KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: The Health Law’s ‘Awkward Place’; What The White House Told Hillary Clinton About Obamacare

A selection of opinions from around the country.

The Washington Post: What’s Next For The Affordable Care Act?
In any other February, the Obamacare enrollment numbers released last month would have been big news. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that 12.7 million people had chosen health-care plans in the exchanges the law set up — far more than the 10 million HHS predicted would have exchange-based insurance in 2016. The number will likely go down, as some people fail to pay their premiums; the best case, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt, is that about a million more people will be covered in 2016 relative to last year. These figures leave the Affordable Care Act in an awkward place. (3/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Hillary’s Dirty Little ObamaCare Secret
The State Department released the last batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails on Monday, and the exercise has been instructive about her recklessness with classified material. But as a side note, we ought to memorialize what President Obama’s aides were telling Mrs. Clinton about the Affordable Care Act, which was the opposite of what their boss was telling the public. Despite her duties as top diplomat, Mrs. Clinton found time to follow ObamaCare’s progress in Congress, and she received regular updates from Neera Tanden, then a White House health staffer. Ms. Tanden is now president of the liberal Center for American Progress, Mrs. Clinton’s economic policy shop. (3/1)

Modern Healthcare's Vital Signs Blog: Blog: Former Caesar's Casino CEO Places Bets On Patient Loyalty
Hospital CIOs meeting in Las Vegas got comps from a former gambling casino executive. But they weren't chips, free rooms or limousine rides. It was something potentially more valuable. They were told how to use data analytics to obtain and maintain the loyalty of healthcare customers who are increasingly choosing providers based on service and value. Gary Loveman is the recently appointed executive vice president of the Healthagen health services and consumer business unit at health insurance giant Aetna. Loveman's domain includes Aetna's population health, clinical care management and consumer insight functions. (Joseph Conn, 3/1)

USA Today: Justices Must Protect Women's Rights: Column
The Supreme Court is about to hear what court watchers have called the most important abortion rights case in a generation. Yet, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt is not actually about abortion. Rather, the case asks whether politicians can strip constitutional rights by stealth, using laws that say one thing but do another. How the justices answer that question will echo far beyond reproductive rights. (Nancy Northup, 3/1)

The New England Journal Of Medicine: “An Uncommonly Silly Law” — Contraception And Disparities In The United States
Today in the United States, conservative social mores are putting women’s access to safe and affordable contraception at risk. Even in 2016, there is no assurance that birth control will be accessible to all U.S. women regardless of ability to pay. In its 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the Supreme Court held that closely held corporations — those in which fewer than five people own more than half of company stock — may choose to exclude contraception coverage from their employees’ health insurance plans created under the Affordable Care Act if the use of contraceptives violates their religious beliefs. (Heather M. Prescott, 2/25)

Bloomberg: How Lobbying Obscured The Danger Of Lead In Water
First, it was Flint, Michigan. Now, Jackson, Mississippi, has raised the alarm that lead levels in its drinking water may exceed public health standards. These revelations have led to finger pointing, most notably in Flint, where health officials, regulators and politicians ignored warning signs of a looming crisis. Yet this disaster has far deeper roots. Although the potential dangers have been common knowledge for a century and half, lead pipes remained a popular choice in cities until quite recently, thanks to public ignorance, bureaucratic incompetence and, above all, industry pressure. (Stephen Mihm, 3/1)

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