KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Some Who Supported Health Law Learning First-Hand About The Downsides; Small Businesses Not Finding Better Deals; Clinton Should Know There Is No ‘Magic Solution’

Los Angeles Times: Obama Supporter Miffed At Botched Healthcare Rollout
Margaret Davis of West L.A. voted for President Obama and appreciates the ideas behind the Affordable Care Act. She agrees that everyone should have access to healthcare and no one should be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But here's the problem: She knows firsthand, as the new law of the land rolls clumsily into being, that it's not working out to everyone's advantage (Steve Lopez, 11/12).

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare Questions Nobody Asked
"If we had to do it all over again . . . there would have been a whole lot more questions that were asked," President Obama told NBC last week. In this now-famous TV interview, Mr. Obama was referring to his health-care rollout, but there are plenty of other questions somebody should have asked. Here are a few: During the 2008 primary race, Mr. Obama, you rejected Hillary Clinton's proposed individual mandate. You said if health insurance were a good deal, nobody would have to be forced to buy it. ... why implement the mandate in a way that forces many people to buy insurance at inflated prices (a bad deal) in order to subsidize others? (Holman W. Jenkins Jr., 11/12). 

The New Republic: Bill Clinton Is Wrong. This Is How Obamacare Works.
[Former President Bill Clinton] made a statement that's likely to create some misimpressions about the possibilities of health care reform, while giving the administration and its allies yet another political headache. But maybe it's also an opportunity to have a serious conversation about the law's tradeoffs—the one that should have happened a while ago. ... Clinton’s statement makes it seem as if there is some simple way to let people keep their current plans—to avoid any disruption in the existing non-group market while still delivering the law’s benefits. As readers of this space know, no such magic solution exists (Jonathan Cohn, 11/13).

The Wall Street Journal: Small Business And Obamacare
One of President Obama's proudest boasts about the Affordable Care Act is that it helps small business. The White House website says the health law "makes it easier for businesses to find better coverage options" and "stops insurance companies from taking advantage of you, giving the consumer and business owner more control and making health-care coverage more affordable." Small businesses aren't buying it (11/12).

The New York Times' Economix: The Slow Death Of The Employer Mandate
Students of health reform can be informed and entertained by revisiting a book by the health reform champion John E. McDonough. As a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1985 to 1997, Mr. McDonough had worked for state health reform well before the now famous Romneycare health reform of 2006. During that time he also earned a doctorate in public health. Like many other former legislators, he wrote a book about his experiences and relationships in office. "Experiencing Politics" (published 13 years ago) organizes his stories around social science models of the political process, including the principal-agent model and punctuated equilibrium theory (Casey B. Mulligan, 11/13).

The New York Times: Trouble For The Contraception Mandate
With a ruling on Friday by the Seventh Circuit, a total of five federal circuit courts have weighed in on religious challenges to the health care law's contraception mandate. It now seems virtually certain that the Supreme Court, which is due to consider pending petitions for review on November 26th, will agree to decide the issue this term (Dorothy J. Samuels, 11/12).

The Wall Street Journal: Peggy Noonan's Blog: Obamacare Is The Story
Republicans should stop taking the boob bait of the press. The story of the day is ObamaCare and the pain it is causing the Democrats. That story is not being fully explored. We are not seeing pieces on Capitol Hill Democrats rethinking their four-year-long lockstep backing of a program that is failing massively and before the nation's eyes. ... The focus of political journalism now should be on what's happening on the Democratic side, because ObamaCare is a Democratic program. They bought it, they built it, what now? (Peggy Noonan, 11/12). 

The Washington Post: A Reversal Of Fortune For Democrats After Obamacare
Two months ago, polls showed Democrat Kay Hagan leading prospective opponents by double digits in her quest for a second term representing North Carolina in the Senate. So why is she so nervous? Well, her problem begins with Obamacare, ends with Obamacare and has a whole lot of Obamacare in between (Dana Milbank, 11/12). 

The Washington Post's The Plum Line: Dems To White House: Fix Obamacare, And Fast
This Friday, House Republicans are expected to vote on a proposal — championed by GOP Rep. Fred Upton — that would allow insurance companies the option of continuing all existing health plans for a year, in response to the loss of plans that has taken place despite Obama's vow otherwise. The White House points out that this will undermine the law. Dem leadership aides have predicted that some House Dems will vote for the plan. And CNN's Dana Bash stirred up chatter today when she Tweeted that "lots" of House Dems will vote for it if the White House has not put forth its own fix by the end of the week — in effect giving the White House a deadline. Obviously, "a lot" of Dems voting for this proposal would constitute another major Obamacare headache (Greg Sargeant, 11/12). 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gov. Chris Christie Calls Obamacare A Failed Policy
The Obamacare rollout has been a failure, but it's too early to say that the exchanges won't work. They need to work because there are too many people without health insurance. Health care is a civil rights issue and a person should not lose everything they worked for because of a medical issue. Christie is starting to position himself as a leader. In the interview he called himself a "can-do" chief executive but he was careful not to label himself as a moderate or a conservative leaning Republican. He doesn't want to give away too much too soon (James Causey, 11/12). 

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Obamacare Problems Much Bigger Than Flawed Websites
We should stop and remember that all previous health care acts did not turn on the success of a website. Medicare, Medicaid, ERISA and OMBRA83 never required heavy technological support. To this day, old Blue Cross mainframe software is used to pay Medicare claims and most of the insurance industry's legacy software is in sorry, pitiful shape (Francis Miller, 11/12).

Fox News: At Least One Group Of Americans Loves ObamaCare
Take a quick glance at ObamaCare's busted multimillion-dollar website and the 3.5 million health insurance cancelation notices hitting American mailboxes and you might be tempted to dub the whole thing a disaster. But it's not -- at least not for the politically-connected crony companies and big money Obama fundraisers poaching your tax dollars to fix the debacle they helped create. As CNBC recently put it: "Thanks to ObamaCare, the health-care industry is going to get a big makeover during the coming years and venture capitalists have wasted no time looking for ways to cash in." Put simply, ObamaCare’s complexity and catastrophic rollout create rivers of cash for Obama's cronies. So who are some of the winners in the ObamaCare crony capitalist giveaway? (Peter Schweizer, 11/12).

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