KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Conservatives Still Reeling From DC Circuit Ruling On Health Law; Minn. Lawmaker Upsets Plans For Federal Grants

The Washington Post: In Health-Care Ruling, Precedent Trumped Politics
"President Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave," exclaimed Maureen Martin of the Heartland Institute. A "Lazy Endorsement of Obamacare," read the headline on an article on National Review Online. A "strange opinion," concluded a Wall Street Journal editorial. These reactions were to a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate, a key provision of President Obama’s health care plan that requires most individuals to purchase insurance coverage. For many conservatives, adding insult to the injury of the ruling, released Tuesday, was its author: Laurence H. Silberman, a senior judge on the federal appeals court (11/10).

Politico: Can Health Ruling Sink Tea Party?
Of all the possible outcomes being tossed around as the Affordable Care Act litigation heads for Supreme Court consideration, one is usually overlooked: If the court upholds the act's constitutionality and its "individual mandate," it could sound the death knell for the tea party. The challenges to the mandate are perhaps the most concrete manifestation of the tea party's vision of the Constitution and the role of government (Elizabeth B. Wydra, 11/10).

The New York Times: Economix: Equalizing Payments For Medical Care
For some time now, health policy makers around the world and the analysts who advise them have been exploring reforms of the methods by which the providers of health care are paid or, as the latter prefer to call it, are "reimbursed." ... [E]very private health insurer in this country pays different physicians, hospitals and other providers of health care different prices for identical services. The flip side of this practice is that a given provider charges different payers – insurers or patients – different prices for identical health service. Economists call that practice "price discrimination" (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 11/11).

The Washington Post: The 2011 Elections: A Split Decision
On Tuesday, Ohio was the bellwether. Voters decisively voted down the Republicans’ newly enacted, Wisconsin-like rollback of public-sector workers’ benefits and bargaining rights. True, it took a $30 million union campaign that outspent the other side 3-to-1. True, repeal only returns labor relations to the status quo ante. And true, Ohio Republicans, unlike Wisconsin's, made a huge tactical error by including police and firefighters in the rollback, opening themselves to a devastating they-saved-my-grandchild ad campaign. Nevertheless, the unions won. And they won big. And yet in another referendum, that same Ohio electorate rejected the central plank of Obamacare — the individual mandate — by an overwhelming 2-to-1 margin (Charles Krauthammer, 11/10).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Playing Politics With Minnesotans' Welfare
[Minnesota Senate Human Services Finance chair David Hann's] decision to exercise [his option to hold up receipt of $25 million in federal health and human services grants] brought down the wrath of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. ... Hann's beef with the grants has at its nub his disapproval of federal over-spending and what he considers Washington's unconstitutional involvement in health care, though he also said he thinks the full Legislature should authorize state spending of any money, federal or otherwise ... If that thinking takes hold in the Legislature's majority, will rejection of Medicaid, higher ed Pell Grants, or transit and highway funding be next? (Lori Sturdevant, 11/10)

The New York Times: At A Big Church, A Small Group Health Solution
Saddleback (Church in southern California) launched the Daniel Plan, named for the Biblical story of Daniel, who rejected the king of Persia's rich food and wine for a diet of vegetables and water. Some 14,000 people signed up the first week, and 12,500 people are still involved, both at Saddleback and, through an online version, all over the world. ... A survey of participants taken last month (which relied on members' own reports about their progress) found that 72 percent of participants had lost weight. Lesser percentages reported more energy, better sleep, improvements in their cholesterol levels or blood pressure and other advances (Tina Rosenberg, 11/10).

The Washington Post: Putting AIDS On The Road To Extinction
After 30 years and 30 million funerals, the end of the global AIDS epidemic is suddenly, unexpectedly, within sight. It would be a final victory for this clever killer if America were too preoccupied and inward-looking to notice and act (Michael Gerson, 11/10).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A Step Backward On Sex Education
As vice president of community impact at United Way of Greater Milwaukee and coordinator of Milwaukee's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, I am shocked and disappointed in this week's vote by the Wisconsin Senate to repeal the Healthy Youth Act. … Unfortunately Senate Bill 237, authored and introduced by Sen. Mary Lazich, shifts the focus of sex education from aiding Wisconsin youths in making safe, healthy, responsible decisions to an antiquated curriculum that focuses on abstinence-only until marriage (Nicole Angresano, 11/10).

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