KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Florida’s ‘Sabotage’ Of Health Law; The Irony Of Conservatives’ ‘Nightmare’ Ads; Obamacare ‘Crushes’ American Families

The New York Times: Blocking Health Care Reform In Florida 
Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has been visiting the state to encourage private groups to help residents understand what insurance policies and federal subsidies will be available to them when the enrollment period opens Oct. 1. ... Florida has been shameless in attempting to destroy what top officials call “Obamacare,” with tactics that will deprive its own poor and middle-income citizens of the benefits of the national reform law (9/19). 

Tampa Bay Times: S.C. Beats Florida When It Comes To Health Coverage
South Carolina officials are preparing for the coming changes to health insurance even as Gov. Nikki Haley opposes health care reform. They intend to encourage people to get coverage. Even without Medicaid expansion, the state has about 170,000 people eligible for Medicaid in the state who are not enrolled. ... South Carolina also is enlisting hospitals to help get the uninsured coverage (9/19).

USA Today: ObamaCare Foes Taking Hostages: Our View
Republicans' obsession with overturning ObamaCare is getting sillier and more dangerous at the same time. Now that they've failed to kill the law every way the rules allow — in Congress, the Supreme Court and in a presidential election — the opponents are taking hostages ... At some point, they need to tell their nominal followers the truth about health reform: This is a democracy. You lost on one issue. Move on (9/19).

USA Today: ObamaCare Hurts All Americans
All across America, families and small businesses are struggling to make ends meet. They're being crushed by higher taxes as well as more regulation and mandates from ObamaCare. Even labor leader Jimmy Hoffa Jr., usually a reliable supporter of President Obama, said ObamaCare will "destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class." ObamaCare was sold as a benefit to hardworking Americans, but it is hurting the very people it was intended to help (Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., 9/19).

The New York Times: The Crazy Party
In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party. ... Some pundits insist, even now, that this is somehow Mr. Obama’s fault. Why can’t he sit down with Mr. Boehner the way Ronald Reagan used to sit down with Tip O’Neill? But O’Neill didn’t lead a party whose base demanded that he shut down the government unless Reagan revoked his tax cuts, and O’Neill didn’t face a caucus prepared to depose him as speaker at the first hint of compromise. No, this story is all about the G.O.P. (Paul Krugman, 9/19).

National Review: Congressman On Obamacare Exemption: 'Go Home And Talk To Your Wife'
A debate among congressional Republicans over a potential line of attack on Obamacare is pitting their pocketbooks against the chance at political gold. At issue is a requirement in the law that congressional staffers purchase their health insurance in the exchange markets. ... Representative Joe Barton of Texas [estimated that the change] would cost him $12,000. ... [Rep. Phil Gingrey] had little sympathy for lawmakers and even less for staff. Capitol Hill aides, he said "may be 33 years old now and not making a lot of money. But in a few years they can just go to K Street," the Washington, D.C., vernacular for becoming a lobbyist, "and make $500,000 a year. Meanwhile I’m stuck here making $172,000 a year" (Jonathan Strong, 9/18).

The New Republic: This Creepy Anti-Obamacare Ad Will Give You Nightmares
Here's the latest ad against Obamacare. It involves a young woman on a medical-exam table and a creepy Uncle Sam mask. ... This is probably the part where I should talk about policy—and the fact that, thanks to Obamacare, between 25 and 30 million additional people will have health insurance. Today, many of those people would love to get medical exams but can't, because they can't pay the bills. ... Or maybe I should point out the irony of conservatives spotlighting a gynecological exam—and insinuating that, because of Obamacare, Uncle Sam will be invading women’s privacy and personal health decisions. Isn't this the same party and movement that believes the federal government should be in the middle of reproductive health? (Jonathan Cohn, 9/19).

Los Angeles Times: Debunking The Latest Creepy Smear Of Obamacare
These are dynamite ads -- if the only thing one cares about is shock value and virality. They also happen to be wildly misleading, taking the hyperbolic "government takeover of medicine" meme to an extreme. First off, no one will "sign up for Obamacare." Those who are not covered by group plans through their employers will shop for private insurers' individual plans the same way they do today, or through new state insurance-buying exchanges created by the 2010 law (Jon Healey, 9/19).

Forbes: A Day In The Life Of A Patient: Why Can't We Do Better
Is there a patient who goes through a hospitalization who does not have stories to tell about the obstacles, errors and indignities that they endured? I just wonder sometimes. A family relative was hospitalized this week with a stroke at a hospital a few hours from me -- and his experience left me demoralized about medicine (Harlan Krumholz, 9/19).

The New York Times' Opinionator: Medicine's Search For Meaning
Every day, we are reminded that the health care system is in crisis. We are going bankrupt. There are too many lawsuits. We practice defensive medicine. We restrict access. But surveys of doctors indicate a problem that penetrates much deeper than this. Today, almost 50 percent of doctors report symptoms of burnout — emotional exhaustion, low sense of accomplishment, detachment (David Bornstein, 9/18).

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