Viewpoints: Hospitals Helped By Medicaid Expansion; Why GOP Candidates Back OTC Contraceptives
The New York Times: How Medicaid Expansion Helps Hospitals
Now the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report showing that ... thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals across the country will save $5.7 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2014. ... Thus far 27 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid but 23 states have not. Those 23 are depriving their local hospitals, collectively, of substantial savings (Philip M. Boffey, 9/26).
The New York Times: Why Are Republicans In Favor Of Over-The-Counter Birth Control?
In the final weeks before the midterm elections, Republican congressional candidates have come out in favor of making contraception available over the counter. Candidates including Cory Gardner of Colorado, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Ed Gillespie and Barbara Comstock in Virginia, and Mike McFadden of Minnesota have announced they want birth control pills to be available over the counter (Anna Altman, 9/29).
The Des Moines Register: End Of Life Gets Past Creepiness
The low point of the Obamacare debate — and there was much probing of the floor — had to be the “death panel” charge. ... What was the fuss about? A proposal to pay doctors for time spent talking to patients about the kind of care they wanted in their last days. ... But “death panel” nonsense fueled so much hysteria that the end-of-life consultation benefit — and it is a benefit — was yanked out of the Affordable Care Act bill. Fortunately, grown-ups are taking over (Froma Harrop, 9/27).
Associated Press: Jindal Under Fire In La. On Health Care
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he’s tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas. But his administration’s handling of health care matters at home could undermine his bonafides in the subject area and threaten his efforts to sell himself as a health care expert (Melinda DeSlatte, 9/28).
The New York Times: The Tide Of The Culture War Shifts
Ms. Ernst’s personhood ideas, shared by at least five other Republican candidates for United States Senate this year, have been radical for years. What’s new is that Democrats are increasingly willing to say so. For years they were cowed by the religious right into changing the subject when abortion or birth control or same-sex marriage came up. But now, increasingly assured that public opinion supports their positions, Democrats have become more aggressive in challenging Republicans about their beliefs (9/28).
The New York Times: Labor Rights for Home Care Workers
A new rule that will give home care workers basic labor protections is supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. But several states are pushing for delay, saying they need more time to work through how the rule will affect their Medicaid programs, which pay many home care bills. The states have had enough time. The Obama administration, however, appears to be seriously considering a delay of the rule, which should have been put in place long ago (9/26).
The New York Times: Why Government Websites Are Terrible and How to Fix Them
As fellows at the nonprofit Code for America, [Jacob Solomon] and Alan Williams began looking at applications for a variety of government services. What they found was sometimes baffling, or simply off-limits. ... Mr. Solomon also pointed to the widely criticized HealthCare.gov website as an example of what happens when online applications go awry. “In many ways,” he told Op-Talk, “all of same things that happened with the launch of HealthCare.gov, all of the same root causes and all of the same superficial problems, are happening all the time, everywhere" (Anna North, 9/26).
The New York Times: The Woman’s Heart Attack
The biggest killer of American women is not breast cancer, as many people believe. It is heart disease. Should I have been surprised? Of course not. The American Heart Association keeps telling us about our hearts and we keep not listening, possibly because we are so fearful of cancer that we have no fear to spare, as we lie on our beds dutifully palpating ourselves for the lumps that we pray not to find. Our hearts kill more of us than all kinds of cancer combined. Surprise No. 2: I learn that Hal’s attack and mine are textbook illustrations of how vivid the gender differences can be (Martha Weinman Lear, 9/26).
Los Angeles Times: How Did UnitedHealth Let So Many Questionable Claims Slip Past?
UnitedHealth Group says it paid out the $43 million to an interconnected group of doctors and medical clinics, mostly associated with the notorious 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign. ... But is it plausible that a leading health insurance company — if it were on its game — would allow $43 million to go out the door without realizing that it was being systematically cheated? Or is it more likely that United took the easy way out — not scrutinizing the medical claims until too late? Either way, United utterly failed in its role (Michael Hiltzik, 9/27).
Baltimore Sun: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Need Access To Mental Health Professionals
We must address the mental health needs of the unaccompanied immigrant children arriving in Maryland to be reunited with family members and foster parents. While in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the children receive comprehensive medical and mental health exams. After release from detention, however, they have no meaningful access to medical care of any sort (Sarah Polk, Kathleen Page and Lisa Ross DeCamp, 9/26).
The New York Times: Nursing Homes Behind Bars
After declining for three years in a row, the nation’s stubbornly huge prison population has crept back up again. About 1,574,700 people were in prison at the end of 2013, up 4,300 from 2012. … There are many ways to get this number back down, and in the process create a smarter, safer and more cost-effective penal system. One of the most long-known and sensible fixes, however, has proved in practice to be one of the hardest to employ: releasing older prisoners (9/28).