KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Prominent Republicans Against IPAB; Docs Defend Health Law; Medical Marijuana Research

Politico: Why Let IPAB Control Health Care?
The IPAB has created "immediate uncertainty at hand," says Scott & White Healthcare in central Texas, for their 12 hospitals and more than 800 physicians. Many more organizations and associations have expressed similar concerns and urged me to do what I can to repeal this ill-conceived bureaucratic board. That's why I have introduced the Health Care Bureaucrats Elimination Act, and why I'm testifying Wednesday on the other side of the Capitol to build support in the House (Sen. John Cornyn, 7/12). 

Politico: Dems Squeeze Medicare With IPAB
Recently, Democrats have gone to great lengths to denigrate the Republican plan to reform Medicare. ... Democrats are resorting to scare tactics because they need a smokescreen to hide their own plans for Medicare from the American public. They know seniors and the next generation of retirees probably won't look favorably on a powerful new board of bureaucrats appointed to delay and deny care (Rep. Fred Upton, 7/13).

Politico: Repeal And Replace IPAB
[IPAB] continues Washington's obsession with price-fixing in Medicare's separate "silos" rather than changing the incentives that have led to rampant overspending, fraud and uneven care quality. But the impulse behind this action - injecting some rationality into how Medicare pays for care for seniors and protecting the program from congressional meddling - makes sense. ... Congress should replace it with a bipartisan mechanism for promoting cost control, improving quality and injecting competition into the health care system (Paul Howard and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 7/12). 

Forbes: Big Government And Health-Care Stocks: A Happy Marriage?
The Independent Payment Advisory Board ... will likely squeeze the prices of new drugs dramatically (while having little, if any, effect on Medicare spending). Under such conditions, does it really matter that there are signs of Big Pharma fixing the problems in its pipeline (John R. Graham, 7/13).

The Wall Street Journal: Will Washington Find The Cure For Cancer 
Unfortunately, the actions of the administration and the proposals of some in Congress may significantly impede innovation in my industry-biopharmaceuticals-for the foreseeable future. ... There are two big public-policy threats on the horizon for Merck and the biopharmaceutical industry. One is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, which originated in last year's health-reform law. ... The other harmful proposal on Washington's agenda would impose price controls for the first time on the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program (Kenneth C. Frazier, 7/13).

The Oregonian: Why Oregon's Children Need The Affordable Care Act
As pediatricians in Oregon, we have decades of collective experience caring for children in our state. ... we are also child health advocates. Whether administering a check-up or writing in our local paper about the need for health reform in our state, we share the same goal: to protect each child's health. The Affordable Care Act invests makes much-needed reforms to our health care system, and makes investments in children's health at the federal level that are already being felt here in Oregon (Drs. Mary P. Brown, Art Jaffe, Ken Carlson and Dave Willis, 7/13).  

Chicago Tribune: Fix Them While You Can
We understand that Republicans running for re-election in 2012 want to be able to say, "We protected taxpayers." Just as we understand that Democrats want to be able to say, "We protected entitlements." A deal that preserves those time-tested campaign themes won't be worth much to the American people ... Returning Medicare and Social Security obligations to levels that working Americans can sustain needs to be the major component of this solution (7/13). 

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Paul Broun's Silly Debt-Ceiling Proposal
[Rep. Paul] Broun, an Athens-area Republican, introduced legislation that ... proposes not to raise the debt ceiling but to lower it, from its current $14.3 trillion to $13 trillion. ... Beginning Oct. 1, we could resume paying the military, paying off our debt and sending out Medicare and Social Security checks. But that would be it. ... Others - including top congressional leaders - claim that they will force the country into default unless President Obama agrees to slash trillions of dollars from programs such as Social Security and Medicare, without any offsetting tax increases (Jay Bookman, 7/12).

Los Angeles Times: Medical Marijuana: Research, Not Fear
Last week the DEA ruled once again, a decade after it made the same decision, that marijuana is a potentially dangerous drug without known medical benefits. During the intervening 10 years, though, nine more states passed medical marijuana laws, bringing the total to 17. Two years ago, the American Medical Assn. recommended changing the classification of marijuana to Schedule II, which would make it easier for researchers to obtain the drug for medical studies (7/13). 

Minneapolis Star Tribune: [State] Senate Majority Leader: Shutdown Isn't Necessary 
We know what's at stake. [Gov.] Dayton's shutdown closed state parks, stopped new road construction projects, closed license renewals for teachers and medical professionals, suspended inspections in hospitals and nursing homes, and closed domestic abuse and women's and children's shelters, among many other critical services. All of these services were funded and would be open under the Republican budget (Amy Koch, 7/12). 

Detroit Free Press: Betty Ford's Spirit, Struggles Helped Heal And Inspire Nation
It is hard these days to imagine the world as it was before Betty Ford, when breast cancer was only whispered about and people barely knew what "rehab" was. ... By not allowing the job of first lady to change her, she brought numerous subjects out of the closet and championed women's issues -- the Equal Rights Amendment, the right to choose an abortion, the right to pursue and hold significant political offices -- in a way that few others had or could (7/13). 

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