KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Different Takes: When It Comes To Obamacare, U.S. Still Paying Tom Price’s Tab; Approaching Health Reform From A New Vantage Point

Opinion writers offer a range of policy thoughts, including their takes on how Tom Price's Obamacare sabotage will continue after his departure; a recommendation the Republicans approach health reform from the angle of controlling costs, and other thoughts.

The Des Moines Register: Americans And Iowans Paid A High Price With Tom Price
During his short stint as health and human services secretary, Tom Price didn’t spend all his time on chartered airplanes billed to taxpayers. He was also busy making funding cuts to state programs, endangering disabled seniors, ignoring Medicaid waiver requests and sabotaging the Affordable Care Act. His resignation is welcome. So is his personal check to repay the public for his travels. Congress should ensure that money is delivered. And then lawmakers need to get their act together. (10/3)

Los Angeles Times: Tom Price May Be Gone, But The Trump Administration's Sabotage Of Obamacare Is Moving Ahead At Full Speed
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is gone, ushered out of office last week after being caught causing $1 million in unnecessary taxpayer expense by chartering private planes and taking military aircraft around the country and the world instead of flying commercial, like normal people. This looks like a case in which the right thing has happened for the wrong reason — or at least for an incomplete reason. The grounds for Price’s ouster should have been his atrocious management of the most important program under his jurisdiction, the Affordable Care Act. Instead of acting to make Obamacare work better for all Americans, Price took every step within his power to undermine the law in ways that will cost American families millions of dollars. (Michael Hiltzik, 10/3)

The Wall Street Journal: The Health Reform That Hasn’t Been Tried
Republicans have now failed twice to repeal and replace ObamaCare. But their whole focus has been wrong. The debate centered, like ObamaCare, on the number of people with health insurance. A more direct path to broadening access would be to reduce the cost of care. This means creating market conditions long proven to bring down prices while improving quality — empowering consumers to seek value, increasing the supply of care, and stimulating competition. (Scott Atlas, 10/3)

Stat: Medicare Innovation Can Spur The Next Round Of Payment Reform
Since its creation in the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has led efforts at CMS to advance alternatives to fee-for-service. ... But most payment reforms are still at relatively early stages, and private-sector innovators cannot make the shift without the government’s commitment to shift from volume- to value-based payments. With so much at stake, the actions of the Department of Health and Human Services are closely watched. The recent revisions in a set of mandatory payment reform pilots caused some to worry about continued HHS commitment to payment reform. (Mark McClellan and Mike Leavitt, 10/3)

The Washington Post: Congress Just Let The Program That Keeps My Daughter Alive Expire
My wife and are small-business owners. We teach music to small children and their families in our community. It’s work we love and care deeply about. But it makes it hard to get health insurance on our own. That’s why CHIP is so important: Because of the program, which provides health care to children of low- and moderate-income families, we could follow the advice of our doctors and Luna could get the care she needed. Luna could see new specialists and go to follow-up appointments without us risking bankruptcy — just the first few days of testing and evaluation cost up to $40,000. Thanks to CHIP, my wife and I could focus on growing our business and taking care of our family. (David Berzonsky, 10/4)

Des Moines Register: With Breast Cancer, Privatized Medicaid Adds Insult To Injury
At least at the cellular level, cancer doesn’t discriminate by income. It strikes rich people and poor people and those in between, forcing new reckonings and leaving emotional and physical scars. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but beneath all the pink-themed marketing is a new normal: Insurance coverage can dictate a woman's recovery. ... If your coverage is through Iowa’s Medicaid program for low-income people, you may find yourself unable to get a post-mastectomy breast prosthesis. That is, unless you can shell out up to $1,000 in cash. (Rekha Basu, 10/3)

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