KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Spreading Ebola Treatments; Dems Can Win Running On Health Law

The New York Times: New Thinking About Ebola Treatments
A radical but promising proposal to help treat victims of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa appears to be gaining support among knowledgeable experts. There are currently no approved drugs to treat infection with the Ebola virus, and only a handful of potential drug therapies in the very earliest stages of testing in humans or animals, with little likelihood that they could be produced on a large scale any time soon. The new proposal would fill the gap by using drugs that have already been approved to treat other diseases and repurposing them to treat Ebola as well (8/24).

The Washington Post: Obamacare Has Growing Support, Even If Its Name Does Not
Election results, like scripture, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. You can bet that foes of expanding health insurance coverage will try to interpret every Republican victory as a defeat for Obamacare. But as Mark Pryor knows, the president’s unpopularity in certain parts of the country doesn’t mean that voters want to throw his greatest accomplishment overboard — even if they’d be happy to rename it (E.J. Dionne Jr., 8/24).

The New Republic: Republican Lawyers' Latest Sneak Attack On Obamacare Is Their Most Brazen Yet
On Monday August 18, Affordable Care Act opponents’ legal champion, Michael Carvin, filed a little-noticed brief with the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, ... challenging the legality of tax credits and subsidies for health insurance purchasers on federally operated exchanges. The D.C. Circuit’s decision on this procedural issue could play an outsized role in deciding the ultimate fate of the litigation, and determine whether those exchanges—currently covering several million Americans in 36 states—will continue their currently impressive growth, or collapse outright (Simon Lazarus, 8/24).

Winston-Salem Journal: More Evidence Of The Foolish Choice On Medicaid Expansion
When you consider all the bad choices made by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory in the last two years — and there have been too many to mention — the one that may make the least sense was the decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and therefore provide health coverage for more than 400,000 low-income adults who are currently uninsured (Chris Fitzsimon, 8/23).

The Tennessean: Hacking Is Bad For Your Health
When you are sick or injured, the security of your personal information probably is not top of mind, so it adds a distressing dimension to the news that hackers were able to bypass security measures for Community Health Systems Inc., potentially affecting 4.5 million patients (8/23) .

Center for Public Integrity: Docs, Drug Companies, Insurers Drive Up Medicare Costs
[T]he Hospital Trust Fund accounts for only about half of total Medicare spending. Most of the rest goes to cover physician fees, prescription drugs and to provide incentives for health insurance companies to participate in the Medicare Advantage program and administer the Medicare drug program. The Affordable Care Act could have done much more than it does to curb spending in those areas. Because it doesn’t is a testament to the power and influence of the lobbyists who represent doctors, pharmaceutical companies and health insurers (Wendell Potter, 8/25).

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