KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: The Cost Of A VA Fix; Virginia GOP ‘Must Be So Proud’; Health Law Critics’ Argument Backfires

The Wall Street Journal: The Second VA Scandal
The Veterans Affairs scandal has exposed a failing bureaucracy, so naturally Congress's solution is to give the same bureaucracy more money. The underreported story is that taxpayers could end up paying $50 billion each year so Congress can claim to have solved the problem (6/18). 

The Huntsville Times/ Does Alabama Already Have A Better Healthcare Model Than The Medicaid Expansion?
Governor Bentley has called the ACA Medicaid expansion "a federal government dependency program for the uninsured." On the other end of the political spectrum, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Parker Griffith claims that growing Medicaid will generate "30,700 new jobs, [a] $2.1 billion economic boost, plus 500 lives saved every year." If even the most ardent proponent of the Medicaid expansion in Alabama advocates the economic stimulus of the ACA Medicaid expansion ahead of improving healthcare outcomes, the debate over Medicaid has clearly become more about money and politics than helping vulnerable Alabamians (Cameron Smith, 6/18).

The Virginian-Pilot: Dear State GOP: Your Medicaid "Win" Is A Loss For A Lot Of Hard-Working Folks
Congratulations, Republicans in the state General Assembly. You've beaten back attempts to provide health care to as many as 400,000 lower-income, uninsured residents in the commonwealth. You must be so proud. ... During this months-long debate, you've shown no inclination for compromise. You've sought additional study of Medicaid in Virginia, even though state officials say the program has been audited more than 50 times over the past decade. Hey, if Obamacare was changed to -- say, Romneycare, on which it is based -- would you change your mind? Just wondering (Roger Chesley, 6/19). 

The New Republic: This Is What It Looks Like When An Obamacare Attack Backfired
Some House Republicans on Wednesday set out to make Obamacare look bad. They ended up making it look good. It happened at a hearing of the Oversight Committee. The subject was the Affordable Care Act's "shock absorbers"—programs called risk corridors, reinsurance, and risk adjustment through which insurance companies can collect government subsidies if they lose large sums of money. ... it turns out that the insurers provided some other information. The House Republicans didn't talk about it, but Democrats on the committee did. The additional data was about enrollment by age—what the insurers expected to get, and what they actually got. It turns out that enrollment among 18-to-34 year olds actually exceeded expectations, both in absolute and relative terms (Jonathan Cohn, 6/19).

The Fiscal Times: Why Health Care Is Still A Winning Sector
The irrefutable expansion of American health care has been a boon to investors, who have been reaping the benefits in stocks, mutual- and exchange-traded funds in the sector. Health care stocks have outperformed the S&P 500 Industrial Index over the last three and five years and continue to outpace the broad-based average (John F. Wasik, 6/19).

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