KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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The Debate On Health Care: The Need For Bipartisanship; The Origin Of The Rage

Opinion writers analyze where Congress turns now on the health law and the factors affecting the political decisions.

The New York Times: Let’s Stop The Bickering And Fix The Health Care System
If either of us were building the American health care system from scratch, we’d probably end up in different places. We have contrasting ideas — one of us is a Democrat, the other a Republican — about what ails the system and how to reshape it. But this is not the time for more partisan fighting. It’s time to build a better system, even if incrementally, because that’s what the American people deserve. It’s time to put aside blame and stabilize a health care marketplace where premiums are expected to rise by more than 15 percent in most states and millions of people are worried about obtaining or affording coverage. (Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), 8/4)

Boston Globe: Pushing The Reset Button On Health Care
The Senate’s defeat of this most recent attempt to repair America’s health care system gives Congress a golden opportunity to start over by applying a much smarter approach — not repeal or replace, but “reset.” Throughout my career in public office, I’ve learned that meaningful change happens only with bipartisan support, open debate, and the normal push and pull of the legislative process. (Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 8/3)

Reuters: Why Republicans Will Always Struggle To Repeal Obamacare
With John McCain’s dramatic “no” vote, the Health Care Freedom Act (HFCA) died early last Friday morning and with it any hope of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the foreseeable future. While conservatives might prefer to blame incompetent vote-whipping in the Senate, the ACA could prove resilient for the same reason Medicare and Social Security have: most voters prefer not to wonder if they will be able to eat when hungry or see a doctor when sick. Any program that gives more economic security to a broad, politically powerful group will be dangerous to meddle with, even in these polarized times. (Scott Lemieux, 8/3)

The New York Times: Obamacare Rage In Retrospect
Why did Obamacare survive? The shocking answer: It’s still here because it does so much good. Tens of millions have health coverage — imperfect, but far better than none at all — thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Millions more rest easier knowing that coverage will still be available if something goes wrong — if, for example, they lose their employer-sponsored plan or develop a chronic condition. Which raises a big question: Why did the prospect of health reform produce so much popular rage in 2009 and 2010? (Paul Krugman, 8/4)

Forbes: Put Out The Fire Instead Of Burning Exchanges To The Ground: Extend Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments
The 6 percent of Americans who buy their insurance on the individual market are the small business people, contract workers, entrepreneurs, musicians, stay-at-home parents, job seekers, and the millions of Americans who can’t receive coverage through their employers. They are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Trump supporters and Hillary voters. And their ability to purchase coverage on the exchanges is in jeopardy, as mixed signals from Congress and the Administration have left insurers scrambling to decide whether to hike already costly premiums or pull out entirely—triggering the beginnings of collapse in some regions. (Bill Frist, 8/3)

The Washington Post: This Is Not How Mitch McConnell Wanted To Head Into Recess
It’s as if the summer turned into the perfect storm against the best-laid plans of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Soon after Memorial Day, McConnell (R-Ky.) drew up a game plan around approving a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act by the end of June. The benefits were twofold, providing House Republicans a few weeks to approve the Senate version and send it to President Trump. (Paul Kane, 8/3)

Bloomberg: Defining Success Or Failure For Obamacare
It is fair to say that I’m more bearish on Obamacare than people to the left of me. But you can be bearish on Obamacare without thinking that it is going to melt down in a cataclysm so utter that the living will envy the dead (at least until a premium-induced heart attack causes them to join that happy group). You can be bullish on Obamacare without thinking that this program has achieved the platonic ideal of health insurance, leaving our citizenry with little to do except stroll around this new heaven, singing songs of praise for the almighty Cost-Sharing Reduction. Unfortunately, both sides of the debate are too fond of attributing these ultra-strong opinions to their opponents, and then triumphantly proving them untrue. (Megan McArdle, 8/3)

And on the health debate in California --

Sacramento Bee: The Real Barrier To Single Payer Health Care
Under SB 562, a Medicare-for-all bill, not only would every Californian be guaranteed health coverage, but all premiums, as well as deductibles and copays, would be eliminated. ... Revenue to achieve a truly universal system could be raised with two fair taxes with exemptions for low-income residents and small businesses. (Deborah Burger, 8/3)

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