KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s Op Eds: Taxes, Health Reform Myths, Federalizing Medicaid

Taxing Details That Harm Patients The Wall Street Journal
A new levy on Medicare Advantage plans would hurt lower-income seniors the most. ... For America's sake, reform needs to happen. But it's also too complex an issue to rush a treatment with details that might cause harm (Bob Dole, 1/12).

Health Reform Headaches The Democrats Don't Need The Washington Post
[T]here are some provisions in the pending legislation that, if included in the final bill, may well drape Democratic candidates with 'Kick Me' signs come November. One of these is the excise tax on more costly health insurance policies, a feature of the Senate bill that President Obama supports but that is opposed by organized labor and most House Democrats. Another is the fine to be paid by individuals who decline any coverage -- it's a relatively small amount (the Senate bill sets it at $95 for the first year) but an issue that could loom large in the political wars to come (Harold Meyerson, 1/13).

Afraid Of Health Care Legislation? USA Today
If so, relax. You're probably all worked up about four of the myths polluting this debate. ... Fear of health reform legislation's unintended consequences is understandable. But make no mistake, failure to pass it carries far greater risks (Steven Findlay, 1/13).

Apply Medicare Tax To Investment Income The [Grand Junction] Daily Sentinel
Some Democrats want to increase the Medicare tax for wealthy Americans and apply it to the investment income of those who make more than $200,000 a year. It's an idea we believe has merit (1/12).

Health Care Access For Women Includes Abortion Access The Bellingham [Wa.] Herald
Access to abortion should not be a political issue. Nor should it be used to derail the larger health care reform effort. Further restricting access to abortion under health care reform is bad policy and bad for women. Reform shouldn't make women worse off than they are today, but unfortunately, the current language around abortion does exactly that (Linda McCarthy and Elaine Rose, 1/12).

Cornhusks For All? Should The Feds Take Over Medicaid? Slate
The more Medicaid's funding flows from the federal government, the more likely the feds would exert other forms of control over the program-for instance, by finally bringing Medicaid fees in line with Medicare fees. For efficiency's sake, the feds might even merge the two programs, as they should have done 45 years ago (Timothy Noah, 1/11).

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