KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints On Ryan Plan: Solution Or ‘Absurd’?

Los Angeles Times: Paul Ryan, Budget Slasher Or Big Talker
Ryan wants to turn the federal money that finances Medicaid into block grants to the states. Ryan does not say how he thinks the states might run the program more efficiently. He merely asserts that they would. Does he read the newspapers? The only advantage of a block grant is that Congress can cut it without having to explicitly reduce benefits. Ryan is at his most absurd in suggesting that the problem is the "onerous, one-size-fits-all" federal approach to medical care, as if there were dramatic differences in the physiology of people in Nebraska and New Jersey (Michael Kinsley, 4/12). 

Fox News: Don't Count On A Debt Deal Or A Tax Hike To Save Us. The Only Way We're Going to Keep America Great Is By Committing To Sacrifice
Our political will as a nation has been weak because our joint sense of entitlement has been too strong. The hard truth is that WE have to change if we want Washington to change. ... Ryan's proposed budget starts pushing us in the right direction. While it leaves Social Security off the table, its proposed Medicare reforms, together with Ryan's much-discussed Roadmap, show us where entitlement reform as a whole ultimately needs to go (Ryan Streeter, 4/11). 

The Fiscal Times: How Obama Can Save Billions Without Touching Seniors Or The Poor
The president should propose eliminating the income tax exclusion for health care benefits. About three-quarters of Americans receive their health insurance through employer-sponsored plans. Those employer payments, about $800 billion a year, are entirely exempt from income tax. It is the largest single exemption in the tax code, surpassing the home mortgage interest deduction, charity deductions and every corporate income tax break (Merrill Goozner, 4/11).

Chicago Tribune: Federal Budget Being Taken To Task, Finally
Liberals, of course, prefer to limit choices for the poor, much as Cook County has determined that the indigent should have to trek to Stroger Hospital on the West Side to get their medical care, instead of getting their care at underused hospitals closer to their homes. Liberals are willing to stick with failed systems ... [they] are afraid to challenge the past, as conservatives are now doing (Dennis Byrne, 4/12). 

Des Moines Register: Washington Gets Religion On Deficit
Here is where this should go from here: Both parties and the president should come together on a long-range plan for deficit reduction that shows the world the United States is able to put its fiscal house in order. Spending cuts must be made across the board, including the military and entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The deficit-reduction plan must include revenue increases, not just spending decreases (4/11). 

The Baltimore Sun: Ryan Budget Plan Dangerous To Kids' Health 
Mr. Ryan says he wants a more prosperous future for our nation's children, but his proposal -- expected to be voted on by the House this week -- would deal a devastating blow to child health and well-being (Tina L. Cheng, 4/11).

Boston Herald: A Dose Of Reality
[L]ike anyone marking a birthday - the state's health care reform law turns five today - those of us who actually have experience with it ought to reflect on where we've been - and why it's folly to think that one state's unique experience will magically translate on a national scale. ... The health care reform law adopted in Massachusetts is an encouraging, if very costly, work in progress. But to impose it on 49 other states and expect it to serve as a blanket solution to the entire nation's health care problems is plain ridiculous (4/12).

Kaiser Health News: The End Of Pennsylvania's AdultBasic – Not A Sound Investment In The State's Future
Pennsylvania could have continued to be a pioneer and a model of innovative solutions. But, it has chosen another path -- the path of increasing the number of Pennsylvanians without health care coverage, the path of putting more Pennsylvanians at risk for their health and finances, and the path of shifting more of the cost of the uninsured onto the insured while the elected leadership boasts no new taxes (Charles LaVallee, 4/11).

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