KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Policy Perspectives: GOP Confronts Health Care Conflicts, Possibilities For Compromise; Judge’s ‘Risk Corridor’ Ruling Serves As GOP ‘Rebuke’

Opinion writers offer a variety of thoughts on the current zeitgeist surrounding the Capitol Hill repeal-and-replace discussion as well as a number of other policy issues.

Louisville Courier-Journal: Growing Enemy Threatens GOP Existence In Their Infighting Over Obamacare
The HBO series "Game of Thrones" presents a strange irony for the audience at home. While various ancient families fight over an ugly throne in a capital that no one actually wants to live in, there is a growing enemy that threatens their collective existence. Though the audience at home knows this, most of the characters are ignorant or indifferent to it. This is eerily similar to watching Republicans fight to repeal, replace, alter, or mold Obamacare, while Democrats pave the way for a single payer health care system. (Jordan Harris, 8/8)

Bloomberg: How To Compromise On Health Care
Progressives are understandably breathing a sigh of relief following the Senate’s failure to repeal Obamacare and replace it with legislation that would have scaled back health-insurance coverage. But they shouldn’t be too comfortable in their victory — it’s temporary. President Donald Trump has threatened not to support the Affordable Care Act. If the Trump administration decides not to make critical payments to insurers, or stops enforcing the tax penalty for people who don’t buy insurance, the law could be in serious trouble. And even if the administration continues to support Obamacare’s success, progressives should be clear that the law still needs improvements. (Michael R. Strain, 8/7)

Los Angeles Times: In A Rebuke To The GOP, A Federal Judge Orders The Government To Pay Molina Health $52 Million In Obamacare Funds
The main thread of the Republican effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act may have been snipped apart on the Senate floor late last month, but vestiges of its campaign of vandalism still remain. On Friday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., kicked away one of its legs in a $52-million ruling in favor of Molina Healthcare. The Long Beach health insurance company, which specializes in Obamacare coverage, sought the money in accordance with the ACA’s risk corridor provision. In his second ruling in a row on the issue, the federal judge in the case took direct aim at what may have been the most cynical attack on the ACA that Congressional Republicans cooked up. The judge, Thomas C. Wheeler of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, had awarded Moda Health of Oregon $214 million just last February. His reasoning this time around was almost identical. (Michael Hiltzik, 8/7)

The Washington Post: Will Congress Force Me To Deny Health Care To Children Once Again?
It has been 20 years since I’ve had to tell a mother she had no options for insuring her child. At the time, I had been treating a little boy who was born prematurely and required developmental therapies. He toddled over to me from across the waiting room, shouting my name to show that he could. But his mother had found a new job at her aunt’s hair salon, making her no longer eligible for Medicaid. We were forced to turned them away. (Dorothy R. Novick, 8/7)

The New York Times: Medicare Advantage Spends Less on Care, So Why Is It Costing So Much?
The Medicare Advantage program was supposed to save taxpayers money by allowing insurers to offer older Americans private alternatives to Medicare. The plans now cover 19 million people, a third of all those who qualify for Medicare. Enrollee satisfaction is generally high, and studies show that plans offer higher quality than traditional Medicare. But the government pays insurers more than they pay out for patient care — in some years, it turns out, a great deal more. (Austin Frakt, 8/7)

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