KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: Joe Biden Takes Aim At Cancer; Obamacare As A Pay Cut

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

The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare’s $1,200 Pay Cut
Liberals insist the stagnation of real incomes in the Obama era can be solved with more redistribution, while the Donald Trump right focuses on immigrants and trade. Maybe the better explanation is this era’s onslaught of lousy economic policies, starting with ObamaCare. Among the law’s few popular features, even among Republicans, is the mandate to cover adult children through age 26 on the insurance plans of their parents. This benediction is sold as a gratuity, but somebody must ultimately pay, and new research suggests the hidden costs—in the form of lower take-home pay—are far higher than advertised. (1/12)

Forbes: Consumerism In Health Care Can't Work. (Except For All The Places It Already Does.)
Consumerism in health care just can’t work. It can’t work because seriously ill patients are under incredible stress and can’t shop around for the best care. It can’t work because information on quality and cost isn’t easily accessible. It can’t work because health care spending is heavily concentrated – just 5 percent of the patients account for 50 percent of the cost. What’s the point in having a $6,000 deductible when you need a $500,000 surgery? (Paul Howard, 1/13)

Modern Healthcare: Skin In The Game Gets Personal For Doctors
Many healthcare providers and consumer advocates—and even some health insurance executives—say the skin-in-the-game model has been taken too far in the U.S. and is getting in the way of patients receiving appropriate care. Now physicians are finding themselves being held financially accountable for their medical choices, and they don't much like the skin-in-the-game model or metaphor. Employed hospitalists at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Ore., have joined the American Federation of Teachers union partly in response to the hospital's use of financial incentives to get them to achieve performance targets such as reducing length of stay and improving patient satisfaction scores, the New York Times reports. (Harris Meyer, 1/12)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: John Bel Edwards Begins By Acknowledging The Poor
Edwards linked that poverty to the struggle women in this state have getting a decent pay check. And he linked that poverty to the struggle that young people have paying the cost of skyrocketing tuition at our public universities. And, indirectly, he linked poverty in the state to his predecessor's refusal to accept the Medicaid expansion made possible by the passage of the Affordable Care Act. He vowed to accept the expansion immediately so our residents won't be going without while our taxes help pay for Medicaid expansion in 30 other states. (Jarvis DeBerry, 1/12)

The Washington Post: Here’s The Real Deal On The Latest Big Clinton-Sanders Dust-Up
While Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders started their presidential campaigns with an unspoken mutual non-aggression pact, it was inevitable that as the voting approached and the sense of urgency grew, they would start criticizing each other more and more. But an attack Clinton has now launched on Sanders’ support of single-payer health care is both odd and important, so I’m going to try to sort it out — both the substance and the politics. (Paul Waldman, 1/12)

The New York Times: Where Police Violence Encounters Mental Illness
Nearly 20 years ago, I was a social worker in a county jail where I first began to understand just how frequently the police deal with people with mental illnesses. Run-ins with the police were a regular occurrence for many of my clients, with officers often knowing them by name. They were overwhelmingly poor, and poor people with mental illnesses are also likely to experience homelessness and substance abuse — issues that place them at increased risk of police contact and incarceration. (Matthew Epperson, 1/13)

The Baltimore Sun: Curbing Sugary Drinks In Baltimore
Last summer, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to require businesses that sell sugary drinks to post this disclaimer: "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay." City leaders also banned ads for sugary drinks on public property and prohibited the use of city funds to buy such beverages. (1/12)

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