KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Check Out Those Nursing Home Stars; Rove A ‘Bleeding Heart Liberal’ On Medicare?

The New York Times: When Five-Star Care Is Substandard
Medicare has devised a rating system for nursing homes that portrays many of them as much better than they really are. Consumers should be aware that a top five-star rating from Medicare, achieved by a fifth of the more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide, may mask serious and potentially dangerous deficiencies (8/25). 

The Washington Post’s Plum Line: Bleeding Heart Liberal Karl Rove Attacks Senate Dems From The Left
The other day, I noted that Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS is up with a new ad that slices and dices Dem Senator Mark Pryor’s quotes to create the impression he supports raising the Social Security retirement age in ways that should frighten today's seniors. Just as they have in the last two cycles — in which Republicans have built national campaigns around dishonest attacks on Obamacare’s provider-side cuts to Medicare — this ad shows Republicans once again hitting Dems from the left on entitlements (Greg Sargent, 8/25). 

Los Angeles Times: Another GOP State May Be Signing Up For Medicaid, And The Reason Is Obvious
Reports out of Cheyenne say that Wyoming is finally talking to federal officials about expanding Medicaid. That would make Wyoming the 12th state with a Republican governor to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving 16 with GOP leadership still in the "no expansion" column. The reason for Wyoming's wavering is clear: It's money (Michael Hiltzik, 8/25).

Bloomberg: Loving And Hating Obamacare With One Muddled Mind
For those of us who pay close attention, it may seem weird that someone could hate Obamacare while loving almost every part of it. There must be one overriding opinion hidden in there -- pro or con -- that good research can isolate, no? Well, no. Sometimes, incoherence in the polls simply reflects incoherence among voters. We just have to live with that (Jonathan Bernstein, 8/25). 

Los Angeles Times: A Women's Rights Victory As California Nixes An Attack On Abortion Coverage
With minimal fanfare, California state officials have nixed an underhanded effort by two Catholic-affiliated universities and their insurers to deprive the universities' employees of insurance coverage for abortions. The move by the Department of Managed Health Care is one of the strongest statements in favor of women's reproductive health rights you're likely to hear from officials of any state, at a time when those rights are under systematic attack. So it's proper to pay attention (Michael Hiltzik, 8/25). 

Los Angeles Times: Trying To Save The Contraception Mandate By Changing Its Address
Here's a prediction: The next legal battle over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate will be over who has to write what kind of letter to whom. The administration announced Friday the latest tweaks to the requirement that all new employer-sponsored health plans include coverage for female contraception with no out-of-pocket costs. The changes, which respond to a pair of Supreme Court rulings, are designed to keep the coverage in place for female employees while allowing more religious-affiliated nonprofits and some privately held for-profits to distance themselves further from the transaction (Jon Healey, 8/25).

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