KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Health Law Unhappiness?; Single-Payer And The ‘Continental Divide’

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

Bloomberg: Health Care's Continental Divide
Bernie Sanders restarted the debate about single-payer health care on Sunday by proposing "Medicare for all." Leonid Bershidsky pointed out that in Europe, his idea would hardly be radical. But Megan McArdle finds the Sanders plan implausible in the U.S. Bloomberg View invited them to debate whether American health care could imitate Europe's. (Megan McArdle & Leonid Bershidsky, 1/22)

Huffington Post: How And Why Medicare For All Is A Realistic Goal
Hillary Clinton is wrong when she says that Medicare for all is not achievable. In fact, if she and her husband had embraced the concept in 1993, we would be nearly there today. ... In 1993, the electorate wanted better health care. The newly elected President Bill Clinton put Hillary Clinton in charge of a task force to develop a proposal. They created a Rube Goldberg machine, easily attacked by the health care industry because the proposal was so hard to understand. If instead, the Clinton administration had further built on the extremely successful and popular Medicare program, then nearly three decades old, they would likely have been successful. (Nancy Altman, 1/24)

CNN: Is Bernie Sanders Right About Health Care?
If the question is about health care, Sen. Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate able to give a short answer: Medicare for all. In a world of health-savings accounts, interstate insurance sales, exchanges, silver or gold plans and accountable health care organizations, he dusts off a proposal from the 1980s: universal coverage by a single payer -- the federal government. (H. Gilbert Welch, 1/24)

Lincoln Journal Star: Time For A Fresh Look
It’s a sad indication of how deep some ideological ruts have become that opponents had tallied the votes against Sen. John McCollister’s new health care plan before they even knew what it was. Just the mention of the Affordable Care Act apparently was enough for at least 18 state senators to, in figurative terms, cover their ears and singing la-la-la-la. Nebraskans deserve better than that, especially the working poor who McCollister, a Republican and former director of the conservative Platte Institute, is trying to help. (1/19)

The New York Times: Drug Deaths Reach White America
Congress has historically treated drug abuse as a malady afflicting mostly poor, minority communities, best dealt with by locking people up for long periods of time. The epidemic of drug overdose deaths currently ravaging white populations in cities and towns across the country has altered this line of thinking, and forced lawmakers to acknowledge that addiction is a problem that knows no racial barriers and can be best addressed with treatment. This realization is driving bipartisan support in Washington for saner, less punitive drug policies, some of which Congress had steadfastly resisted for decades. (1/25)

Louisville Courier-Journal: Attacks Continue 43 Years Later
Forty-three years ago this week, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to decide to have an abortion. But since the Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973, states have passed more than 1,000 restrictions that make it much harder for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to actually get one. While many of these restrictions mask themselves as being necessary for or beneficial to patient care, the real agenda of some politicians is to ban abortion outright. Since they can’t, they are using restrictive laws to put abortion out of reach. In 2015 alone, 57 new restrictions on abortion access were signed into law across the nation. (Derek Selznick, 1/22)

Louisville Courier-Journal: We March Because We Must
We march because we must. We march for the voiceless, the defenseless, those 58 million preborn children who have lost their lives to the violence of abortion as well as their mothers who have paid a heavy price in terms of increased risks of depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention an array of physical complications, even death. (Schu Montgomery, 1/22)

Lexington Herald-Leader: Want To Quit Smoking? Ky. Medical Community Will Help
Mark Twain once said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” Perhaps you have, too. But if you’re one of the seven in 10 smokers who want to quit and make it stick, you might just find success by talking with your physician about the best route to take. Studies have shown that when smokers work with their physician, they are more likely to be successful. (David J. Bensema, 1/21)

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