KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Romney On His Health Plan; Enthoven, Aaron On Medicare Reforms; WSJ On ‘Millionaire’ Retirees

USA Today: Romney: As First Act, Out With ObamaCare
Health care is more than just one-sixth of the American economy. It is a source of well-being for individuals and families. We are blessed with much that is good in American health care. But we have taken a turn for the worse with ObamaCare, with its high taxes and vastly expanded federal control over our lives. I believe the better course is to empower the states to determine their own health care futures (Mitt Romney, 5/11). 

The Wall Street Journal: Obama's Running Mate
Mr. Romney now claims ObamaCare should be repealed, but his failure to explain his own role or admit any errors suggests serious flaws both in his candidacy and as a potential President ... If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket (5/12). 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Romney Was For The Individual Mandate Before He Was Against It 
[As] Romney prepares a major speech to update his stance on health care reform, here's video of the old Mitt, who loved the individual mandate way back in 2007 (Tucker, 5/12).   

The New England Journal of Medicine: The Independent Payment Advisory Board - Congress's "Good Deed"
Over time, we will learn which of these instruments work best and how to implement them. Once we have done so, the IPAB can mobilize the power of the country's largest health care buyer to effect health system change. Were Congress to succumb to calls to weaken or kill the IPAB now - to paraphrase Talleyrand's famous comment on the execution of the Duc d'Enghein by Napoleon - it would be worse than a crime; it would be a blunder (Henry J. Aaron, 5/11).

The New England Journal of Medicine: Reforming Medicare by Reforming Incentives
Since Medicare is a major reason for the large and rapidly growing national debt, growth in Medicare spending must be brought into line with growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). ... First, rigorous antitrust enforcement is needed to ensure a competitive environment. Second, the poor must be protected through guaranteed access and subsidies. Finally, employment-based insurance, still the largest single source of coverage, must be led toward the managed-competition model to achieve coherence with reformed Medicare (Alain C. Enthoven, 5/11).

The Wall Street Journal: The Millionaire Retirees Next Door 
Starting next year, this typical couple, receiving the average benefit, will begin collecting a combination of cash and health-care entitlement benefits that will total $1 million over their remaining expected lifetime. ... To fix Medicare, we must move away from the current system of fee-for-services and low copayments. ... Medicare recipients need to have more skin in the game if they are to become cost-conscious medical consumers (John Cogan, 5/12).

The Hill: GOP Budget Walk-Back
Most Republicans, and everyone in Washington for that matter, knew the Ryan plan would not pass the Senate from the very day it was released. That anyone would admit it publicly was a misstep that illustrates the toxicity of Medicare and the nervousness some campaign strategists have about pursuing the matter any further (A.B. Stoddard, 5/11).

Kaiser Health News Guest Opinion: Dispatch From Los Angeles: Cockroaches, Podiatrists And Fears About Medicaid's Future 
[T]he cuts that Republicans are proposing and that Washington is contemplating are too large to be offset with donations. The medical safety net of clinics and hospitals would inevitably end up offering fewer services or seeing fewer people, even as the withdrawal of Medicaid coverage forced more low-income Americans to seek charity care (Jonathan Cohn, 5/11). 

The Washington Post: Health-Care Lawsuits: Delaying The Inevitable
As you watch the lawsuits against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act work their way through the courts, consider that what you are really seeing is a great republic tying itself into as many knots as possible to avoid facing up to a challenge that every other wealthy capitalist democracy in the world has met (E.J. Dionne Jr., 5/11). 

iWatch News: Special Treatment For 'High Profile' Patients; Exasperation For The Rest Of Us
Insurance company executives insist that their coverage decisions are not influenced by the threat of bad publicity, that they are made solely on the basis of medical necessity (as determined by them) and the limitations of a particular policy (also as determined by them). Don't believe it for a minute (Wendell Potter, 5/11).

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