KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Dem Lawmakers On Fighting Repeal; Debating Judge Vinson’s Impact; Medicaid Cuts

Politico: Why We Fight Health Reform Rollback
Along with our Democratic colleagues in the Senate, we plan to review individual provisions in the law that may not work as intended. But we are not willing to allow a wholesale rollback of health care reform that could take away popular benefits from American families, jeopardize the health and well-being of millions and add more than a trillion dollars to the deficit (Sens. Ben Cardin, Chuck Schumer, Sherrod Brown and Debbie Stabenow). 

The Washington Post: Health Care's Federal Future, Brought To You By The GOP
"Good afternoon, I'm Brian Williams reporting from Washington, where it looks like October 26, 2017, will be a day that truly goes down in history. In a few moments, at a table not far from where I now stand, President Hillary Clinton will sign into law the universal health-care legislation -- "Medicare for All," as she calls it ... when historians look back on this period, they'll see it as a classic case of shortsighted politics -- of Republicans winning the battle but losing the war  (Matt Miller, 2/3).

The Hill: Health Care Debate Must Not Forget The Vulnerable
As a pastor who strives to follow the scripture-recorded call of Jesus to "heal the sick," I consider access to health care to be a faith-based goal. ... We should not rush a debate about dismantling legislation that was crafted over many months of study and expert input. Provisions that ease suffering, save lives, and attend to the most vulnerable are just now getting started (Joel Hunter, 2/2). 

The Wall Street Journal: States Of Resistance 
The larger story here is that the legal and political challenges against ObamaCare are revealing the rotten process and substance of this misbegotten law, and that the only way to fix this is to repeal it and start over (2/3).

The Hill: Judge's Ruling Is A Victory For Constitutionalism
Do I believe that this bill will be a bureaucratic nightmare, a cancerous financial drain, and a government-centered rather than patient-centered approach to healthcare? Absolutely. However, like Judge Vinson states, this discussion is not about anyone's opinion of this legislation. It is about the Constitutional constraints of federal power (Rep. Paul Broun, M.D., 2/2).

Des Moines Register: Court Should End Health Reform Uncertainty
States are already working on complicated and time-intensive changes needed to set up insurance exchanges and expand Medicaid. Americans are planning to keep their kids on their insurance plans longer. Or they're mulling over ideas about starting a new business in a few years when they'll finally be able to buy affordable insurance on their own. How is anyone -- from state governments to families to insurance companies -- supposed to plan when the future is uncertain? They can't (2/2). 

USA Today: Our Ford Pinto Health Care Law Takes A Hit
Borrowing an attack that has more often been heard from Republican administrations, Stephanie Cutter, a senior adviser to President Obama, issued a statement denouncing Vinson as a "judicial activist." That charge was quickly picked up by Democratic lawmakers. The evidence cited for this charge was the fact that Vinson "declared that the entire law is null and void even though the only provision he found unconstitutional was the (individual mandate) provision," which requires every citizen to buy health insurance (Jonathan Turley, 2/2). 

CNN: Why Health Care Ruling Not A Game-Ender
Perhaps Vinson, like me, realizes that the constitutional litigation regarding the health care law is still very much in the early innings. ... We would do well as a nation to allow the litigants and courts the time and space necessary to ensure a full ventilation of the relevant legal and factual questions before the lower courts and then the Supreme Court. Vinson's otherwise flawed opinion does precisely that (David Engstrom, 2/2). 
Kaiser Health News: Is Richard Foster Right About Health Care Costs? 
Last week, before a lower federal judge in Florida declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, another relatively obscure government figure generated news about health care reform. It was Richard Foster, the chief actuary at the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid. ... If we're going to take Foster seriously, it's important to be clear about what he said, what he didn't say, and what it all it means (Jonathan Cohn, 2/2). 

The Wall Street Journal: The Politics Of Saving 'Granny'
In a speech last Friday defending his health-care law's effect on seniors against GOP attacks, Mr. Obama said, "I can report that Granny is safe." She may not feel that way if she's one of the 700,000 seniors whose private Medicare Advantage insurance policy was not renewed last year because her insurance provider quit the business (Karl Rove, 2/3). 

McClatchy: Administration Playing Politics With Health Care
Is the Obama administration playing favorites in granting friendly corporations and unions waivers for health-care reform mandates? It's hard to reach any other conclusion in watching the health overhaul unfold: If you have political connections, you can be protected from some of the most onerous and costly mandates in the legislation (Grace-Marie Turner, 2/1). 

Houston Chronicle: Babies And Grandmas: Who Will Texas' Medicaid Cuts Hurt? All Of Us -- But The Oldest And Youngest Most Of All
For most of us, Medicaid seems far from our everyday lives; we think of it as a program that covers people who've been poor, or will be poor, all their lives. But actually, Medicaid generally winds up helping people who spend most of their days in the middle class. According to the Texas Hospital Association, 50 percent -- half! -- of all the babies delivered in Texas are billed to the program. And according to the AARP, Medicaid covers two-thirds of the elderly in nursing homes. ... Texas can't afford to treat its babies and its elderly so badly. It's time to tap that rainy-day fund (2/2).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Needs A Cabinet-Level Public Health Agency
Currently, the state is served by a Division of Public Health that is just one of many parts that make up the Department of Community Health. Public health, however, is an altogether different discipline. It focuses on populations rather than individuals, and it places an emphasis on awareness, engagement and prevention. As long as the Division of Public Health remains buried in another state agency, our situation won't improve, because there are always conflicting priorities within larger departments (Drs. Phillip L. Williams and James W. Curran, 2/2). 

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