KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Wilensky On ‘Ending Medicare As We’ve Known It’; Abortion Politics, The Election And ‘Absolutists’

Journal of the American Medical Association: A Sea Change For Medicare: The Debate We've Never Had
Democrats have charged Republicans with "ending Medicare as we've known it" and have been generally successful in making that claim stick in the mind of the public. The interesting fact is that Democrats have also "ended Medicare as we've known it"  -- that is, as an open-ended entitlement -- but thus far, they seem to have escaped getting hit with the same label. If the [Independent Payment Advisory Board] ever actually goes into effect, it will be interesting to see whether they will continue to be successful at dodging their own charge (Gail Wilensky, 10/26).

Bloomberg: On Abortion, Absolutists Will Always Lose
The anti-abortion movement is newly animated by its growing power in the Republican Party. ... But like a previous generation of prohibitionists, anti-abortion absolutists risk being broken on their own hard aversion to compromise. ... This isn't a course that politicians who support abortion rights should emulate. Those rights will be better protected if supporters recognize and respect the validity of opposing views. Even if Roe v. Wade is eventually overturned -- and we hope it won't be -- the anti-abortion victory will be short-lived. The political middle may appear mushy, but if provoked it will prove surprisingly powerful. ... The militants of either side will not win this one (10/29).

Roll Call: The Economy Is Crumbling So Let's Talk Abortion And Rape
Democratic candidates, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the House, are running ads on abortion, Planned Parenthood funding and stem cell research. ... Abortion is an important issue to many. The same holds for stem cell research and same-sex marriage. ... But with choices on taxes, spending, the budget deficit and entitlements staring the electorate in the face, it's interesting that so many Democratic ads are focusing on cultural issues and so many Republicans are fumbling around with them (Stuart Rothenberg, 10/29).

Journal of the American Medical Association: The Power To Block The Affordable Care Act
Repeal of the ACA or blanket state waivers are unlikely given the political and constitutional landscape. Still, if a President Romney or a Republican-controlled Congress remained determined to do so, there would be ample opportunity to slow or block full ACA implementation. The future of health care reform hinges on the November 6 election. The public has a clear choice -- either continue on the pathway toward full health reform or scale back and adopt market-based solutions. What is at stake is a fundamental vision of how to ensure near-universal access to quality care at an affordable cost (John D. Kraemer and Lawrence O. Gostin, 10/29).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Budget Must Invest In Mental Health Services
Downsizing institutional services without significantly increasing community services is not responsible. When people leave the hospital or crisis facilities, sufficient supports will not be available to prevent the next crisis. If we do not significantly expand community services, our county's psychiatric emergency room will continue to be the second busiest in the country, with about 14,000 people coming through the doors annually, the majority in a police car in handcuffs (Barbara Beckert and Mary Neubauer, 10/29).

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