KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

On Op-Ed Pages, Controversies Abound: Romney, Gingrich, Abortion, Telemedicine, Cancer Funding Cuts

The Washington Post: Gingrich Didn't Change; His Party Did
Gingrich was taking basically the same position on Medicare he took 16 years ago, when, as speaker of the House, he was the commanding general of the Republican Revolution. ... Compared to today's Republican agenda, the Revolution of '94 now appears to be a halcyon period of moderation and good sense. Then, there was a hope that government-run Medicare would "wither on the vine" when recipients were offered alternatives. Now the plan is to pull the whole thing up by the roots (Dana Milbank, 5/17).

The Washington Post: Romney, You Can't Govern By Bullet Point
Some people believe that Mitt Romney is unfit to be president because the health reform he instituted as Massachusetts governor included an individual mandate. I believe Romney is unfit to be president because he used a PowerPoint presentation to defend it (Ruth Marcus, 5/17). 

Journal of the American Medical Association: The Use and Misuse of ICU Telemedicine 
More than 25 years have passed since the original description of intensive care unit (ICU) telemedicine, a technological strategy to improve critical care outcomes by expanding the reach and availability of intensivist clinicians. ... Multiple commercial applications of ICU telemedicine now exist, and telemedicine is widely touted as an all-encompassing strategy to improve ICU outcomes.  Yet even after 25 years, the optimal role of telemedicine in the ICU remains uncertain.? A large, multicenter study published recently showed no demonstrable clinical benefit  (Dr. Jeremy M. Kahn, 5/18).

Politico: Cancer Cuts Save Money, Cost Lives
The advances we've made against breast cancer may be in danger. ... The struggling economy has created two unfortunate trends that directly affect the women we fight for every day. First, because of high unemployment, many women are now without insurance and must rely on government programs for cancer screenings and other care. Second, large budget deficits are forcing state and federal policymakers to cut numerous programs - reducing access to critical services when they are needed most (Nancy G. Brinker, 5/18).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Veto Costly, Cruel Abortion Measures
Republican legislators no longer deserve to call themselves "prolife'' after approving heartless and hypocritical antiabortion measures that put extremist politics above what's best for Minnesota women and children. ...the proposed 50 percent cut in the state's low-income family planning program -- which is coupled with a ludicrous gag rule on abortion referrals -- will only lead to more unplanned pregnancies. That is not in the state's financial interest. It also undermines the overarching goal -- stopping abortions -- of the antiabortion forces who hijacked the legislative agenda this year (5/17).

Des Moines Register: Problem Is Bigger Than 'Shopping Skills'
Medicare and Medicaid cost taxpayers a fortune. Want to know where some of your money went? To Franklin Nwankpa - to take Des Moines' kids to the movies. He has been convicted of defrauding taxpayers of nearly $140,000. ... Billing the government for health services can be a gold mine for individuals and businesses. Whether it's promising Uncle Sam will pay for your scooter chair or calling a trip to the theater "skills teaching," some want the government to cough up money and ask no questions. And sometimes the government does exactly that (5/18).

The Lund Report: Oregon Can't Afford to Pass Health Insurance Exchange
Oregon lawmakers are debating SB99, a bill that would create an insurance marketplace or "exchange" in 2014. ... So why will most Oregonians do their shopping elsewhere if this bill is passed? SB 99 preserves the complex maze we currently have by keeping an "external" or "dual" marketplace. Insurance companies will use "free" market tactics to weaken the exchange's purchasing power so they can peddle their lemons to cherry-picked consumers (Drs. Kris Alman and Mike Siegel, 5/17).

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