KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Is Anything New In Trump’s Health Plan?; Clinton’s Public Option Revival

A selection of opinions from around the country.

The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump’s Health-Care Plan And Where The ‘Repeal And Replace’ Slogan Falls Short
The health-care plan detailed by Donald Trump begins with the repeal of Obamacare, which it would replace with a series of changes Mr. Trump hopes that Congress would enact. They include: allowing the sale of insurance across state boundaries, turning Medicaid into block grants to the states, allowing people to deduct the cost of their health insurance from their taxes as businesses do, expanding health savings accounts, and–in what I think would be a first–allowing those accounts to be passed on tax-free to heirs. Mr. Trump and some media outlets have characterized the plan as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, in the spirit of “repeal and replace.” Whatever the pros and cons of these proposals–and they have both, as do the ideas put forward by Democrats–they are not a replacement for the ACA. To be clear: They do not accomplish the same goals through other means; they seek to repeal the ACA and substitute an alternative that has very different objectives. (Drew Altman, 3/3)

The New York Times' Upshot: Donald Trump’s Talk On Health Care Is Not Matched By His Plan
When Donald Trump talks about health care, he sounds as if he wants to do something different from the rest of the Republican field. But his health care plan, released Wednesday night, looks a lot like what his competitors have already presented. On the stump, Mr. Trump has tended to buck Republican anti-Obamacare orthodoxy. He has always called for repealing the health law, which he describes as a bureaucratic disaster and an economic drag. But he has repeatedly expressed enthusiasm for some of its ideas and ambitions. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 3/3)

Forbes: Hillary Clinton Revives The Public Option — But As An Experiment
[A]doption of Hillary’s public option is likely to disrupt insurance markets and healthcare rather than improve them, but it is not such an obvious Frankenstein of an experiment that conservatives ought to stand in the way of its voluntary adoption by states beguiled by the program’s apparent benevolence. (Seth Chandler, 3/3)

U.S. News & World Report: A Shameful 'Wall Of Shame'
Americans are extremely sensitive about their health histories. They consider their health records and medication information to be more sensitive than the content of their phone conversations, texts and email messages. Given these concerns, the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services is assigned with the delicate and important task of protecting patients' health information privacy rights through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA, a part of which includes data breach protections. (Niam Yaraghi, 3/3)

Bloomberg: Weird Science Fights Cancer
What kinds of research should be included in the $1 billion “moonshot” proposal to cure cancer? Since President Obama announced the idea in his last State of the Union address, Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading the effort, has talked of getting more patients enrolled in clinical trials and finding more efficient ways of sharing data. But what about less obvious steps, such as a recent experiment on zebra fish with green glowing skin tumors? (Faye Flam, 3/3)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: How Tired Should Your Surgeon Be?
Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published results of a study comparing the effect on patient safety of different work schedules for surgical residents who are receiving training in hospitals. The study is known as Flexibility in Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees, or FIRST. It compared the current system in which working schedules are capped at 80 hours a week and overnight call is limited with an unrestricted system. The purpose of the research was to determine whether patients are better off receiving care from the same doctor whose hours are unlimited or from a fresh doctor who has picked up their care when the first one went off-duty. (Maryanne McGuckin, 3/4)

The Wall Street Journal: Match Day, The NFL Draft Of Medicine
On March 18, thousands of fourth-year medical students, including me, will take part in what some have dubbed the NFL draft of medicine: Match Day. Each spring the National Resident Matching Program matches graduating medical students with residency programs at hospitals and universities across the nation. The NRMP uses an algorithm to determine where budding physicians will train for up to seven years after graduation. (Nathaniel P. Morris, 3/3)

Lexington Herald Leader: Is Punishing Ky. Women Pro-Life?
The booby prize for petty partisanship in this legislative session goes to Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg, whose anti-abortion poison-pill is bottling up a Democratic-sponsored protection for pregnant women that many pro-life groups support. King’s amendment serves a useful purpose, though, by helping clarify that the onslaught of attacks on reproductive rights stems not so much from concern for children or women, despite politicians’ insistence that they must protect Kentucky women from their own decisions. What’s driving this train is an age-old urge to punish women. (3/3)

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Needs New Surgeon General
There is no reason the Florida Senate should confirm Dr. John Armstrong as the state's surgeon general. As disappointing as the rejection would be for this former Army surgeon and the person who appointed him, Gov. Rick Scott, Armstrong has not demonstrated the independence or urgency needed in this position. Florida's Department of Health needs a new, permanent leader who has the confidence of the legislative branch and the public — and the governor needs to get the message that the state's chief health advocate works for all Floridians. (3/3)

Bloomberg: A Fix For Flint, And Other Cities Too
Congress has finally come up with a sensible way to help Flint, Michigan, clean up its drinking water -- and its plan could also benefit any American city that needs to get the lead out of its water supply. Flint’s problem is a special emergency, but lead pipes are a persistent concern for many other cities. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have an exact count, but between 6 million and 11 million American homes still draw their water through lead pipes, some dating back to the 19th century. (3/3)

The Chicago Sun-Times: Even In Chicago, Beware Of Lead In Drinking Water
Flint, Michigan’s poisonous water is just one instance, and not a particularly new or shocking one, of our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, American infrastructure is crumbling fast, and many cities are heading for problems that will rival Flint, or surpass it. Chicago, in particular, is prone for big trouble. (3/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.