Viewpoints: Partisanship, Debt Ceiling Talks And Medicare; Health Cost Frustration; Praising Betty Ford
Los Angeles Times: The Debt Ceiling And Wrong-Way Republicans
After initially endorsing the idea of an ambitious deficit deal, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) retreated over the weekend, calling for only about $2 trillion in savings. ... That position rules out a deal that would make real progress on the deficit while also achieving some top GOP goals, including curbing the growth of Medicare and Medicaid and simplifying the tax code with lower rates and a broader base. By confusing rigidity with principle, Republicans are letting Obama portray them - accurately - as extremists defending "egregious tax loopholes" (7/12).
The Washington Post: Mr. Obama's Debt Deal Advice: Give Peas A Chance
In truth, as the president said, entitlement reform - including reform that contemplates benefit cuts - is the truly progressive position. Sensible changes in Social Security and Medicare, targeted at those most able to absorb them, would enable those programs to protect those whose need is greatest (7/11).
National Journal: Get Out Of The Comfort Zone
Republican members of Congress and presidential candidates are hearing almost exclusively from tea party activists and other vocal conservatives, who are saying, "Don't do anything that would raise taxes or even close tax loopholes." Democratic lawmakers are hearing from activists on the Left and their own constituencies, who are saying, "Any reduction of any kind in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid would be absolutely unacceptable." ... [M]members should try a little door-knocking and seek out audiences that don't consist almost entirely of the party faithful (Charlie Cook, 7/11).
Kaiser Health News: A Medicare Reform Model Everyone Can Love (Guest Opinion)
If Congress wants to preserve what matters most to Medicare enrollees -- you know, the people the program is supposed to serve -- then there's no better way than to give them the money and let them decide which benefits are most important. Who better to judge what benefits seniors than seniors themselves? That's how FDR subsidized them, anyway (Michael Cannon, 7/11).
The Wall Street Journal: We Can't Afford To Train Fewer Doctors
Seeking to reduce the federal budget, Democratic and Republican lawmakers are looking at cutting funds for graduate medical education. Specifically, they're considering reducing the Medicare reimbursement for doctor training, possibly in half, to cut about $4 billion from the federal budget. This could dramatically limit the ability of patients to see physicians, even for critical illnesses. ... The short-term budgetary savings of graduate medical education cuts are not worth the long-term negative impact on patients (Drs. Herbert Pardes and Edward D. Miller).
Bloomberg: Medicine's Big Mystery, What Does Treatment Cost?
In 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 29. The cancer was small and, in terms of surgery and immediate recovery, things went well. But my five-year follow-up treatment has been an endless loop of side effects that generate their own costs and -- often just as stressful -- a dizzying accumulation of medical debt. Repeatedly I have been stunned by bills I didn't expect because no one -- not doctors, hospitals or insurance companies -- could tell me in advance how much their services would cost (Mimi Ferraro, 7/12).
CNN: Betty Ford Brought Breast Cancer Out Into The Open
By founding the Betty Ford Center, (Betty Ford) bravely writ large her own personal struggles while leading our nation to understand that substance abuse and addiction were serious issues that needed to be openly discussed, just as she had helped us earlier learn to talk about and cope with breast cancer. Before Mrs. Ford's candid revelation of her own breast cancer in 1974, public discussion of such a thing had been unheard of, and the impact of the personal news she shared affected millions of lives. Almost immediately, doctors reported an increase in women asking for screenings (Nancy G. Brinker, 7/12).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dayton Needs To Enlist Citizens To End Shutdown
A gubernatorial bully pulpit equips Dayton to drive home the human side of the budget story. He can help Minnesotans understand that enacting the GOP budget he vetoed would mean denying personal care attendants to the disabled, affordable health insurance to the working poor, and rides to work to transit-dependent employees. It would slash mental health and chemical dependency programs and sorely squeeze higher education (7/11).
The Denver Post: Sick-Leave Ballot Issue Is Ill Timed
Forcing Denver businesses to offer sick leave to employees would put the city at a competitive disadvantage for jobs at a time when Denver can ill afford it. Unfortunately, an initiative mandating sick leave probably will be on the ballot in November. It would make businesses think twice about where to add jobs and whether they can even afford to do so. It's simply the wrong idea for these economic times (7/12).