KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: ‘Callous’ House Republicans; Supreme Court’s ‘Core Constitutional Role’

The New York Times: Callous Choices In The House
For months, House Republicans have been trying to wriggle out of the agreement they made in August that will force deep cuts in military spending. Now we know how they propose to do it: They will take tens of billions out of programs for the poorest Americans, particularly food stamps, along with health care for the middle class (4/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Overturning ObamaCare Isn't 'Judicial Activism'
Since the Supreme Court's historic three-day ObamaCare hearings in late March, the president and his supporters have tried to pressure the Justices into upholding that law, asserting that any other decision would overstep the court's constitutional bounds. Ruling against ObamaCare would not be what the president called illegitimate "judicial activism," but an appropriate exercise of the Supreme Court's core constitutional role (David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, 4/23).

Los Angeles Times: California's Working Poor Would Lose A Lot If Health Reform Law Dies
If the healthcare reform law is thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court — as many fear could happen based on the comments of conservative justices — more than 700,000 low-income Californians could lose a once-in-a-lifetime chance to obtain affordable health insurance (David Lazarus, 4/24). 

The Seattle Times: The Right Way To Preserve Medicare Doesn't Limit Access To Care
The Affordable Care Act established a new government body called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is empowered to make major policy changes to the Medicare program to generate savings…. If rates go lower, there could be a mass exodus of health-care providers from Medicare. And seniors would have an even harder time finding someone to treat them. For the sake of our seniors, Congress must repeal IPAB and ensure Medicare enrollees continue to get the quality care they deserve (Roger Stark, 4/23).

Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney Vs. Employer-Provided Healthcare Insurance
The Times' Noam Levey stitched together the clues that Mitt Romney has given about his plans for redoing healthcare reform, concluding that the GOP presidential candidate's strategy is "in crucial ways more revolutionary — and potentially more disruptive" than the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That's because Romney wants to shift from a system in which employers are the primary supplier of insurance to one in which individuals are responsible for their own coverage (Jon Healey, 4/23).

The New York Times: The Undocumented And The Unborn
The Nebraska Legislature took a strange road to a good result last week. It overrode Gov. Dave Heineman’s veto of a bill to provide free prenatal care to undocumented immigrant women (4/23).

Chicago Tribune: Profiles In Failure
No, we won't be sending donations to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, the political action committee that fights the huge advantage incumbents enjoy in U.S. House and Senate races. But on Monday we gained new appreciation for anti-incumbent fever: As Democrats and Republicans in Washington perpetually trade blame for our deteriorating federal finances, Social Security has moved three years closer to emptying its trust fund. Mark that on your calendar for 2033, not the 2036 projected only a year ago (4/24). 

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare's Obama Donation
Recall how last year the White House rudely overruled the EPA on its ozone rule, postponing it past November. Then there were those temporary tax cuts that go poof on December 31. Most remarkable is Mr. Obama's decision to flout his own health-care law to temporarily protect private insurance inside Medicare. ObamaCare slashes about $145 billion from Medicare Advantage, the program that allows one of four seniors to escape the traditional entitlement and choose commercial plans (4/23).

iWatch News: ANALYSIS: Shareholders Raising Ruckus About CEO Pay
Of the five biggest for-profit insurers, Cigna will lead off the annual meeting season this coming Wednesday in Hartford and it will not likely be the sleeper previous meetings have been. That's because earlier this month, one big shareholder — the Change to Win (CtW) Investment Group — sent a letter to other shareholders urging them to send our board a clear message: Cigna's executive pay structure is broken and open engagement needs to begin with concerned shareholders, immediately. CtW, which works with pension funds sponsored by several unions, decided to send the letter after seeing that Cigna CEO David Cordani was given a pay raise of more than 25 percent last year (Wendell Potter, 4/23).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.