KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Romney’s Views On Health Care Still Mysterious; Treating The Dying Patient

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare Remains A Stumbling Block For Romney
Mitt Romney may know more about healthcare than any other presidential nominee in memory. As governor of Massachusetts, he dove deeply into the subject while creating the most far-reaching state health plan in the country. As president, he would bring an unusual degree of nuance to any discussion of health insurance. In theory, that should thrill Republicans, who have been eager to run against an incumbent who unwittingly gave his name to a healthcare plan, "Obamacare," that has engendered more opposition than support. So why has explaining his position on healthcare been such an ordeal for Romney? (Mitchell Landsberg, 10/6).

Los Angeles Times: Moderate Mitt? Don't Count On It
Who is the real Romney? Only a month from election day and almost 20 years into Mitt Romney's political career, the question is still being asked. Is it Moderate Mitt, the governor of Massachusetts who once championed abortion rights and enacted a state-administered health insurance plan? Or is it Severely Conservative Mitt, the presidential candidate who battered rivals on the right by calling for deeper tax cuts and tougher immigration laws? (Doyle McManus, 10/7).

The Washington Post: Mitt Romney, Health Care and Eco-Womanism
Elections are moral choices. They are an opportunity for a society to say at the ballot box what it values. ... Justice means that every person is able to have that which he or she is due. Since health care is a human right, every person is due quality health care. It should not matter what state a person lives in. Someone living in Mississippi has the same right to health care as a person in Massachusetts (Valerie Elverton Dixon, 10/5).

The New York Times: How To Die
Here in the United States, nothing bedevils our discussion of health care like the question of when and how to withhold it. The Liverpool Pathway (for the Dying Patient) or variations of it are now standard in most British hospitals and in several other countries — but not ours. When I asked one American end-of-life specialist what chance he saw that something of the kind could be replicated here, the answer was immediate: "Zero." There is an obvious reason for that, and a less obvious reason (Bill Keller, 10/7).

NBC News: Daughter Has Right To Die Against Parents' Wishes
When your time comes to die, you probably hope that you will be surrounded by loving family members and friends who will support you and help you leave this earth at peace with one another. Sadly, for 28 year-old SungEun Grace Lee, who is dying in a Long Island hospital, that is not happening (Arthur Caplan, 10/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Please Step Back From The Assisted-Suicide Ledge
In the November elections, voters in Massachusetts will decide on "Question 2," a ballot initiative to allow physicians to prescribe (but not administer) a lethal dose of a toxic drug to assist their patients in committing suicide. Advocates of physician-assisted suicide assure us that this can be a good choice for someone who is dying, or who wants to die. If physician-assisted suicide really represents a good choice, we need to ask: Why should only physicians be able to participate? Why should only physicians be allowed to undermine public trust in their profession through these kinds of death-dealing activities? (Tadeusz Pacholczyk, 10/7). 

The New York Times: The Cancer Lobby
Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia as well. The industry's strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer. If that sounds like shooting the messenger, well, it is (Nicholas D. Kristof, 10/6).  

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