KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Papa John’s Complaint; Renewed Criticism Of Justice Roberts; Calif. Voters Rout Food Police

The Wall Street Journal: Picking On Papa John's
If ObamaCare negatively impacts your business, you better not complain about it. That's what Papa John's CEO John Schnatter found out when he announced the health-care law would increase the price of a pizza by up to 14 cents. ... But Papa John's isn't the only restaurant chain to complain that the Affordable Care Act is bad for business (Matthew Payne, 11/19).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): With Health Reform Moving Forward, Costs Remain An Issue
Here we are, billions of political ads later, facing the same challenges from before the election.  In health care, now that the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional and it is unlikely to be repealed, the work starts on implementation and discussion about health insurance exchanges. … So it again comes down to the basic problem: we pay too much for the quality we receive in health care.  In your business, Colorado, the state, and the country, the same problem exists.  That solution is a debate yet to come politically, but it is inevitable. (Dr. Ted Norman, 11/19).

Politico: President Obama Won, But Obamacare Didn't
During the campaign, President Barack Obama minimized discussion of his first term's most consequential new law: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what's commonly referred to as Obamacare. That was no accident. Undoubtedly, the campaign knew that Obamacare is, as it always has been, deeply unpopular with the American people. In fact, Obamacare epitomizes the public's greatest concerns about this administration: the massive expansion of government and failure to deliver a new era of post-partisanship to Washington, since the law was jammed through using a party line vote and every available legislative trick (Carrie Lukas, 11/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Liberal Man Of The Year
But none of his colleagues can compete with the media acclaim cascading over Chief Justice John Roberts after his solo decision upholding the Affordable Care Act this June. The editors of Esquire have included Chief Justice Roberts in their December "Americans of the Year" issue, praising his "nimbleness." ... Such is the strange new respect a conservative receives for sustaining liberal priorities. Our own view is less effusive (11/19).

Myrtle Beach Sun News/McClatchy: No More Health Care Russian Roulette
Officials in Washington, D.C., Columbia and elsewhere are scrambling to figure out just how to embrace the Affordable Care Act now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected. ... They also need to keep in mind stories such as Shannon Sherman’s. Sherman and her husband Jeff spent the past couple of decades doing what we all are encouraged to do, paying down debt, living within their means and being responsible citizens. … They had been making it without (health insurance) until one day several weeks ago when a brain aneurysm blew them off course, instantly thrusting them into the debt they had so meticulously avoided. The bills, so far, amount to at least $80,000, and that includes a 60 percent discount from one of the hospitals that treated her (Issac J. Bailey, 11/19).

The Spokesman-Review: (Medicaid) Expansion Right Course For State
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the underpinnings of Obamacare. President Barack Obama has won re-election, and by a comfortable margin in Washington. So it might seem like a fait accompli to accept the additional Medicaid funding that would expand coverage for the poor. But some health care observers are worried, because Medicaid expansion still requires legislative authority to proceed. ... Conservative Idaho formed a commission to look at this issue, and panelists came back with a unanimous decision to take the money. We think a close examination in Washington would arrive at the same conclusion (11/20).

The (Eugene, Ore.) Register-Guard: Executing Exchanges
While 20 of the nation's governors continue to rant and rail about the alleged expense and intrusiveness of the Obama administration's new health insurance exchange program, and another 11 continue to dither and scratch their heads about whether to participate, the remaining 19 governors are proceeding with plans to set up exchanges, which will allow households and small businesses without insurance to shop online for plans that suit their needs. … Oregon, which has been in the forefront of health care reform since setting up its Oregon Health Plan two decades ago, was among the first to join in the insurance exchange effort(11/20).

Medpage Today: The Medical Cost 'Fiscal Cliff'
I do expect that healthcare costs will be back on the radar fairly soon as discussions about the fiscal cliff intensify – and Medicare and Medicaid costs become critical to any long-term solution of "debt and deficit." And over the next year, as health care premiums for private insurance start to rise again, the subject will become part of hallway and water-cooler conversations. So do I think the provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will succeed in reeling in the rising costs of healthcare? Honest answer: Not really (Dr. Timothy Johnson, 11/19).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Health Care And The Fiscal Cliff
Health care is part of the debate and discussion regarding the fiscal cliff and how the federal government might solve its near and long-term economic problems. Wharton Health Care Management Professor Jonathan Kolstad said that while there are health-care issues in resolving the immediate problem of the fiscal cliff, the long-term problem of deciding how the nation pays for health care extends beyond the Nov. 6 election and the Jan. 2 deadline (David Sell, 11/19).

The Wall Street Journal: The Food Police Are Routed At The Ballot Box
As Americans tuck into their turkey and dressing on Thursday, they might add one little item to the list of things for which they give thanks: the defeat of California's Proposition 37 on Election Day. That initiative would have made the Golden State the first and only to require the labeling of genetically modified foods. And its demise marks the death throes of a self-proclaimed "food movement" that urges ever-greater government intrusion into the nation's grocery stores and kitchens (Jayson Lusk, 11/19). 

The Washington Post: Time To End The War On Drugs
With his final election behind him, and the final attack ads safely off the air, President Obama now returns to his regularly scheduled programming — governing. Yet, the chatter about his second term agenda, from deficit reduction to immigration reform, ignores one critical issue: ending our nation's inhumane, irrational — and ineffective — war on drugs. Since its launch in 1971, when President Nixon successfully branded drug addicts as criminals, the war on drugs has resulted in 45 million arrests and destroyed countless families. The result of this trillion dollar crusade? Americans aren't drug free — we're just the world's most incarcerated population (Katrina vanden Heuvel, 11/19). 

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