KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s OpEds: U.S. And AIDS; Mass. Example On Health Reform?; Unions And Health Costs

Obama's Overdue AIDS Bill The New York Times
George W. Bush made an impressive commitment to the international fight against AIDS when he formed the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program. … Thanks to these efforts - and similar initiatives ... the number of African patients with access to AIDS drugs jumped tenfold from 2003 to 2008. Since 2004, the AIDS-related mortality rate in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped 18 percent. Yet President Obama added only $366 million to the program this year - well below the $1 billion per year he promised to add when he was on the campaign trail (Desmond Tutu, 7/20).

Your Take: The Strong Link Between Race and HIV The Root 
Expose white people to the life conditions of poor black folks and Latinos, and their state of health declines tremendously and in life-threatening ways. ... But even money does not protect black people from HIV/AIDS. ... A large body of research shows that even black people with insurance and high income are more likely to experience poor health than their similarly situated white peers. ... The fact that virtually every black American will experience poverty at some point during his or her adulthood speaks volumes about AIDS in America (Phill Wilson, 7/20).

Massachusetts and Provider Consolidation National Review 
What we can say about Massachusetts now is pretty much what we've been able to say about Massachusetts since the early days of its implementation: It's been a successful attempt to expand coverage and reform the non-group market, and it was never an attempt to control costs. As such, costs in Massachusetts, much like costs nationally, are rising. Insofar as that contains lessons for the national effort, it's that we should stick to the law and make sure to implement the cost controls and delivery-system reforms (Reihan Salam, 7/20).

Massachusetts An Example Of Strains Likely Under Obamacare The Oklahoman 
[I]f you want to know what will happen when Obamacare fully kicks in, look to Massachusetts now. The state's program for universal health care coverage is showing ominous strain as the effects of mandates and other requirements materialize (7/21).

Soaring Health Costs Put Unions In A Bind The [Illinois] Courier News 
Is it wise for any labor union to fight tooth and nail for health care and pension benefits that white-collar workers gave up any notion of more than two decades ago? Think about it. When unions first negotiated those perks, there was no global economy, life expectancy was shorter, and health care costs were a fraction of what they are today (Jeff Ward, 7/21).

Give It A Rest The Chicago Tribune 
In these fragile, early days of an economic comeback, an overly aggressive government can hurt more than it helps. We hear a frequent complaint from small business owners that Washington is turning them more skittish about making investments for hiring and expansion. Why so? Because they're desperate for stability. ... Businesses are trying to gauge the real cost of the national health care law. It could be substantial (7/21).

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