KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s Op-Eds: The ObamaCare Suit; Fixing Physician Pay; A Federal Takeover Of Medicaid; Cues From Britain

Joining The ObamaCare Suit The Wall Street Journal
The voters showed their loathing for the law on November 2, and a large, united legal front of states would increase the chances that the courts find it unconstitutional and preserve our federal system (11/18).

The Medicare Doc Fix: Physicians Again Are Staring Into The Abyss Kaiser Health News 
Physician payments need to move away from the current practice of billing for more than 8,000 CPT -- Current Procedural Terminology -- codes to a more bundled system in which payments are made for taking care of chronic diseases and for high cost, high volume interventions; or to a system that is closer to salary-based reimbursement (Gail Wilensky, 11/18).

The Texas Medicaid Scenario – Why It's Never Going To Happen Kaiser Health News
Federalizing the Medicaid burden, as Greg Anrig proposes, is essential to stabilizing state budgets and providing more humane and sustainable health policies. From this perspective, health reform remains flawed, not because it overstepped, but because it stopped short of what really needed to be done (Harold Pollack, 11/18).

Why I Would Raise Taxes The New York Times
Under a defined contribution setup, the government could cap the growth of its defined contributions to the health care costs of the elderly, potentially shifting the risk of more rapid health care cost increases from the taxpayer to the elderly. This idea was not on the plate in The Times's deficit puzzle, and it is a controversial topic in its own right (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 11/18).

10 Reasons Not To Repeal Health Reform Aol News
While we do have centers of excellent health care, the fact is that the U.S. too often falls far behind these other industrialized nations on many measures of access, quality, efficiency and health outcomes -- despite spending more than twice what other countries spend on average, or more than $7,500 per person in 2008 (Cathy Schoen, 11/18).

New Health Law Falls Short The Charlotte Observer
By replacing our inefficient, dysfunctional patchwork of private insurers with a streamlined, single payer of all medical bills, much like Medicare operates today, our nation would save about $400 billion annually in reduced administrative costs. That's enough to cover everyone, with no co-pays or deductibles. We'd also acquire very strong cost-control tools like the ability to negotiate fees and purchase medications in bulk (Margaret Flowers, 11/18).

Repealing Obamacare, State By State San Diego Union Tribune 
Fighting Obamacare, however, is not enough. Merely restoring the status quo of skyrocketing costs, narrowing access, and structural dysfunction would be a mistake. Our health care system needs to be more effective and affordable. Reforms should feature timeless conservative principles applied to the challenges and opportunities of our time (Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 11/18).

The Deficit Dilemma and Obama's Budget The Wall Street Journal
Reducing the long-run growth of the national debt requires reforming Social Security and Medicare. The key is to shift from today's tax-financed system to a mixture of tax-finance and universal saving accounts, which would supplement the tax-based payments. The chairmen omit any proposal to achieve universal accounts (Martin Feldstein, 11/18).

Shocking: Harris To Take Subsidized Health Insurance The Baltimore Sun
Andy Harris wants health insurance from the federal government? I'm shocked! This is the same Andy Harris, a Republican, who just won a seat to Congress from Maryland after signing a pledge to repeal the landmark health-care overhaul pushed by President Barack Obama and the Democrats (Dan Rodricks, 11/17).

Good Health Care Doesn't Have To Cost So Much The Des Moines Register
This country's ailing health care system would reap huge benefits if we would adopt new proposals called "pay for value" that change the payment system to reward higher quality and lower cost. We need a new way to reward the right care at the right time to keep people healthier and out of the hospital (Dr. Michael Kitchell, 11/18).

The British Health Care Invasion Forbes 
Just as Britain is moving away from destructive cost-control policies in its health system, the U.S. seems to be embracing them. If American health policy-makers begin putting cost before quality, doctors might soon lose the freedom to treat patients without being obstructed by regulators. Countless patients could lose access to life-saving treatments (Gilbert L. Ross, 11/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.