Viewpoints: CHIP Funding Needed; GOP’s Flawed Plan To Make ‘The Pill’ OTC; Millenials’ Health Issues
The New York Times: Children's Health Insurance At A Crossroads
Federal financing for a beneficial health insurance program for low-income children, known as the Children's Health Insurance Program or CHIP, will run out next year unless Congress agrees to extend it. Bills are pending in both the House and the Senate to extend financing for four years, to 2019. Congress should approve the extension in the lame-duck session after the midterm elections so that families and state officials will know what the future holds. The program needs to be maintained amid uncertainty as to whether other good coverage will be available for these children (9/21).
The Washington Post: Two Ideas That Could Overcome Political Gridlock
There is a credible case that a Republican-controlled Senate could prove more productive. The new, tenuous majority, with an eye on 2016, would want to prove itself and would have more leverage over recalcitrant House Republicans. ... What could get done that Obama might sign? On two pressing issues — paying for badly needed infrastructure and further controlling the rise in health-care costs — two leading Democratic think tanks have proposed intriguing, bipartisan ways forward (Ruth Marcus, 9/20).
The Washington Post: Over-The-Counter Availability Of 'The Pill' Wouldn't Be A Panacea
You know it's a weird political season when several Republican senatorial candidates are trumpeting their support for making oral contraceptives available without a prescription — and Planned Parenthood's political arm is running TV attack ads against them. Obviously, the GOP is trying to deflect the Democratic charge that it is waging a "war on women," while Democrats and their allies are determined to make it stick (9/21).
Los Angeles Times: New Study Shows That The Savings From 'Tort Reform' Are Mythical
"Tort reform," which is usually billed as the answer to "frivolous malpractice lawsuits," has been a central plank in the Republican program for healthcare reform for decades. The notion has lived on despite copious evidence that that the so-called defensive medicine practiced by doctors merely to stave off lawsuits accounts for, at best, 2% to 3% of U.S. healthcare costs. As for "frivolous lawsuits," they're a problem that exists mostly in the minds of conservatives and the medical establishment (Michael Hiltzik, 9/20).
The New York Times: In Context, Health Premium Increases Don't Actually Look Like Increases
Based on data available so far, we reported last week that the average premiums for last year's most popular plans would rise 8.4 percent, but that people willing to switch plans could get much better deals — an average 1 percent increase, and even decreases in some markets. But is 8.4 percent an alarming increase or a good deal for a plan you like? Is a 1 percent increase a disappointment or a terrific bargain? To put both increases in context, we've assembled some historical data on insurance markets that existed before the Affordable Care Act (Margot Sanger-Katz, 9/22).
The Washington Post: Virginia Republicans Reject Any And All Suggestions To Expand Health Coverage
The opposition of Virginia's GOP lawmakers to any form of Medicaid expansion — under any conditions or timetable or permutation — has assumed its own convoluted logic. They are against using federal funds to insure poor Virginians mainly because the other side — namely, President Obama — is for it. The blatant bankruptcy of the Republican position was on display in Richmond this week, where legislators met in special session to debate the Medicaid expansion — despite the fact that the GOP-controlled House of Delegates had dug in its heels .... They have advanced no legislation, nor even the seed of an idea, that would provide a basic safety net for their low-income constituents who must deal with their health problems by visiting emergency rooms. That is a costly and inefficient means of providing health care (9/19).
The New York Times: Can a Computer Replace Your Doctor?
Silicon Valley is bringing a host of new data-driven technologies to health care, many of them with enormous potential. But before we rush to measure every human attribute in real time, it would be a good idea to ask: When is more data actually useful to promote and ensure better health? And when does technology add true value to health care? The results have been mixed (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 9/20).
The Wall Street Journal: What Health Issues Will Millennials Face That Their Parents Didn't?
New technologies, economic shifts and demographic trends have changed the way millennials manage work and play. What about health? To get some perspective, we asked a group of health-care professionals this question: What health issue will millennials have to deal with that their parents didn't? (9/19).
The Washington Post: The Challenge Of Fighting Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs
When some of the best science minds in the United States say a problem has become "dire," requires "urgent attention," is growing at an "alarming rate" and has become "a crisis" that threatens medicine, economic growth, public health, agriculture and national security, it might be wise to listen. That is what President Obama's outside science advisers told him Thursday about the rise of antibiotic resistance, the growing tendency of bacteria to overcome the antibiotics that are a bedrock of modern medicine (9/20).
The New York Times: A Cancer Battle We Can Win
The war against cancer can be confusing, with providers, insurers and policy makers debating the effectiveness of treatments, prevention programs and research. But there is one significant victory within our grasp. There is, increasingly, a consensus that CT screening for lung cancer can save thousands of lives each year (Andrea McKee and Andrew Salner, 9/21).
Health Affairs: Different Parts Of The Same Elephant: Medicaid Research And State Expansion Decisions
Debates about Medicaid expansion betray an underlying fundamental disagreement not only about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but about the Medicaid program itself. Medicaid, unlike Medicare, lacks the near-universal buy-in to the fundamental value of the program to beneficiaries' health and well-being. As a means-tested (read welfare-related) program, Medicaid raises concerns and disagreements regarding work (dis)incentives, labor market effects, the "deserving" poor, and how this relates to the construct of health care as a right and a public good (Donna Friedsam, 9/19).