KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Romney, Obama Offer Details Of Their Plans; The ‘Passionate Supply-Sider’ Who Taught Paul Ryan; Medicare Plan Has Not ‘Doomed GOP’

The Wall Street Journal: A New Direction For America 
All presidential elections matter. This one matters a great deal. It matters to the senior who needs medical care but, thanks to ObamaCare, can't find a doctor who is taking new Medicare patients. ... This election is about them. It is about all of us. ... It is about the education of our children, the value of our homes, the take-home pay from our jobs, the price of the gasoline we buy, the choices we have in our health care (Mitt Romney, 11/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Real Progress, But We're Not Done 
I've worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars of spending, and I'll do more. I'll work with anyone of any party to move this country forward. But I won't eliminate health insurance for millions of poor, elderly or disabled on Medicaid, and I won't turn Medicare into a voucher to pay for another millionaire's tax cut. That is surrender to the same philosophy that hurt middle-class families for too long (President Barack Obama, 11/2).

The New York Times: The Republican Id
The macroeconomics professor who helped shape Paul Ryan is a voluble, passionate supply-sider and self-described "hard-core libertarian" named William R. Hart. ... Hart's policy expectations for a Romney/Ryan regime are familiar from the campaign. ... They include entrusting health care for the poor, and as much else as possible, to the mercies of the states; requiring that Medicare compete in a voucher market; cutting marginal tax rates, of course. What is striking, talking to Ryan's mentor, is not the policies but the fervor and the deep suspicion of the other side's motives (Bill Keller, 11/4). 

The New York Times: What We Already Know
The second major development of the 2012 campaign has been the failure of Paul Ryan to emerge as the white hot ideological flash point that many on the left and right expected. Instead, from a purely political vantage point, Ryan has not only turned out to be an acceptable running mate – his home state, Wisconsin is unexpectedly in play — but his March 20, 2012 proposal to turn Medicare into a "premium support" (or voucher) plan has not, in and of itself, doomed Republican chances. ... the survey suggests that Democrats may have lost much of their overwhelming advantage among voters on the broad issue of health care, including Medicare (Thomas B. Edsall, 11/4).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama's Progressive Gamble
[W]ith a filibuster-proof Senate of 60 Democrats, (President Obama) began the Bataan death march to national health care—a new entitlement at a time when the current entitlement state is buckling and unaffordable. The Affordable Care Act is among the worst pieces of legislation ever passed, not least because Mr. Obama might have notched another bipartisan victory had he sought GOP input. When the bill ran into trouble with the public and even moderate Democrats, he plowed ahead anyway (11/4). 

Los Angeles Times: The Likely Winner -- Gridlock
Romney's professions of bipartisanship also collide with promises he has made to his own supporters — promises he could scarcely abandon even if he wanted to (and he says he doesn't). On "Day One" of his presidency, the GOP candidate says, he would begin the work of repealing Obama's healthcare law — something Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to block. If a straightforward attempt to repeal Obamacare fails in the Senate, many Republicans want to undermine the law by blocking its implementation and funding (Doyle McManus, 11/4).

The Hill: Healthcare Law On The Ballot
If President Obama wins and Democrats hold the Senate, the Affordable Care Act will survive. If Mitt Romney wins and Republicans take the Senate, the law is dead. It is the starkest of differences. ... We will either move to a federally-dominated healthcare system, or we will step away from that precipice and pursue different reforms (David Merritt, 11/2). 

NBC's/The Grio: How Do We Solve A Problem Like Health Care Reform?
[President Obama] has brought encouraging changes to a health insurance system which to this point had been largely a voluntary endeavor. … [However,] the President did not deliver pharmaceutical price negotiation to Medicare Part D. This could still deliver significant cost savings to taxpayers as well as Medicare beneficiaries. ... Secondly, the President failed to include a Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP)-like public option in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges. Not for lack of effort (Dr. Cedric Dark, 11/1).

The Wall Street Journal: A Referendum On ObamaCare And Liberty 
If President Barack Obama is re-elected, ObamaCare's controls over doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical firms and other providers of medical care will be tightened, and the operations of private insurance companies will be progressively restricted. ... If Gov. Mitt Romney is elected, by contrast, ObamaCare's controls will be turned to promoting freer, more competitive markets, laying the groundwork for legislative "repeal and replace" (Christopher DeMuth, 11/4). 

San Francisco Chronicle: Mentally Ill Miss Out On Prop. 63 Funds
California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act in 2004 because they know how mental illness debilitates their families, destroys their friends and harms their communities. It is thus disturbing that the state agency overseeing Prop. 63 spending is ignoring the requirements of the law -- to spend the funds it raises on services to individuals with serious mental illness (11/4).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Data And Quality Measures Essential For Better Health
This week we saw the first presentation of the Colorado All Payer Claims Database, a project of the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) that is jointly funded by the Colorado Health Foundation and The Colorado Trust. We at The Trust believe that the claims and costs data collected through the APCD, as well as specific measures of quality, will provide an essential missing part of the spectrum of data needed to inform health care decisions by business leaders, policymakers, providers, payers and, of course, health care consumers (Dr. Ned Calonge, 11/2).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Medicaid Cuts Would Harm Children And Families The Most
Medicaid, not Medicare, is the real Obama-Romney divide. Medicaid is one of the most cost-effective programs by which Americans receive health insurance and is far better than private health insurance at holding down costs. In contrast, millions of people using the health care system without health insurance increases health care costs for everyone in an uncontrolled manner.  Covering people under Medicaid and its related health plan, Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), improves the American health care system and saves money overall (Ballard Pritchett, 11/2).

The Arizona Republic: Phoenix Law Would Improve Access To Health Care
The Phoenix Access to Care Ordinance, crafted by our city's acute-care hospitals and city officials, led and championed by Mayor Greg Stanton, is a bold, financially sound measure to care for our uninsured and underinsured Phoenix residents who rely on emergency rooms when they are injured or ill. The ordinance will provide a new source of funds to keep those facilities fully operational in the midst of an economic downturn that is saddling hospitals with $540 million in uncompensated costs this year (Reginald M. Ballantyne III, 11/5).

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