KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: The Campaign Against Birth Control; Paying For N.Y.’s Autism Mandate

The New York Times: The Birth Control Solution
What if there were a solution to many of the global problems that confront us, from climate change to poverty to civil wars? There is, but it is starved of resources. It's called family planning, and it has been a victim of America's religious wars (Nicholas Kristof, 11/2).

The Wall Street Journal: New York's Mandate Disorder
One reason U.S. health care is so dysfunctional is that the government rarely learns from its mistakes — or more accurately, government looks at the results, considers them, and then makes them worse. Today's case study is New York. On Tuesday Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will require Empire State insurance companies to cover autism, including screening and a variety of treatments. Mr. Cuomo called it "inexcusable that financial constraints would stand in the way of a brighter future for those affected by this disorder." Autism is a terrible developmental disease, but clicking his ruby slippers together three times and wishing won't make those financial constraints go away (11/3).

Denver Post: Creative Health Care Solutions
After years of debate, analysis and Monday morning quarterbacking about our broken health care system, Coloradans find ourselves presented with a unique opportunity to think outside the box and create a solution to cut costs while extending quality coverage to all our residents. With the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the process of being implemented, and with the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange board set in motion by the state legislature earlier this year, the time is ripe to make real reform to a system demanding change (State Sen. Irene Aguilar, 11/2).

San Francisco Chronicle: Obama Taking Lead On Prescription Drug Supply
President Obama is flexing his powers to fix an out-of-whack drug market. It's a useful though limited answer to a worrisome shortage of hospital medications and a sign of the president's impatience with a slow-moving Congress. … By themselves, these steps won't instantly solve supply problems. But the actions serve notice of Washington's intense interest in getting production moving (11/2).

Politico: CLASS Act Tackles Problems Of Aging
Critics of CLASS cannot have it both ways. You cannot fault it for lacking the means to ensure a diverse, financially-stable, healthy risk pool while you challenge the Affordable Care Act for doing just that. CLASS provided Americans with an affordable but voluntary long-term insurance option. Preventing adverse selection — the challenge arising when only those already needing long-term care seek to buy insurance — would have to be addressed during implementation. ... Everyone needs long-term care insurance, because no one is immune from disabling injuries or incapacitating disorders. If that is not compelling enough — the inevitability of aging should be (Rep. Ted Deutch, 11/2).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colorado news service): It Was A CLASS Act
Rather than really looking at the program and how we might make it work, some are crowing over its suspension and calling for its demise. Some didn't like it because it was proposed by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Some because it was part of health reform. Some thought it was a gimmick. Some opposed it because it was government-sponsored. But the fact is that losing the program, or even the possibility of the program, is not a victory at all. It's a great loss (Elisabeth Arenales, 11/2).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Good Food, Healthy Living, Lower Costs
After reading "City Council stumbles aboard healthful-food bandwagon" (Oct. 22), some may be shaking their heads and asking: Why should Minneapolis elected officials be discussing whether to encourage healthy food options for their employees? The simple fact is that there is a lot riding on the health of our employees, both for the employees and for taxpayers. … Health care premium costs are dictated by the amount spent on claims — claims that can be directly reduced through healthy lifestyle choices (Betsy Hodges, 11/2).

The New England Journal of Medicine: Evidence-Based Medicine In The EMR Era
Many physicians take great pride in the practice of evidence-based medicine. ... What should we do, though, when there aren't even meager data available and we don't have a single anecdote on which to draw? ... Without clear evidence to guide us and needing to make a decision swiftly, we turned to a new approach, using the data captured in our institution's electronic medical record (EMR) and an innovative research data warehouse. ... Our case is but one example of a situation in which the existing literature is insufficient to guide the clinical care of a patient. But it illustrates a novel process that is likely to become much more standard with the widespread adoption of EMRs and more sophisticated informatics tools (Drs. Jennifer Frankovich, Christopher A. Longhurst and Scott M. Sutherland, 11/2).

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