KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Rationing Health Care, Jindal And Hospitals, Romney Vs. Past

A selection of opinions and editorials from around the U.S.

Houston Chronicle: New Health Law Will Not Ration Medical Care
It is time to begin open discussions about how to deal with expensive, minimally effective, medical care with patients, families, professionals and ethicists and not the medical industrialists who gain from prolonging life at every expense. Declaring rationing the third rail doesn't help anyone. It is time to allow the Food and Drug Administration to set high bars for value (including both cost and effectiveness) in approving new drugs and devices, and to allow Medicare to consider cost in what it covers. Delaying these discussions is like kicking the can down the road in the deficit discussions - not helpful now or for future generations (Arthur Garson Jr. and Carolyn Long Engelhard, 2/10).

San Francisco Chronicle: Medical Research Funding Threatened
Progress like this doesn't happen by accident. It is made possible by a sustained federal investment in medical research, which funds breakthrough projects at UC Davis and research centers across the country….We all want to reduce the deficit, but slashing funding for the National Institutes of Health will only exacerbate our economic challenges and lead to further suffering. Let's not jeopardize our country's medical or economic health by recklessly cutting funding for medical research (Claire Pomeroy, 2/13).

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Gov. Bobby Jindal Vs. LSU Hospital Administrators
Gov. Bobby Jindal must be kicking himself. He has just discovered that LSU hospital administrators are "completely irresponsible" with public money. But these are the guys who enjoyed his vigorous support in ramming through plans to abandon Big Charity and rip out a huge chunk of New Orleans to build themselves a $1.1 billion medical center (James Gill, 2/12).

Boston Globe: Romney Can't Outrun Past
In the six years Mitt Romney has been running for president, the one thing he has been zealous about is convincing his party's faithful that he is not some crazy moderate from Massachusetts. You know, the kind of person who might support emergency contraception for rape victims. Or even worse, abortion (Adrian Walker, 2/13).

Boston Globe: In His Attacks On 'RomneyCare,' Santorum Paints A False Picture
The Massachusetts health plan is a work in progress. It has brought about major improvements in the coverage of citizens, without unduly raising costs. It’s popular with Bay State residents, and has been workable for Bay State employers. But now, while officials grapple with new proposals to reduce insurance premiums, this year’s Republican presidential candidates are flooding the airwaves with bogus assertions about Massachusetts’ "RomneyCare’" health plan (2/11).

iWatch News: This Just In, Insurers Required To Speak Plain English
Starting this fall, insurers and employers that offer health care benefits must provide us with more clearly written information about what their benefit plans cover and how much of our own money we’ll have to pay if we get sick, injured or, yes, pregnant. This is no small matter. Rumors had been circulating in Washington over the past several months that the administration would cave to the demands of the insurance industry’s trade organization that this requirement be gutted to the point of being meaningless for most Americans (Wendell Potter, 2/13).

Related, earlier KHN story: HHS Unveils Requirements For Consumer Insurance Labels (Jaffe, 2/9) 

Des Moines Register: There's A Lot Of Heavy Lifting To Be Done By The 2012 Legislature
Legislators voted last year to do away with a $125 million levy for mental health, effective July 1, 2013. Legislators say they did it to force action on a long-awaited overhaul of the mental-health system. Now, they're racing the clock to find enough money for mental health. The choice is to either reinstate the property tax — a political nightmare for some lawmakers — or have the state shoulder the entire cost at the expense of other programs (Kathie Obradovich, 2/11).

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