Viewpoints: Obama’s Lessons From LBJ; Plan B Positions; Choosing Gingrich
The New York Times: To Fix Health, Help the Poor
In 2005, for example, the United States devoted only 29 percent of gross domestic product to health and social services combined, while countries like Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark dedicated 33 percent to 38 percent of their G.D.P. to the combination. We came in 10th. What’s more, America is one of only three industrialized countries to spend the majority of its health and social services budget on health care itself. For every dollar we spend on health care, we spend an additional 90 cents on social services. In our peer countries, for every dollar spent on health care, an additional $2 is spent on social services. So not only are we spending less, we’re allocating our resources disproportionately on health care (Elizabeth H. Bradley and Lauren Taylor, 12/8).
The Washington Post: What Obama can learn from LBJ
Even Obama's signal legislative success, the Affordable Care Act, reflects his failure to understand how to use the presidency. Difficulties in implementation — 26 states are suing to kill the law; Republican presidential candidates promise to repeal it; long-term care has been scrapped for lack of funds — stem from having allowed partisans in Congress shape the bill and pass it on party-line votes in both houses. In contrast, I remember LBJ saying that “we must have” Republican support for Medicare and Medicaid, because if “we don’t have bipartisan support on the take-off, the programs will never make it to the landing” (Joseph A. Califano Jr., 12/8).
USA Today: 'Morning-After Pill' Ruling Goes Beyond Safety
By restricting Plan B to prescription-only for younger teens, the government in essence leaves these girls with two choices: Asking older siblings or friends to obtain the drug for them, or confiding to parents and doctors that they've just had unprotected sex. Teens are more likely to wait and see what happens. Then it will be too late: The pill works only if it's taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the sooner the better (12/8).
USA Today: Another View: Plan B Promotes Risky Choices
The outrage coming from abortion advocates over Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision not to allow girls under 17 to purchase the Plan B contraceptive without a prescription shows just how far out of step they are with most Americans. But the pro-life movement welcomes Sebelius' decision, and hopes that HHS will revisit the question of whether Plan B should be available over the counter to anyone (Eric Scheidler, 12/8).
Chicago Sun Times: Obama's Plan B Policy Will Hurt Pregnant Girls
Few sights are sadder than a young teenage girl who is pregnant. Scores of studies spell out what nobody really has to be told: The girl is overwhelmingly less likely to finish school, hold a job, get married, stay off welfare or raise her child well. … The social cost is immense. And yet the Obama Administration on Wednesday, in a decision transparently driven by politics, overruled the Food and Drug Administration and an army of medical experts by refusing to allow an emergency contraceptive pill to be sold to girls under the age of 17 (12/8).
The Baltimore Sun: Plan B Is Overruled
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision this week to overrule the Food and Drug Administration commissioner and refuse to authorize girls under age 17 to have over-the-counter access to the emergency contraceptive pill known as Plan B is exactly the kind of triumph of politics over science that one might expect of the last administration. … Perhaps Mr. Obama felt an obligation to balance some of his more progressive policies (insisting contraceptives be funded under health insurance reform, for instance). But how disappointing that he would make that political calculation at the expense of teen girls who, instead of the bogus threat of a commonly used drug, must face the very real health threat of unwanted pregnancy (12/8).
Mercury News: A Lost Opportunity To Avert Teen Pregnancies
Obama is being heavily pressured by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to back away from his decision to require health insurance companies to cover contraception as preventive care, in effect making it available to women without co-payments. … The Catholic Church can't even convince its own members to adhere to its prohibition on birth control: 98 percent of Catholic women in the United States use some form of contraception. The public interest clearly lies in making safe birth control readily available to women of all income levels. ... Sebelius' decision on Plan B will cause real harm. Now Americans who had trusted Obama's commitment to science and to women's reproductive rights can only hope it's not a harbinger of more harm to come (12/7).
McClatchy/The Myrtle Beach Sun: When Health Care Bills Are A Bigger Fear Than Dying
Decisions are nearly impossible in the emotional vortex known as end-of-life care. … At the end, with friends and family gathered around Devin, there was no talk of death panels or which political party cherished life more or if the private market was better than government intervention. ... Most of the problems Devin had to navigate through a schizophrenic medical system came long before that day. The problems, the bills, her family’s ability to get along and cope in the aftermath, all of that created uncertainty in Devin’s mind even as those desmoid tumors destroyed her from the inside out (Isaac J. Bailey, 12/9).
Des Moines Register: Republicans Would Take A Giant Step Backward By Choosing Gingrich
Unfortunately, while all Republican candidates would be an improvement over the present administration, two of the current frontrunners simply do not represent the tea party, the conservative movement, or the type of change our country desperately needs in 2012. ... Both Romney and Gingrich have been outspoken and unapologetic supporters of the individual mandate. This is the heart and soul of ObamaCare (Sen. Rand Paul, 12/8).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Soft Drink Tax Won’t Conquer Obesity
A new tax won't teach Minnesotans to live healthy lifestyles or change their behavior. Obesity is a complex and serious problem that requires thoughtful and comprehensive solutions. Targeting one product in the grocery cart while adding a bigger tax burden to the hard-working people of Minnesota is not the way to do it (Annette Meeks, 12/8).
Boston Globe: New Hospital Battleground
News out of the health care industry is all about transactions these days. Doctors and hospitals are buying, merging, forming alliances, and even switching teams. Most of that action involves physicians and acute-care general hospitals. Here's a new category to add to the mix: Long-term post-acute hospitals, which offer medical and rehabilitation services to patients who do not need all the resources of a general hospital (Syre, 12/9).