KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: Mixed Opinions On The GOP Repeal Vote; The Value Of A Chief Health Officer

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

The Fiscal Times: How Obamacare Sideswiped The GOP And Opened The Door To Trump
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan promised last month that passing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be his top priority in 2016. For those who have watched the political machinations surrounding Obamacare for the past seven years, that sounds like déjà vu. The House of Representatives has passed dozens of bills repealing Obamacare ever since Republicans took control of the lower chamber five years ago. ... Of course, President Obama will veto the bill, which also bans funding for Planned Parenthood. It has no chance of becoming law at this point. So what’s the point? Why is this such a priority for the GOP? On one level, as a show of defiance, it serves Paul Ryan’s interest as Speaker. More broadly, it demonstrates a belated effort by the Republican Party to deliver on its promises – but this effort might be too little, and too late. (Edward Morrissey, 1/7)

The Washington Post: A Checkup For Obamacare Reveals A Positive Prognosis
After 62 House votes to repeal Obamacare, Congress finally passed a bill it could send to President Obama’s desk. That won’t change anything, of course, given Obama’s inevitable veto. Since it looks like we won’t be getting rid of Obamacare anytime soon, maybe it’s worth assessing how well the law is doing nearly six years after its passage. It’s time for an Obamacare checkup. Despite much doom and gloom portended for years by the law’s opponents, Obamacare looks surprisingly . . . healthy. (Rampell, 1/7)

Bloomberg: Ryan's Latest Empty Vow To Repeal Obamacare
Let's recall a Jan. 20, 2011, column by Paul Ryan, then chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and four other Republicans just after the first House vote to repeal Obamacare: "We will hold hearings in Washington and around the country. We will invite affected individuals and job creators to share their stories and solutions. We will look to the Constitution and common sense to guide legislation." ... Needless to say, five years later, none of it happened. (Jonathan Bernstein, 1/7)

Huffington Post: Does The Obamacare Repeal Vote Mean Anything? HuffPosters Debate
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that would repeal most of the Affordable Care Act’s key provisions. It’s the same bill that the Senate passed in December, which means the measure now goes to the White House -- where its journey will end, because President Barack Obama has already promised to veto it. ... Does that make the whole exercise pointless? HuffPost’s Jeffrey Young thinks so. His colleague Jonathan Cohn isn’t so sure. (Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young, 1/6)

The Wall Street Journal: Saving Corporate Cash By Hiring A Chief Health Officer
One of the greatest challenges corporations face today is ensuring the health and well-being of their employees. I have an uncomplicated solution for achieving this: appoint a chief health officer. Health and health-related spending are a big expense for all companies, and the numbers continue to climb. Fully 86% of employees today are above their normal weight or have a chronic condition, according to a Gallup survey a few years ago. They miss an estimated 450 million extra days of work a year compared with healthy workers, which a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says annually costs American businesses from $150 billion to a little more than $225 billion in lost productivity. (David B. Agus, 1/7)

JAMA: Dietary Guidelines For Americans
The US Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Agriculture (USDA) have released the eighth edition (2015-2020) of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines are an important part of a complex and multifaceted solution to promoting health and preventing diet-related chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity. ... Although many of the recommendations have remained relatively consistent over time, the Dietary Guidelines have evolved with scientific knowledge. For example, recent research has examined the relationship between overall eating patterns and health. Consequently, eating patterns are a main focus of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. (Karen B. DeSalvo, Richard Olson and Kellie O. Casavale, 1/7)

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