KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Health Marketplace Already Has Eligibility Verification; Entitlement Fight Lies Ahead

Los Angeles Times: Tea Partiers Shut Down The Government, And All They Get Is A T-Shirt?
If I were an entrepreneur in Washington, I'd be racing to print a bunch of T-shirts that said, "My tea party Republican shut down the government, and all I got was this lousy income verification mandate." ... Critics of the law have asserted that the new federal and state exchanges will issue subsidies on an "honor system," with no verification of eligibility. That would invite large-scale fraud if it were true -- but it isn't. The government's goal is to verify eligibility automatically by checking various federal and state databases to determine an applicant's immigration status and income (Jon Healey, 10/17).

The New York Times: Common Interests, Not Confrontation
What should not happen is a proposal made by Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, on Thursday to trade long-term cuts in entitlement programs for short-term increases in domestic spending. As the majority leader, Harry Reid, quickly made clear, entitlement changes can't be discussed until Republicans accept the need for tax increases. But that doesn't rule out finding areas of common ground in hammering out a 2014 budget (10/17). 

The Wall Street Journal: 'How Business Is Done In This Town'
The obvious trade is a down payment on entitlement reform. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has proposals at the ready, some of them from Mr. Obama's own budget. They include means-testing benefits for the affluent, raising the retirement age for Medicare, improving the inflation index for calculating Social Security, and changing the incentives for first-dollar coverage on Medigap policies. Far more needs to be done to address America's long-term entitlement problem, but these reforms are better than nothing. If Mr. Obama won't go even this far and still insists on a tax increase, Republicans should tell him to live with the sequester and call again after the 2014 election (10/17).

Politico: The Defunding Debacle
Now, the same defunders who argued that Obamacare would be unrepealable beginning Oct. 1 with the opening of the exchanges are vowing to fight on against the health care law — as they should. It will be a long fight, requiring not just passion and principle but also a little strategic wisdom (Rich Lowry, 10/18).

The Wall Street Journal: The Charge Of The Defund Brigade
The rollout of the ObamaCare exchanges has been a failure. Not "glitchy." Not "troubled." Failure. Had the GOP not been mired in shutdown headlines, had it spent 24/7 highlighting the enrollment disasters, the flood of premium hikes and canceled policies, the layoffs and cut hours, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius might at this moment be facing forced resignation. ... Defund ObamaCare was the wrong fight, at the wrong time, facing impossible odds, and conducted by generals who lacked an endgame. Being right isn't always enough (Kimberley A. Strassel, 10/17).

The Wall Street Journal: We Won't Back Down On ObamaCare
Now that the government shutdown has ended and the president has preserved ObamaCare for the time being, it's worth explaining why my organization, the Heritage Foundation, and other conservatives chose this moment to fight—and why we will continue to fight. The reason is simple: to protect the American people from the harmful effects of this law (Jim DeMint, 10/17).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Andre And 116,500 Others In The Region Are Caught In PA’s Coverage Gap
When it comes to health coverage, 116,500 low-income adults in southeastern Pennsylvania, the vast majority of them working, are betwixt and between. Andre Butler, a banquet server, is one such uninsured Philadelphian, caught in Pennsylvania’s coverage gap. ... As part of his Healthy PA plan, Governor Corbett has proposed a way to provide affordable coverage for people like Andre, through commercial insurance plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace in Pennsylvania. ... The hospital community urges Governor Corbett to move as quickly as possible to finalize his plan and expand coverage (Curt Schroder, 10/15).

And on another issue -

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Policy On Propofol For Colonoscopies May Be Shortsighted
There is perhaps no better metaphor for the painful relationship between patients and our for-profit healthcare system than the fact that Anthem Blue Cross thinks you don't need anesthesia for a colonoscopy. It's not "medically necessary," the insurer says. Anyone who has experienced this most invasive of medical procedures might think otherwise (David Lazarus, 10/17). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.