KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Rick Perry Says Obama Is Selling A ‘Broken’ Medicaid System; House GOP Assailed For ‘Foolish’ Repeat Of Repeal Vote

USA Today: Editorial: Your Health Care Vs. Your Governor
Not so meaningless, however, are recent decisions of several states to resist what ought to be some of the less controversial aspects of ObamaCare. They're refusing to set up easy-to-use exchanges that would help residents make insurance choices. And they're turning down a Medicaid expansion, which will deny insurance to millions who can't afford coverage and shift the cost of their care to people who have it (7/11).

USA Today: ObamaCare A Bad Deal For The States
Setting aside the brazen intrusion into state sovereignty and the gross federal overreach, the practical problem with ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion is that the product the administration is selling is broken. State and federal budgets are simply unable to handle an expansion of this magnitude (Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 7/11).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Medicaid Expansion Is A Bad Deal For Georgians
The salient number here is not $35 billion, which is the estimated amount Washington would chip in toward Georgia's Medicaid expansion between 2014 and 2023. It's $4.5 billion, the minimum amount this move would cost Georgia taxpayers in those years…. Even if state lawmakers were inclined to spend an extra billion or two on health care, they'd be wise to avoid the golden handcuffs of a Medicaid expansion (Kyle Wingfield, 7/12).

Des Moines Register: Government's Authority To Coerce Will Not End With Obamacare
The court did, however, invalidate the part of the Obamacare's Medicaid expansion that would have taken away current Medicaid funding (a figurative "gun to the head," in the words of the court) from states that did not follow Obamacare’s order to dramatically increase their Medicaid programs. ... This expansion would cost states billions and would further crowd out other important state priorities, such as education, transportation and public safety, all in the name of throwing millions into a failing, unsustainable Medicaid system (Rep. Steve King, 7/11).

Los Angeles Times: In His Heart, Romney Cares About Blacks, Healthcare. Really.
And now, a lesson in political-speak: being specific vs. being silly. Republican presidential nominee-to-be Mitt Romney told the NAACP that he has the "best interest" of Americans at heart and that blacks in particular should vote for him. ... it's apparently impossible for him to communicate why he believes he's the best man for African Americans. But if it were, Romney said, black people would vote for him. Apparently they'll just have to trust him on that score (David Lazarus, 7/11).

The Washington Post: Republicans Vote to Repeal Medicare Cuts They Voted For And Are Campaigning Against
Just now, the House voted, one more time, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, by an almost straight-line party vote of 244-185, with every Republican voting for "full repeal" and all but five Democrats voting against it. ... a parade of Republicans went to the House floor today bashing Barack Obama, the Democrats, and the health law for cutting $500 billion from Medicare — one of their central attacks on Dems for two straight cycles now — despite supporting those very same cuts in their own budget, the Paul Ryan plan (Jonathan Bernstein, 7/11).

The Wall Street Journal: No One Would Miss ObamaCare, But The Window For Repeal Is Two Years
President Obama has repeatedly warned that Americans will be hurt if part or all of the legislation is rolled back. "People's lives are affected by the lack of availability of health care," Mr. Obama has told reporters, "the inaffordability of health care, their inability to get health care because of pre-existing conditions." In fact, very few people would be hurt if part or all of the law is repealed, and millions of them would be helped (Merrill Matthews, 7/11).

McClatchy Newspapers: Dogged Effort To Repeal Health Care Law Misses The Big Picture
The ink on the Supreme Court decision affirming the Affordable Care Act isn't yet dry, but Republican leaders in the House this week will vote on a measure to scrap the law. We write this as a lifelong Democrat and Republican. We are nurses first, and we know that good health care isn't about politics and profits. The partisan bickering that pollutes our political system has no place in our hospitals and clinics. Our patients simply cannot afford any more delays when it comes to affordable care and protections from the worst of insurance company abuses (Margie Forest and Bonnie Chappell, 7/11).

Baltimore Sun: House Foolish To Vote Against Health Care Reform
Next time the more bombastic in Washington rail against government waste, let them include every cent lost to Wednesday's dog and pony show in the House of Representatives, where time that might have been used constructively was frittered away with yet another attack on health care reform. For those who might have accidentally tuned into C-Span shortly before 1:30 p.m., that was not a repeat but an actual live telecast. For the 33rd time since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, the House held a vote to repeal part or all of it (7/11).

Denver Post: Pay Me Now, Pay Me Later
This is the fundamental difference, I think, between the American approach to health care and the European one. Europeans regard health care as a right. Americans, especially those in the middle class, see it almost as a privilege, less essential perhaps than a car (Eva Syrovy, 7/12).

Houston Chronicle: First We Should Decide If Health Care Is A Right
Since the 2008 election campaign, the United States has not engaged in a debate about health care at all. We have engaged in a debate about how to pay for health care, particularly the health care consumed by those without health insurance…. How to pay for health insurance is the second debate we should have. The first debate is whether or not health care is a right of the citizenry of this country (Dr. Leonard A. Zwelling, 7/11).

Journal of the American Medical Association: Physicians' First Amendment Rights To Discuss Firearms With Patients Upheld In Florida
Although the Supreme Court has moved further in recent years in affirming the right to bear firearms, physicians who discuss firearm safety with their patients do not detract from the patients' right to possess firearms allowable under state law. Patients are free to accept or reject physician advice, but they attend a medical consultation precisely to receive objective information about their health and safety (Lawrence Gostin, 7/11).

CNN: Mississippi's End Run Around Abortion
It's possible (the Mississippi) legislature has cannily unlocked a way to make abortion illegal without having to overturn Roe v. Wade. The state has instituted a series of unreasonable regulations for doctors who perform abortions. Using a practice very similar to the kind of bottlenecking that was done to suppress black votes during the Jim Crow era, Mississippi has systematically squeezed the number of abortion clinics in the state down to just one. And if a federal court ultimately finds its new regulations constitutional, that one will be gone too (LZ Granderson, 7/12).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): How Hot-Spotting Stops 'Bedbugs' And Other Social Ills
There are numerous social "bedbugs" just outside the health care sector that negatively impact individuals' health. In more abstract terms, these factors are known as the "social determinants of health" – the economic, environmental, behavioral and social conditions that influence individual and group differences in health status. Collectively, they are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age (Dr. Mark Wallace, 7/11).

San Francisco Chronicle: State Must Address Adult-Care Issues
Naturally, those people who found themselves no longer eligible for [Community-Based Adult Services] want a fair explanation of why this is the case. Unfortunately, the process for ruling people eligible has been contentious and confusing…. One of the ultimate solutions might be to revisit the eligibility requirements. But in the meantime, the state needs to abide by the criteria to which it agreed (7/11)

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