KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Different Takes On The Health Law: Trump’s Determination; Undermining Cost Cutting

Opinion writers take a look at a variety of benefits and problems they see in the health law.

The Washington Post: Congress Quietly Puts A Crucial Part Of Obamacare On The Chopping Block
The Obamacare debate has been out of whack from the start. Republicans have criticized the wrong things, allowing Democrats to ignore the Affordable Care Act’s biggest flaws. Now, this off-kilter debate may lead to the quiet loss of one of the law’s most important provisions, currently on Congress’s chopping block. ... A bipartisan bill ending the [Independent Payment Advisory Board] passed the House Ways and Means Committee last Wednesday. Republicans, who claim they want to reduce wasteful government spending, should stop trying to repeal this important piece of Obamacare. So should Democrats. (10/8)

The Washington Post: Support For Medicaid In Virginia Keeps Growing
Despite years of Republican efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act, support in Virginia for Medicaid expansion remains as strong as ever. A new University of Mary Washington survey of 1,000 adult Virginians found that 70 percent favor increasing access to Medicaid, an important but optional part of the Affordable Care Act, with only 25 percent opposed. A year ago, 68 percent said they wanted Virginia to expand this public health-insurance program for low-income, uninsured state residents. (Stephen J. Farnsworth, 10/6)

The Detroit News: Take Honest Look At Medicaid Costs
As a numbers guy, Gov. Rick Snyder can surely see the rising costs of the state’s Medicaid expansion. The governor has defended the Healthy Michigan program as a model for other states, but now the program expansion across the country has prompted questions from a Republican U.S. senator. ... In his letter to Snyder, [Sen. Ron] Johnson wrote: “I am seeking to better understand these rising costs and higher-than-expected enrollment, especially in states where costs are increasing especially quickly. Has Michigan taken any steps to control these costs and, if so, what are those steps?” Johnson is right to ask these questions, and we join him in awaiting the state’s response. (10/7)

And on the issue of Medicare for all —

The New York Times: A Health Care Plan That’s Universal And Bipartisan
After the collapse of Republican efforts at one-party health care reform, many Democrats have embraced Senator Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All proposal. Few liberals would object to this “single payer” plan if it could be enacted with a magic wand, but the political realities of getting it through Congress are daunting. (Ed Dolan, 10/9)

San Jose Mercury News: Does The Gig Economy Mean It’s Time For Medicare-For-All?
For decades, millions of Americans have received insurance through a patchwork quilt of employer-based insurance and government programs to cover vulnerable populations. With the rise of the gig-economy, the quilt is unravelling, presenting an opportunity to fix our country’s flawed healthcare system. ... If we were to shift to a system where the government was the primary insurer, we could help employees and businesses more freely make decisions about what is best for their careers, families, and growth. People would be able to move jobs easily, innovate and build their own business, or work in the growing class of gig-economy jobs without the fear of bankruptcy from medical costs. (Charlie Simmons, 10/7) Trial Of Menendez And The Medicare-Milking Doctor Shows Flaws Of Single-Payer System
I don't know how the federal corruption trial of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez will turn out, but after following the case for almost four years I do know this: Medicare is guilty. Guilty of not having a "gate-keeper" that is. In health-care parlance, a gate-keeper is an administrator who decides whether a certain drug or treatment should be funded. ... But without such monitoring we see the sort of thing that was exposed last week at the trial in Newark of Menendez and his co-defendant, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen. (Paul Mulshine, 10/8)

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