Viewpoints: Premium Support Disadvantages; GOP Candidates & The Individual Mandate; Stop Fight Over High Court Recusals?
The New York Times: What About Premium Support?
Republican politicians are touting the virtues of market competition and calling for a "premium support" plan that would give beneficiaries a set amount of money to shop among private plans for their own insurance. What they do not say is that private plans have long been more costly than traditional Medicare and have shown far less ability to slow spending (12/3).
The Wall Street Journal: The ObamaCare Recusal Nonsense
No sooner had the Supreme Court agreed to hear the challenge to the constitutionality of the Obama administration's health-care overhaul than chatter began about whether either Justice Elena Kagan or Justice Clarence Thomas, or both, should be disqualified—"recused," in the argot of the law—from considering the case. But upon even a cursory examination of the facts it is clear that neither justice should step aside (Michael Mukasey, 12/5).
The Washington Post: Health Care And The High Court
Justices are not blank slates. They come to the court with personal views on a range of policy and political issues. They have a duty to decide cases, absent an incurable conflict; this is especially true at the Supreme Court, where, unlike lower courts, no other judge may fill the void created by recusal. But they must set aside personal preferences when deciding matters of law. We trust that Justices Thomas and Kagan will do that (12/4).
Boston Globe: Televise Health-Reform Hearing
The Supreme Court, in contrast to Congress and the high courts in other Western countries like Canada and Great Britain, forbids cameras the courtroom. Concerns have been raised that it would tempt appellate advocates to pander to a television audience and that Supreme Court judges would adjust their behavior to woo public opinion. These concerns pale in comparison to the loss that the public suffers from keeping court hearings closed (12/4).
National Journal: The Budget Wedge
Although nearly three-fifths of college-educated Republicans said the deficit-reduction package should raise the Medicare retirement age, nearly three-fifths of noncollege Republicans said it should not. In the September poll, the college-plus Republicans backed the House GOP idea to convert Medicare into a voucher-like system by a resounding 58 percent to 32 percent. Noncollege Republicans divided almost in half, with 48 percent supporting the idea and 43 percent opposing (Ronald Brownstein, 11/2).
The Hill: Denying Mandate Support Won't Work
What do Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, have in common? Long before President Obama, both supported an idea they now pretend to spurn — the idea of requiring people to buy health insurance. ... As governor of Utah in 2007, Jon Huntsman endorsed a healthcare reform plan from the United Way of Salt Lake City that called for a mandate (Juan Williams, 12/5).
The New York Times: Bring Health Care Home
Patients who are treated at home by a doctor and nursing staff who know them intimately and can be available 24/7 are happier and healthier. This kind of care decreases the infections, mistakes and delirium, which, especially among the elderly, are the attendants of hospital care. And it is far more efficient. ... We can’t rely on institutions to shrink themselves. We need to give that job to patients and their doctors, and move health care into the home, where it is safer and more effective (Dr. Jack Resnick, 12/4).
The Baltimore Sun: Living Longer, But With No Plan For The Final Act
During a meeting with a lawyer to update our wills, we concluded that one of us had better agree to die in a timely fashion so there is money to pay for the long-term care of the other. ... Estimates are that 70 percent of us will need some kind of residential care in the final years of life, and few of us have the savings or the insurance to pay for it — about $75,000 a year in a nursing home and about $20,000 a year for home care (Susan Reimer, 12/5).
Des Moines Register: Iowa Is Tapped Into The Health Care Rhetoric And The Grants
Iowa recently received a $7.7 million federal grant to help implement the health reform law. ... But Gov. Terry Branstad's staff doesn't say "thanks" and focus on getting Iowans health insurance. When asked about this grant, his spokesman said the money "means we will not need to use that portion of the state's general fund to implement the federal government takeover of healthcare," said Tim Albrecht. It's the old "federal government takeover" line. It's not just inflammatory; it's inaccurate (12/3).
The Miami Herald: Jackson Takes Its Medicine
The ongoing saga of Jackson Health System is not about one hospital — Jackson Memorial — fighting years of dysfunction. Rather, it has become a story of two hospitals — partners and competitors — trying to sustain themselves in an evolving healthcare environment. Write in humongous losses on one side, debt from a hospital purchase on the other, questions of control, declining patient volumes, cherry-picking insured patients, unhappy labor unions and, of course, politics, and a happy ending seems elusive (12/3).
The Seattle Times: Gov. Gregoire's Federal Marijuana Petition Welcome, If Overdue
Washington and Rhode Island Govs. Chris Gregoire and Lincoln Chafee have petitioned the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana so it can be prescribed and sold in pharmacies. Anything that moves the medical marijuana issue along and advances public understanding of its therapeutic value is a plus (12/4).