, flies in the face of the classic conservative belief that state control is better than federal control. (1/14)

Kansas City Star: Can Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Recognize A Nightmare?
Does Sam Brownback ever experience 3 a.m. regrets? As a restless sleeper myself, I wonder about this. In those dark hours when you can’t do much except worry, does the governor of Kansas contemplate the awful mess confronting his state and think, “What have I done?” ... “The State of our State is strong,” the governor said in his annual address. But it isn’t. The federal government has cut off Medicare payments for new patients at Osawatomie State Hospital after its inspectors found shocking security violations at the facility for mentally ill people who pose a danger to themselves and others. ... There is no money to solve problems, much less invest in Kansas’ future. (Barbara Shelly, 1/14)

Concord Monitor: Our Turn: Awareness, Empathy Key In Addiction Fight
In recent years, we have witnessed the increasing pain and suffering inflicted by heroin and opioid addiction in communities in our districts and across the country. We, like many of our constituents, have seen firsthand how this tragic epidemic has affected our own friends and loved ones, and by sharing their stories we hope to put a face to the addiction crisis. The statistics surrounding drug addiction and overdose are truly staggering. (Rep Annie Kuster and Rep. Frank Guinta, 1/15)

Bloomberg: Add A Little Sugar To Nutrition Labels
Americans have a sweet tooth, and the obesity and diabetes rates to prove it. The best way to help people eat less sugar is to let them know how much of it is in their foods. Yet a sensible plan to inform consumers about the amount of sugar added to packaged products is under fire from the food industry and politicians. The Food and Drug Administration should stand strong and stick with the plan when it issues its final rules later this year. (1/14)

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