KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Weekend Reading: Seeking Better Health Outcomes For Homeless People; What Becomes Of The Women Denied Abortions?

Every week reporter Ankita Rao selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The Nation: Revealed: Letters From Republicans Seeking Obamacare Money
Even before President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Republicans were vowing to repeal it. It's no wonder, because polls showed that the basic elements of the ACA were quite popular, and there was a real danger that it would become more so as people found out that the plan denounced as a "monstrosity" by the National Republican Senatorial Committee would not trample on their liberties so much as help protect their health. ... Now letters produced by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that many of these same anti-Obamacare Republicans have solicited grants from the very program they claim to despise (Lee Fang, 6/5).

Forbes: Why Conservatives Shouldn't Cheer The Cadillac Tax (And Neither Should Anyone Else)
Jonathan Cohn would like you to believe that conservatives are so irrational in their hatred of Obamacare that they even despise parts of the law that should make them cheer, such as the Cadillac tax on high cost health plans. Mr. Cohn is correct in asserting that “writers like James Capretta and Robert Moffit have long called for reducing or eliminating the tax breaks for employer sponsored insurance.” But there’s a world of difference between how conservatives would cap or eliminate the current employer tax exclusion and the Cadillac tax (Chris Conover, 6/5).

The New York Times Magazine: What Happens To Women Who Are Denied Abortions?
S. arrived alone at a Planned Parenthood in Richmond, Calif., four days before Christmas. As she filled out her paperwork, she looked at the women around her. Nearly all had someone with them; S. wondered if they also felt terrible about themselves or if having someone along made things easier. … When Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, first began studying women who were turned away from abortion clinics, she was struck by how little data there were. A few clinics kept records, but no one had compiled them nationally. And there was no research on how these women fared over time (Joshua Lang, 6/12).

The Atlantic: When People Seem To Want To Be Sick
Münchausen syndrome is sometimes referred to as "hospital addiction syndrome" or "thick chart syndrome," because patients present again and again to physicians' offices and hospitals. ... We usually suppose that no one would ever want to be sick, but this is clearly not the case. Some patients with Münchausen syndrome fake laboratory test results by contaminating blood and urine samples, and others are so desperate that they will actually inject themselves with urine or feces in order to make themselves sick. Such extraordinary acts remind us that the role of patient offers many rewards in addition to attention, including relaxed responsibilities in work and family life, and for some, perverse enjoyment at fooling others (Dr. Richard Gunderman, 6/11).

Los Angeles Times: Experts Seek Better Health Outcomes For Homeless
Years after facing patient dumping allegations and hefty legal settlements, Southern California hospital executives have begun working with advocates for the homeless to improve the health of homeless patients and to reduce their use of area hospitals. Hospital administrators are driven by the national healthcare law, which offers incentives to provide better care at lower cost and imposes penalties when patients are unnecessarily readmitted to hospitals. Homeless patients are among the most frequent users of the region's medical centers, often because they lack regular medical care (Anna Gorman, 6/10).

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