KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Washington Post Endorses Obama; GOP Senate Candidates Hurting Party’s Reach To Women; ‘Too Much Choice’ In Medicare?

The Washington Post: Four More Years For Obama 
Mr. Obama is committed to the only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases. Mr. Romney, by contrast, has embraced his party’s reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up. Along that road lies a future in which interest payments crowd out everything else a government should do, from defending the nation to caring for its poor and sick to investing in its children (10/25). 

The New York Times: The Morning After
President-elect Willard M. Romney — congratulations! ... You've promised to accomplish 15 different tasks on Day 1; let’s sort them by priority. The Affordable Care Act is gone, even though you need Congress to act (a mere formality, by Ryan's assurance). All you 20-somethings on your parents' health plans, all you sickly types with pre-existing conditions that you expect the insurance companies to cover, no more Obamacare for you. The ride is over, even if it means leaving 72 million Americans without health insurance (Timothy Egan, 10/25). 

The New York Times: Obama On Mourdock And Women’s Rights 
Earlier in the tour, Mr. Obama didn’t stress his health-care law’s benefits for women, such as free access to contraception, mammograms and other services. (He also wants to continue federal funding for health services to Planned Parenthood, which Mr. Romney wants to cut.) Given the crowd’s enthusiastic reaction this morning, chances are he’ll make these issues a staple (David Firestone, 10/25).

Politico: The Election And The Rape Exception
This week's Senate debate in Indiana provided a vivid illustration of the stakes of this year's election for women and girls around the country and the lengths to which some candidates will go to restrict choice. Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock defended his stance that abortion should be illegal — even in the case of rape ... It is more important than ever for women to make their voices heard by supporting candidates who will stand up for the right to make personal health choices without interference from government (Rep. Nita Lowey, 10/26).

Roll Call: Appropriate Care Setting Protects Medicare's Future
Under current law, the Medicare Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2024. Experts agree that the trajectory of health care spending is unsustainable. ... While many policymakers and stakeholder groups are investigating methods to make these savings and improvements a reality, viable and lasting solutions have emerged — one in particular that could save $70 billion to $100 billion over 10 years and extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by more than two years (former Sens. Bob Dole and Blanche Lincoln, 10/25).

The Washington Post: Still Hopeful For A Debt Deal
Betting on Congress to do something — anything — is, as Samuel Johnson said of second marriages, the triumph of hope over experience. ... Yet the Congress that limped back to town after the 2010 election was surprisingly fruitful. ... Meanwhile, the president was assuring the Des Moines Register that he was committed to achieving "the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time" — which included raising the eligibility age for Medicare and reducing Social Security cost-of-living-allowances (Ruth Marcus, 10/25).

The Medicare NewsGroup: Drug Plan Decisions: When Too Much Choice Is A Bad Thing
The conventional wisdom in conservative policy camps is that more choice is better … Yet bad choices seem to be the norm when making Part D (prescription drug plan) decisions, according to a new working paper to be published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. ... It may sound undemocratic to suggest that streamlining the decision-making process by offering fewer choices could be better for the majority of participants. Yet in the larger arena of consumer-driven health care, the results of the study don't bode well for the multiple-choice model, which is the core of the "premium support" plan offered by the Romney/Ryan platform (John Wasik, 10/25).

The New York Times: Deeper Concerns About Drug Compounding
The more that reporters and regulators dig into the cause of the meningitis outbreak that has sickened more than 300 people in 18 states and killed 24, the worse it all looks. The Massachusetts pharmacy that produced the contaminated injectable steroid linked to the outbreak has a long, troubled history. But the issues of shoddy manufacturing practices and lax regulation go well beyond one company (10/25). 

Los Angeles Times: Prescription Refill Pressure Bothers CVS Pharmacists Too
Chris Cullum normally gets his prescriptions filled at a CVS Caremark store in San Diego. But, while traveling, he placed orders at a CVS branch in Arizona this year and at a branch in Illinois last year. In both cases, Cullum said, he subsequently received calls from the stores in those states letting him know that refills were ready (David Lazarus, 10/25).

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