KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Health Law’s Consumer Safeguards; Shredding Medicare’s Safety Net; Georgia’s Trauma Crisis

Los Angeles Times: Of Doctors And Drug Makers
Requiring the makers of drugs and medical devices to disclose most payments and gifts to physicians will protect patients and reduce medical costs. ... [the federal health law] requires the makers of drugs and medical devices to disclose most payments and gifts to physicians (1/27).

Politico: 'Obamacare' Shreds Social Safety Net
It's a Democratic campaign staple to attack Republicans for wanting to "destroy" Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but (President Barack) Obama has done a better job of that than anyone. Syrupy rhetoric is no antidote for his terrible economic policies. Start with Medicare. The trustees who run the program have been telling us for some time that the current benefit and financing system is unsustainable (Frank Donatelli, 1/26).

Forbes: Health Insurers Say Telling Truth On Costs Is Just Too Expensive
One of the lesser known—but highly useful— creations of the Affordable Care Act is a provision which requires health insurance companies to provide plan summaries that allow people to read, in simple and clear English, what they are getting for their premium dollar. ... I’m getting more than a little tired of the health insurance companies telling us the sky is falling on our premium costs every time they are asked to simply do the right thing  (Rick Ungar, 1/26).

Chicago Tribune: A Change For Better Treatment
Gov. Pat Quinn announced plans last week to close two state mental health institutions and move their patients into community-based care. The governor is getting a ton of heat over this decision, from politicians, from parents of patients and from community leaders. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. said the state is "balancing its budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens." ... [Quinn is] making a sound decision in terms of public health and the state's financial health (1/27). 

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare System Woes Clearly Seen In Cataract Patient's Case
Blue Shield wants to keep costs down for members and thus is seeking to limit how much the company has to pay for medical treatment. UCLA wants to negotiate rates that it believes are commensurate with the quality of care it provides. That sort of dynamic might work fine if we were talking about Wal-Mart, say, haggling with its suppliers. But this isn't about the cost of bed sheets or cookware. This is about people's lives (David Lazarus, 1/27).

Georgia Health News: Remember Trauma Care? It's Time We Did 
Georgia still needs a dedicated revenue stream to upgrade and expand its trauma center network. Thirty-three states have found ways to permanently fund trauma care, but our state lags behind (Matt Caseman, 1/26). 

The Dallas Morning News: Public Trust Demands Parkland Come Clean On Consultants' Report
The public pays to operate the hospital, paid for a detailed examination of what it's getting for its money and deserves a detailed accounting (1/26).

Medscape: Why Income May Drop if You Sell Your Practice to a Hospital
Recent reports from the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) show that hospital-owned practices are 25% less productive than those that are privately owned. ... Here are the major roots of the problems and some suggested solutions (George Conomikes, 1/26).

Des Moines Register: Irony Behind A Proposed Amendment
You may not have heard of Joint Resolution 5, but 34 Iowa lawmakers have signed onto it. It seeks to amend the Iowa Constitution to "preserve the freedom of Iowans to provide for their own health care." ... The irony, of course, is that lawmakers could be exercising that freedom right now. But they are not. All but three of them now relies on taxpayers to pick up the cost of their health insurance (1/26).

The Minneapolis Star Tribune:  Tough Talk For Minnesota's Medical Community 
The state's world-class inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs have a key role to play as the nation wrestles with this era's most pressing crisis: making health care affordable without sacrificing quality (Jill Burcum, 1/26).

The Kansas City Star: Looking For A Healthy Plan
After six years of feuding, the Police Department and City Hall are closer than ever to endorsing a unified health insurance plan that could save money for Kansas City taxpayers. … If the city really can deliver lower total monthly premiums for cops, that’s something to promote (1/26).


This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.