KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Romney’s Plan To Cut The Debt; Congressional Squabbles On Spending; Spurning Insurers’ Concerns About New Labels

USA Today: Romney: How I'll Tackle Spending, Debt
First, eliminate every government program that is not absolutely essential. There are many things government does that we may like but that we do not need. … For example: Repeal ObamaCare, which would save $95 billion in 2016. …Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. … Second, return federal programs to the states where innovation, cost management and reduction of fraud and abuse can far exceed what Washington achieves. I will block grant Medicaid and workforce training, saving well over $100 billion in 2016 (Mitt Romney, 11/3).

Chicago Tribune: Still Dodging Budget Reality
The supercommittee, after all, is set up on the assumption that failure is a real possibility. … If they can't agree, a backup program will go into effect. Automatic cuts of nearly $1 trillion would take place. … The automatic cuts were imagined to be so excruciating that the supercommittee would have no choice but to agree on a plan. In reality, they are clearly the least painful option, making them hard for politicians to resist. … It gives Republicans their inviolable demand because it doesn't raise taxes. It lets Democrats protect the entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) they prize above all else (Steve Chapman, 11/3).

Politico: GOP Playing With The People's Budget
Along with waging war on the Affordable Care Act and women's basic right to family planning, the Republican budget also slashes deeply into health care funding. It seeks to gouge Title X, which has connected millions of American women to health care since 1970. It looks to cut deeply into funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nurse training initiatives, mental health services and teen pregnancy prevention programs. It also scales back the health reform bill’s investment in community health centers, which serve approximately 23 million patents across America, by at least $200 million. This means millions of patients will lose access to their primary source of health care (Rep. Rosa DeLauro, 11/2).

The Hill: We Must Address The Problems In Our Health Care System
Our health care system is facing many challenges, which were made worse by the president's health care law. The price of health care continues to rise, and it is directly threatening our future access to care.  From the rising costs businesses are facing because of the new health care law, to Congress' neglect to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR), legislation needs to pass that addresses these important issues.  The solution should not include creating new government-run programs, but rather repealing the law and replacing it with legislation that addresses the problems currently in our health care system (Rep. Phil Roe, 11/3).

The Wall Street Journal: RomneyCare Led The Way
Mr. Romney, in fact, did inspire California liberals with his Massachusetts insurance reform, which former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sacramento Democrats attempted to emulate in 2007 and 2008 (Joseph Rago, 11/3).

The Fiscal Times: The Economic Promise Of Aging Populations
Managing the financial meltdown seems to have precluded leaders from also addressing the longer-term underlying structural drivers of demographic change and the dependency models we now have for aging populations. It's time to turn this dependence into economic participation (Michael Hodin, 11/3).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Editorial: Sensible Guidance On HPV Vaccine
Late last month, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that boys and young men -- who can contract the virus and spread it -- get the HPV vaccine, too…. Limiting the vaccine recommendations to one gender ignores men's serious HPV health risks and their responsibility to help stop its spread. Parents have an obligation not only to vaccinate sons and daughters, but to ensure that the shots are accompanied by conversations about responsibility and family values (11/3).

Politico: Make Insurance Understandable
A new health insurance disclosure form, called the Summary of Benefits and Coverage, ... would standardize how consumers view health plan information — like premiums and deductibles. ... Unfortunately, groups representing the health insurance industry and employers want to undermine this new consumer information. In their comments on the proposed HHS rule, some groups are downplaying the value of the new forms to consumers or urging HHS to drop Coverage Examples entirely (Lynn Quincy, 11/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Solving The Growing Drug Shortages
Widening shortages of some essential injected drugs for chemotherapy and other treatments are leaving vulnerable patients without the medicines they need. So far, Washington's response will only reinforce the problem. Its policy prescription should instead be aimed at unwinding the regulations that created these scarcities in the first place (Scott Gottlieb, 11/4).

The Sacramento Bee: Here's An Rx For Medical Pot Mess
There is no ideal solution to get California out of its medical marijuana quagmire. But two steps would be a huge improvement and help fix much of what is broken with Proposition 215, approved by voters 15 years ago Saturday. If we're going to have medical marijuana, more research is needed on what diseases and conditions can be treated, what doses work best and how the drug can be most safely ingested. And that means getting marijuana off the federal government's Schedule 1 list of drugs (11/4).

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