KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Progressives Relish Fight For ‘Shared Sacrifice;’ Desmond Tutu Seeks To Renew Battle Against HIV

The Washington Post: Fighting For Real 'Shared Sacrifice'
To get our books in order, Obama would raise taxes on the rich while gaining savings by ending the wars abroad and reducing Medicare and Medicaid's unnecessarily high payments to drug companies. Republicans rise in defense of tax cuts for the wealthy and insist that deficit reduction come solely from cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and other "entitlements." The president stands for shared sacrifice; the Republicans for sheltering the privileged few. Progressives will have no problem standing with the president in this fight (Katrina vanden Heuvel, 9/20).

The Washington Post: An End to AIDS Is Within Our Reach
study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month has demonstrated that antiretroviral treatment can prevent the spread of HIV, in addition to saving those infected from sickness and death. Armed with this new data, President Obama should lead the world in a massive effort to expand access to treatment and rid humanity of AIDS — the most devastating disease of our time (Desmond Tutu, 9/20).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: A New Watchdog To Chase Fraud
We like what we hear from Jerry Kerber, the 31-year veteran at Minnesota's Department of Human Services who was named in August to head its new Office of the Inspector General. In an interview with the Associated Press, Kerber, who has his eye on a significant portion of Minnesota's budget, acknowledged that the dollars -- $22 billion over two years for Medicaid, child care support, food support and other programs -- are "more precious than ever." So true, as governments face the need to do more with less and make sure taxpayers get what they pay for (9/20).

The Baltimore Sun: Fight Obesity By Putting Calorie Counts On Menus
When New York City passed legislation requiring restaurants to post calories next to menu items, it took a step toward obesity reduction that Baltimore and the rest of the nation should follow. We have seen the obesity epidemic grow to epic proportions over the last three decades. … more than one-third of Baltimore adults are medically obese, and another third are overweight. We pour millions of dollars into the health care system to treat obesity-related disease, and all the advances we have made researching drugs to lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are counteracted by the deleterious impact of obesity (Thomas Hanff, 9/20).

The Sacramento Bee: Elders Pay Price For False Records In Nursing Homes
Nursing homes make record- keeping mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes are innocent. Sometimes, as The Bee's Marjie Lundstrom has demonstrated in her investigative report on bogus nursing home record-keeping, they are deliberate – a pattern of deception intended to lull family members into believing that their loved ones are receiving appropriate care and to protect corporate nursing homes from lawsuits when a patient is seriously injured or killed. … Even though the number of citations for fraudulent record-keeping in the state has declined dramatically in the last decade, prosecutors who specialize in elder abuse cases suggest that falsification is common (9/21).

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): Advancing Research Data Infrastructure for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research
Patient-centered outcomes research is dependent on access to high-quality data to drive improved patient care but that access cannot come at the expense of patient privacy. The latest developments in information technology (enabling the creation of distributed data networks and virtual data access) provide avenues to address important concerns and facilitate a renewed focus on public-private partnerships in the pursuit of the public good (Dr. Amol S. Navathe, Dr. Carolyn Clancy and Sherry Glied, 9/20).

JAMA: Women, Reproductive Health, and Health Reform
The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) promises continuous insurance coverage for the approximately 19 million US women who currently lack health insurance and for many more who have only sporadic coverage. Moreover, coverage for some women who are currently insured may be limited and may even exclude payment for family planning, pregnancy, or both. The promise of continuous health insurance coverage provides an opportunity to transform women's health with comprehensive care for women over their life course (Dr. Erin Saleeby and Claire D. Brindis, 9/20).

JAMA: The FDA—A Misunderstood Agency
Anyone who spends a day at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will appreciate the scale of its responsibilities. ... Anyone who spends a month at the FDA will recognize the striking disconnect between the agency and its public image. Nearly all the attention focuses on the latest regulatory controversies. As a result, many see the FDA as little more than a factory for disputes. Few notice systematic movement below the surface. ... Anyone who has spent approximately 2 years at the FDA, as I have, will wonder what it will take for the agency to be better understood (Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, 9/20).

Houston Chronicle: Editorial: Vaccine Was Good For Public Health

Among too many Republican presidential candidates, mainstream science seems toxic these days. So maybe Michele Bachmann knew exactly what she was doing when she attacked Rick Perry for a 2007 executive order that Texas girls be vaccinated against human papilloma virus ... . HPV is by far the chief cause of cervical cancer, and it can also lead to other particularly lousy ways to die. For once, Perry had taken the side of science (9/20).

Bloomberg: What Republicans Talk About When They Talk About HPV: Amity Shlaes

Republicans can't stop talking about the vaccine for human papilloma virus. Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a presidential candidate, is under fire for having issued an executive order in 2007 that allowed his health commissioner to mandate inoculation against the virus for girls entering sixth grade. Since HPV can lead to cancer, Perry thought he was saving lives. Some critics charged he was infringing on parents' rights with his rule….So what is the HPV vaccine debate really about? (Amity Shlaes, 9/20).


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