KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Gov. Jindal Calls Medicaid An ‘Outdated Model;’ GOP’s Opposition To ‘Big Government’ Hurts Effort To Revamp Entitlements

The Washington Post: Let's Meet On Medicaid, Mr. President
As the implementation of Obamacare unfortunately nears, every governor must decide whether to expand Medicaid. This is not a simple question. Expanding Medicaid will significantly burden state budgets across the country. ... The Obama administration heralds this as a tremendous bargain for states. That's simply not the case. The administration overlooks that Medicaid is largely failing current enrollees with its outdated model that costs billions of taxpayer dollars and produces poor outcomes (Gov. Bobby Jindal, 1/28).

The New York Times: A Second G.O.P.
The core American conflict, in (the Republican narrative), is between Big Government and Personal Freedom. While losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the flaws of this mentality have become apparent. First, if opposing government is your primary objective, it's hard to have a positive governing program. ... Moreover, given all the antigovernment rhetoric, (the public) will never trust these Republicans to reform cherished programs like Social Security and Medicare. You can't be for entitlement reform and today's G.O.P., because politically the two will never go together (David Brooks, 1/29).

The Wall Street Journal: To Outsmart ObamaCare, Go Protean
How big can a company get with just 50 employees? We're about to find out. Thousands of small businesses across the U.S. are desperately looking for a way to escape their own fiscal cliff. That's because ObamaCare is forcing them to cover their employees' health care or pay a fine—either of which will cut into profits and stymie future investment and growth (Paul Christiansen, 1/28). 

Arizona Republic: Arizona's Medicaid System Is Effective
The suggestion that our state’s Medicaid patients are shuttered off to a "low-quality, government-managed health insurance system with limited medical options" is preposterous. States across America are now trying to emulate Arizona's model for patient-centered managed care, provided through an innovative public-private partnership where private health plans -- not the government -- coordinate the health care for their members (Deb Gullett, 1/28).

Reuters: Insight: Think Preventive Medicine Will Save Money? Think Again
In a report released on Tuesday, the non-profit Trust for America's Health outlined a plan "to move from sick care to health care" by putting more resources into preventing chronic disease rather than treating it, as the current system does.  But the report also makes an economic argument for preventive care, highlighting the possibility of reducing healthcare spending -- which in 2011 reached $2.7 trillion, just shy of 18 percent of gross domestic product -- by billions of dollars. And that has health economists shaking their heads (Sharon Begley, 1/29).

MinnPost: New Regulations Of Compounded Medicines Mean Fewer Options At Higher Prices
Compounding pharmacies can offer a wider variety of mixtures and doses than are available at most pharmacies. ... Doctors, state boards of pharmacy and legislators all share a strong desire to improve safety for patients treated with compounded medications. Compounding is an important source of medication for our health-care system. We should focus on oversight of sterile processing at compounding pharmacies, rather than limit the choices available to patients and doctors (Geoffrey Emerson, 1/28).

The New York Times: A Brief History Of Panic
The fright and flight experience of panic that characterized yellow fever and cholera outbreaks began to change around the turn of the century as scientists identified the microbes that caused disease. Permanent health departments sprouted in cities and towns. The confidence that came with the new germ theory seemed to provide shelter from the panicky days of old. ... Governments increasingly saw it as their duty to prevent both disease and disease-related panic (Amy L. Fairchild, David Merritt Johns and Kavita Sivaramakrishan, 1/28). 

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