KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: The Right Amount Of Health Care Spending; Protecting Jobs In Hospitals; Wal-Mart’s Signal About Employer Coverage

The New York Times: Spending More Doesn't Make Us Healthier
Unfortunately, few people really understand how much we spend on health care, how much we need to spend to provide quality care, and the difference between the two. Do we spend too much? Would cutting costs require rationing, or worse, death panels? (Ezekiel J. Emanuel, 10/27).

Los Angeles Times: Be Careful Of Cuts To Hospitals
Since the start of the Great Recession, California has lost 1.3 million jobs and hit unemployment numbers unseen since 1982. But while other sectors struggle to retain workers, healthcare is one of the few sectors actually creating jobs, especially in hospitals (Thomas M. Priselac, 10/28).

Los Angeles Times: Wal-Mart Offers Latest Sign That Employer-Based Health Coverage Is Failing
When Wal-Mart, the country's largest private employer, announced the other day that it's cutting back on health coverage for workers, it wasn't just the latest sign that our healthcare system is out of reach for a growing number of people. It was also the clearest indication to date that our employer-based health insurance system has let us down, saddling millions of families with rising healthcare costs and leaving millions more out in the cold (David Lazarus, 10/28).

Houston Chronicle: 'Payees' For Mentally Ill Need Sharp Oversight
Imagine if your child suffered from a mental illness that was so overwhelming that he or she left home, hit the streets and fell under the spell of a convicted murderer. ... Fortunately, we've never come across anything approaching the twisted situation uncovered in Philadelphia. But that case should serve as a strong warning to Social Security officials in Texas of what can happen and why it's critical that they more stringently oversee the way payees manage the affairs of others in this state (10/27).

San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Mayor Wisely Vetoes Health Care Adjustment
(Supervisor David) Campos is talking about going directly to voters with an all-or-nothing ballot measure (to force employers to tie up large sums of money that might not necessarily increase workers' access to health care). A much more sensible and durable option would be for the mayor and supervisors to work with business and labor interests for a measure that more directly addresses the problem by providing more time and flexibility for workers to access their accounts, plus requiring employers to inform workers of the benefit and keep them updated on their account balances (10/27). 

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