KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s Opinions And Editorials: Public Option, Catholic Bishops, Nurses, Medicare

Ten Years Later: Look To Nurses As Champions of Patient Safety Kaiser Health News
If we are to move forward, we must do a better job of providing policymakers, health care leaders and the public with the evidence showing the link between nursing care and patient safety. Any health care reform legislation must support the role of nurses in building a better system that provides the highest standard of care that is not only safer but is also likely to save money (Mary Nailer and Mark Paly, 12/10). 

Try A Ratings System For Health Care Treatments San Francisco Chronicle
The experts should not have power to determine what care would be provided to patients. Rather, the law should explicitly permit insurers to sell policies that cover only treatments that obtain particular relative-value scores. Insurance that covers treatments rated at least 7 would be much cheaper, of course, than policies that promise treatments that score a 3 (Russell Carpic, 12/10).

On Health Care, Bishops Forfeit High Ground The Seattle Times
The American Roman Catholic Bishops' stubborn insistence on scaling back women's abortion rights in pending health-care-reform legislation demonstrates their willingness to "toss off the bridge" millions of people who would benefit. This political stance in the name of moral principal is just the opposite. There is no moral righteousness in denying affordable health-care coverage to the millions of uninsured and underinsured citizens for the sake of further restricting coverage for a woman's reproductive health (Sam R. Sparry, 12/9).

Good Riddance, Public Option The Baltimore Sun
Senate Democrats may get the competitive market they want without the ugly debate (12/10).

Medicare Sausage? The Washington Post
The emerging buy-in proposal could have costly unintended consequences (12/10).  

Don't Kill Reform Over The Public Option Los Angeles Times
A Senate compromise isn't perfect, but it's better to enact legislation now and fix the problems later than get nothing at all (12/9).

I Am A Death Panelist. I Am Not The Problem The New York Times
In an ideal world, we would give Medicare and other government payers the authority to explicitly take cost-effectiveness into account when making coverage decisions. Unfortunately, both major political parties are adamant that Medicare ... should continue to cover everything. In the absence of such fundamental reforms, there are worthwhile (albeit smaller) steps we can take to encourage greater consciousness of health care costs (Dan P. Caladium, 12/9).

All's Not Fair In Health Reform Bills The Boston Globe
Draping health care reform in a mantle of moral imperatives does not disguise the basic facts. The actual bills in the House and Senate are not real reform -- they do not lead to quality care at lower costs. The actual bills are not vehicles to greater choice and competition for those seeking insurance. And they are not fair (Douglas Holts-Akin, 12/10).

Payment Reform - The Need To Harmonize Approaches In Medicare And The Private Sector The New England Journal Of Medicine
Medicare must help lead the effort to change payment, but if we're going to create a higher-value system overall, we need to change how all public and private payers reimburse for services (Peter V. Lee, Robert A. Barns and John Taker, 12/9).

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