OpEds: Ryan On ‘Welfare State;’ Wisconsin Health Care; Facing AIDS; Penn. Safety Net
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: The Choice: Welfare State Or Opportunity Society
Government health programs can help fulfill the mission of health security, but the current structures of Medicare, Medicaid - and now Obamacare - rely on a faulty architecture that puts the federal government in charge on health care decision-making. Without true choice and competition, the only way to control costs in this system is to impose price controls, restrict access and rob consumers of basic choices about their own health care - in other words, to take the approach enshrined in the Democrats' new law (Rep. Paul Ryan, 12/11).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Bye-bye, Safety Net
Last week more than 200 Pennsylvania organizations and individuals warned Gov.-elect Tom Corbett about a crisis that will hit within weeks after he takes office. The bare-bones health-insurance program called adultBasic could run out of funding by the end of February - and 43,000 current participants would lose their lifeline to medical care. Like thousands of other Pennsylvanians, they would have to wait until 2014, when the health-care-reform law will become fully operational. The impact of so many people being thrown off the rolls at once would be devastating, not only for those who would lose their safety net but for health-care providers and the general economy (12/13).
The Wall Street Journal: Badger Rebellion
Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has laid out an ambitious agenda, such as turning the department of commerce into a public-private partnership and lifting the cap on school vouchers. But his boldest idea may be rescinding the right of government employees to collectively bargain. Mr. Walker floated the idea last week in response to union opposition to his modest proposal to require employees to contribute 5% of their pay to their pensions and to increase their health-care contributions to 12% from as low as 4% today (12/13).
The New York Times: A Serious Man
There is a conceit, especially popular among the press corps, that the salvation of America depends exclusively on self-described moderates and centrists. If there's a path out of gridlock and insolvency, this theory goes, it can't be charted by consistent conservatives or liberals. This vision doesn't leave much room for a figure like Tom Coburn, Oklahoma's junior Republican senator (Ross Douthat, 12/12).
Houston Chronicle: Medicaid Fraud Crackdown Threatens Citizens' Rights
In the case of Medicaid fraud, the Texas Legislature has not only encouraged but required government agencies to mix civil and criminal investigations on such a regular basis that the constitutional rights of the people and businesses being investigated are being trampled routinely (Philip Hilder, 12/11).
McClatchy / The (S.C.) Rock Hill Herald: Congress Turns A Deaf Ear To The Poor
Last year, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, caused a stir when he said on the House floor that the Republican alternative to the Democrats' health care plan had two elements: 1. Don't get sick; and 2. If you get sick, die quickly. Some S.C. Republicans apparently don't care how long it takes people without health insurance to die; they just don't want to hear about it (Terry Plumb, 12/12).
The Baltimore Sun: St. Joseph Should Review Additional Midei Cases
Compassionate care for everybody is St. Joseph Medical Center's mission. You can decide whether the hospital's decision to suppress its own finding that its patients suffered "substantial likelihood of harm" is compassionate. Last year, a committee of St. Joseph doctors determined that Dr. Mark Midei implanted cardiac stents in dozens of cases where they weren't needed, resulting in "the substantial likelihood of harm to his patients" and "the potential for serious complications," according to an internal document published in a Senate Finance Committee report last week (Jay Hancock, 12/12).
Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel: Facing The AIDS Threat
Most black men are made to feel less than a man if they are open about being gay. Homophobia forces them underground, putting not only themselves at risk but the men and the women they use to shield their closeted lifestyles - hence the term "down-low" (James E. Causey, 12/11).