KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Bipartisanship On Medical Device Tax; ‘Overreach’ In Contraception Fight

The Wall Street Journal: A Bipartisan Tax Repeal
Bipartisanship arrived in Washington on Thursday, not that many in the media will hail it. That's because the sweet harmony involved a 270-146 House vote to repeal ObamaCare's 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. ... The Beltway wisdom is that the device tax repeal is dead on arrival in the Senate, but don't be so sure. The $30 billion the tax is supposed to steal will create unusual havoc due to its application on sales rather than profits, and even otherwise down-the-line liberals like Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota, again) realize it (6/7).

USA Today: Editorial: In Contraception Battle, Both Sides Overreach
The continuing battle between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church over birth control, almost 50 years after the issue was settled for virtually all women in the U.S., can be summed up in one word: overreach (6/7).

USA Today: Opposing View: Catholic Diocese Of Pittsburgh: ‘We Did Not Pick This Fight’
Last August, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring religious institutions to facilitate activities that violate their religious and moral convictions. The only church-sponsored organizations exempted are those that primarily employ and serve people of the same faith. This means that none of our social service agencies — hospitals, universities, free health clinics and soup kitchens — would be exempt (David A. Zubik, 6/7).

USA Today: Opposing View: HHS: ‘We Will Achieve Our Shared Goals’
For too long, many Americans couldn't afford the preventive care they needed to stay healthy. The 2010 health care law ensures millions of Americans won't pay an extra penny out of their own pockets for preventive services such as vaccines for children, critical cancer screenings and wellness visits for many seniors. And women won't have to pay more for preventive services — including contraception — that the respected Institute of Medicine says are important to protecting their health (Mary Wakefield, 6/7).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Bill Of Unhealth: State Rep’s Aim To Defund Planned Parenthood Will Hurt Many
The Whole Woman's Health Funding Priority Act essentially would defund Planned Parenthood from providing health services like screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as contraception for 120,000 Pennsylvanians annually. Even though both state and federal law prohibit the use of any taxpayer money to be spent on abortions, Metcalfe insists that "They [Planned Parenthood] provide this testing to bring women in the front door, at the same time there is someone in the backroom performing abortions." Maybe Metcalfe didn't intend for this to be a factual statement, because it isn't (6/8).

Arizona Republic: Economy, Not Recall, Forces Pension Fix
In Wisconsin, Walker proposed to control government spending by reducing benefits for a subset of the electorate, government workers. The spending problem with the federal government isn't the benefits for government workers. It's the benefits for the rest of us. To his credit, Romney has proposed to rein in entitlement spending. … On Medicare, he supports changing it into a program that subsidizes insurance premiums rather than simply pays medical bills. To his discredit, Obama has made no meaningful proposals to get entitlement spending under control (Robert Robb, 6/8).

Denver Post: Improving Colorado Health Care
The Affordable Care Act was passed in large part because of recognition that our nation's health care system is not working. The act is not perfect, but it is a starting point, and we have been using it to improve the health of Coloradans. Colorado is undergoing a thoughtful, bipartisan reform process that makes our state a model for how to get this right. Many of the ideas that are in health reform are not new, and in fact were identified by Colorado's own Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform in 2008 (Gov. John Hickenlooper, 6/8).

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