Viewpoints: Health Law Opposition Not Propelling GOP; Keep Politics Out Of The Fight Against Ebola
USA Today: Obamacare Upsets GOP Election Plan: Our View
As recently as April, Obamacare was going to be the silver bullet for Republicans in this year's midterm elections. The leader of conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity said his plan was to make Obamacare "the No. 1 issue in the country." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared that the law would be "a huge disaster in 2014" and the deciding factor in November. Well, that was then. Now, three weeks from Election Day, some GOP challengers trying to knock off Democratic incumbent senators have scaled back their anti-Obamacare ads in favor of new targets such as the economy and national security (10/13).
USA Today: Ed Gillespie: Replace This Flawed Law
The Affordable Care Act -- "Obamacare" -- increases health costs, federal spending and government control. It reduces job growth, patient choice and the quality of care. We need to replace it with patient-centered, market-oriented reforms. ... The alternative I support (modeled after the plan put out by the 2017 Project) would provide a tax credit to everyone who buys health insurance in the individual market. Those with employer-provided insurance already get a tax break, and those who buy insurance on their own should, too (Ed Gillespie, 10/13).
The New York Times' Taking Note: McConnell And Grimes Debate: United In Vagueness
[Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch] McConnell approached [his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan] Grimes's "ballot box secrecy"-level of absurdity when Mr. Goodman asked him if "Obamacare and Kynect" had been "a boon or bane" for the state. The difficulty for Mr. McConnell is that the Affordable Care Act is politically toxic in Kentucky, while Kynect -- which is the state's health insurance program created under the Affordable Care Act -- is a runaway success. Mr. McConnell's attempt to separate the two made no sense. The Affordable Care Act should be "pulled out root and branch." As for Kynect, that’s just "a website. It was paid for by a grant. The website can continue." Seeking clarity, Mr. Goodman asked if Mr. McConnell would support the continuation of Kynect. "Yeah, I think it’s fine to have a website, yeah," said the senator (Juliet Lapidos, 10/13).
Bloomberg: Are Medicaid Boosters Too Optimistic?
A spurt of Republican states changing their minds on Medicaid expansion backs up an optimistic argument you hear a lot in health-policy circles: It took a long time for all 50 states to sign up for the original Medicaid program, and the expansion will unfold in the same way -- slowly but surely. ... But interviews with hospital and insurer associations in states that have yet to expand Medicaid suggest that "eventually" could be a lot longer this time around. If so, the federal government might need a change in tack, as it tries to extend coverage to almost 5 million people (Christopher Flavelle, 10/13).
The Tennessean: Haslam Must Walk Fine Political Line On Medicaid
It is unlikely that Gov. Bill Haslam will propose a Tennessee Plan to expand Medicaid coverage until sometime after the November election, but the governor remains optimistic that a plan to expand is doable, according to advisers. In September, almost 18 months after the governor announced that the state would not participate in the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion provisions, he said that meetings and conversations were happening with the Department of Health and Human Services. When that news broke, legislators were quick to respond with criticism (Daniels, 10/13).
Kansas City Star: Medicaid Expansion Divides Candidates For Kansas Governor
Brownback and Republicans in the Legislature, for example, have fiercely resisted anything connected with the Affordable Care Act, which you may call Obamacare. The state rejected an early grant to set up a health insurance purchasing exchange and declined to set one up on its own dime. It also has refused to expand Medicaid coverage to more of the poor. Republicans have privatized Medicaid in the state, adding some people to the rolls but causing problems for some patients with disabilities. All of these decisions are of a piece: In general, Republicans don’t believe government should play a significant role in providing health insurance coverage (Helling, 10/13).
The New York Times: Reproductive Rights On The Ballot
State ballot measures aimed at ending or severely limiting abortion rights have fared poorly in recent years. But their proponents will try again on Nov. 4 with initiatives in Colorado, North Dakota and Tennessee (10/13).
Los Angeles Times: Ebola Is Much Less Scary Than Hollywood's 'Contagion.' Or Is It?
The 2011 hit about a runaway virus that kills millions has probably come to mind to more than a few people of late as we watch governments struggle to contain Ebola and reassure the public. So far, real life is much less scary. In the film a bat virus finds its way into a pig and then into a promiscuous American played by Gwyneth Paltrow who quickly dies as "patient zero" of a horrifying global pandemic. Ironically, as America's Ebola patient zero lay dying in a Dallas hospital last week, the real Paltrow was lavishing praise on the president at a $15,000-per-plate fundraiser in her Los Angeles home (Jonah Goldberg, 10/13).
The Washington Post: U.S. Hospitals Not Prepared For Ebola Threat
It is long past time to stop relying on a business-as-usual approach to a virus that has killed thousands in West Africa and has such a frighteningly high mortality rate. There is no margin for error. That means there can be no standard short of optimal in the protective equipment, such as hazmat suits, given to nurses and others who are the first to engage patients with Ebola-like symptoms. All nurses must have access to the same state-of-the-art equipment used by Emory University Hospital staff when they transported Ebola patients from Africa, but too many hospitals are trying to get by on the cheap (RoseAnn DeMoro, 10/13).
The Wall Street Journal: No More Ebola Whac-A-Mole
Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people, and the number of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone is growing rapidly. We don’t know how many will ultimately die. But we do know that unless the world takes broader, more coordinated steps aimed at anticipating outbreaks like Ebola and controlling them early, we’ll be vulnerable to this and other devastating diseases (Nathan Wolfe, 10/13).
Bloomberg: Ebola And Politics Don't Mix
The Ebola virus is a terrible, deadly disease that we should fight assiduously. Our health-care system dropped the ball in Dallas, with potentially tragic results for that nurse. We should absolutely be talking about what our government, and our hospitals, might need to do differently. And all of this really has nothing to do with your prior positions on everything from health-care finance to immigration. Dragging out your political hobbyhorses is not helping; rather, it is a most unwelcome distraction from the conversations we do need to have (Megan McArdle, 10/13).
Los Angeles Times: The Rise Of Unretirement
Yet the specter of an aging population haunts America. The leading edge of the boomer generation is filing for Social Security and Medicare, with some 10,000 boomers turning 65 every day. The dire demographics of aging seem to inform our discussions, from Senate hearings on retirement to Wall Street research on the economy. Our public discourse about an aging society is along the lines of fear and loathing, paraphrasing the late gonzo writer and baby boom legend Hunter S. Thompson (Chris Farrell, 10/13).
The Wall Street Journal: Smile And Say Price-Fixing
It's not every day the Federal Trade Commission stumbles onto the right side of an antitrust case. And on Tuesday the Supreme Court hears arguments in an FTC case about whether dentists can band together as a cartel and prevent other businesses from offering a service, even as they claim a special exemption to price-fixing laws (10/13).
Journal of the American Medical Association: Who Determines Physician Effectiveness?
It is a paradox. Although physicians do not control patient behavior, physician effectiveness is increasingly determined by patient behavior. There is a trend toward physician ratings being based on specific metrics related to the management of chronic illness. Such markers include glycosylated hemoglobin levels, blood pressure, body mass index, and smoking rates, along with other factors known to affect risk of morbidity and mortality. However, the physician contribution to changing the actual outcomes is limited (Paul J. Hershberger and Dean A. Bricker, 10/13).