KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Shredding Bachmann’s Vaccine Argument; ‘Super’ Or ‘Stupor’ Committee; Bennet On Outmoded Drug Safety Rules

MSNBC: HPV Vaccine Attack Could Harm 'Innocent' Girls
Vaccines were the biggest losers in Monday’s GOP presidential candidate's debate, specifically those that are intended to prevent cervical cancer. ... The main route of HPV infection is sex. That's why you need to vaccinate girls before they become sexually active. ... The vaccines are exceedingly safe, studies show. There have been very few reports of serious problems from them, none proven. It is simply a lie to say they can cause retardation  (Arthur Caplan, 9/13).

The Washington Post: Bachmann's Wrongheaded Attack On HPV Vaccinations 
About the only thing that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) gets right when she talks about the HPV vaccine is that she's not a scientist or a doctor. That lack of credentials, though, can't excuse the breathtaking ignorance that suffuses her comments about this critical health issue. Nor can it justify her demagoguery about a scientific advance that has the potential to protect thousands of women a year from contracting — and perhaps dying from — cancer (9/13).

The Wall Street Journal: Bachmann's Viral Politics
[S]ome of the [Republican] contenders seem determined to fulfill President Obama's caricature of conservatives as favoring no government at all. ... We revere "liberty interests" too, but kids aren't being strapped to gurneys here. The ethical and philosophical qualms about Mr. Perry's HPV bid are valid, but he was erring on the side of public health against a terrible disease in a country where six million people contract HPV every year (9/14). 

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Bachmann's Foolish Attack On Vaccines
Michele Bachmann kept her fading presidential campaign alive on Monday night with a breathtaking act of political irresponsibility — smearing a vaccine that could save the lives of 4,000 or more American women each year. ... This antiscience, antivaccine political ploy raises even more doubts about Bachmann's already questionable judgment. She's doing again what she's done for years, wielding half-truths and outright prevarication for personal gain (9/13).

The Washington Post: 'Super Committee'? More Than Stupor Committee. 
There are serious legislators on the panel — Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Max Baucus (Mont.), and Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) and Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.) — but there are also enough hardened partisans to encourage a suspicion that the committee has been set up to fail. That probably means committee members will agree on little more than cuts to discretionary spending programs, such as the Pentagon, homeland security, veterans benefits, food safety and air-traffic control (Dana Milbank, 9/13). 

Roll Call: Deficit Panel Could Change Economic World
There are many ways to restrain the growth curves of Social Security and Medicare without hitting core benefits for most recipients. Raising the Medicare age to 67 is feasible — but only if the Affordable Care Act is in place, providing alternative health insurance options for older Americans caught without jobs or Medicare (Norman Ornstein, 9/14).

Des Moines Register: We Need To Sort Fact From Fiction As Social Security Gets Dissected
We must continue pursuing reforms to slow the growth of costs in health care nationwide to make health insurance more affordable both for workers and retirees. But there is no factual basis for claims that there will be no Social Security and Medicare for future generations — unless voters elect representatives or a president determined to end the programs (Max Richtman, 9/14).

The Hill: Obama's Medicare Blunder
[The House passed] the Ryan plan with all but four House Republicans in support. All the rest just followed Ryan off the cliff, putting themselves on record in favor of a plan Americans overwhelmingly opposed. The Republicans had just, in their view, given away the 2012 election. Well, in Obama's jobs speech, he gave it right back to the Republicans by embracing his own version of Medicare cuts (Dick Morris, 9/13).

McClatchy: Working On The Exchange Gang
If you read the fine print in the first of the proposed "exchange" regulations, it becomes clear that the exchanges will be tightly regulated; insurance choices will be limited and dictated by Washington; and the federal government, rather than the states, will be in charge. … the 347-page proposal uses the word "require" more than 800 times and the word "must" nearly 440 times, according to a careful tally by a Capitol Hill staffer. Not much wiggle-room for the states there (Twila Brase, 9/14).

Politico: How Safe Is Your Medicine Cabinet?
It's been more than 70 years since the laws governing the nation's pharmaceutical industry were updated. ... Many regulations are woefully, and dangerously, outmoded, in the face of an increasingly globalized and opaque supply chain that is vulnerable to theft and criminal activity. ... Our system's lack of transparency makes it almost impossible to know who is actually handling our medicine (Sen. Michael Bennet, 9/13).

Denver Post: For Mentally Ill, Justice Fails Again
The news of a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional delays in evaluating mentally ill inmates by the state hospital in Pueblo is enough to leave Coloradans with the disoriented feeling that they're in a time warp. How many times must the courts be called in to protect the rights of this state's mentally ill? How often will budgetary pressure be cited as a reason for apparent neglect? (9/14).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Building Partnerships
A collaboration among Milwaukee's largest institutions of higher learning and two of its hospitals is a sign that the leaders of these institutions appreciate that they are stronger together than apart (9/13).

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