KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Taunting Justice Roberts; The Bishops And Religious Freedom; Romney’s Choices On Health Care Tax

The Wall Street Journal: Targeting John Roberts
You can tell the Supreme Court is getting closer to its historic ObamaCare ruling because the left is making one last attempt to intimidate the Justices. The latest effort includes taunting Chief Justice John Roberts that if the Court overturns any of the law, he'll forever be defined as a partisan "activist" (5/21).

The Wall Street Journal: Why The Bishops Are Suing The U.S. Government
This week Catholic bishops are heading to federal courts across the country to defend religious liberty. On Monday they filed 12 lawsuits on behalf of a diverse group of 43 Catholic entities that are challenging the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) sterilization, abortifacient and birth-control insurance mandate. Like most Americans, the bishops have long taken for granted the religious freedom that has enabled this nation's diverse religions to flourish in relative harmony (Mary Ann Glendon, 5/21).

McClatchy: States Show Outlook For Women's Health Under Romney
Romney said in November that he wants to eliminate the nation's family planning program, which was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970 and provides essential preventive health services to over 5 million people a year, the vast majority of whom are poor and uninsured. Beyond the millions of people who are helped by this health-care program, investing in family planning saves the government money -- for every dollar spent on family planning, experts say taxpayers save around $4. … This isn't about abortion. These health-care programs provide blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring, flu shots, breast cancer screenings, Pap tests and birth control. Planned Parenthood is the only medical care many women receive all year (Cecile Richards, 5/21).

Des Moines Register: Feds Can Be A Savior, Not Just A Demon
To hear some politicians tell it, "government run" health care is destroying this country. President Ronald Reagan, himself a conservative, challenged that assertion. He recognized that when government coverage works the way it is supposed to, it is a Godsend that saves and extends the lives of vulnerable Americans. That was the case with Katie Beckett, a Cedar Rapids woman, whose disabilities led to changes in Medicaid that changed the course of the future for people with disabilities. Her story is a reminder that the government can be a savior, not a demon, when it comes to health care (5/21).

Bloomberg: Romney Is About To Make Bush's Health-Care Blunder
Mitt Romney, so long bedeviled by the politics of health care, may be about to make another serious mistake. He is on the verge of spelling out a plan to replace President Barack Obama's health plan. Romney’s advisers, both inside and outside the formal campaign, want the main component of his alternative to be a change in the tax code's treatment of health care. But there are two versions on the table, and Romney is leaning toward the one that would offer much less help to the uninsured (Ramesh Ponnuru, 5/21).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Study Shows Kids Need Healthier Eating Habits
A study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics contained alarming news about the nation's teenagers: Half of those who are overweight are putting themselves at risk for heart attacks or other cardiac problems down the road because of unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels…. The study should be a wake-up call that much more needs to be done to ensure that kids enter adulthood free of the long-term health problems that will only cost them -- and society -- so much down the road (5/21).

Archives of Internal Medicine: Invited Commentary—Oncologists Responding To Grief
Since death and loss are intrinsic aspects of oncologists' practice, grief is common, whether it be over the physical absence of a patient or the more abstract surrender of a meaningful joint struggle. Unaddressed grief over time can clearly contribute to burnout, which is an occupational hazard for physicians in general and oncologists in particular. ... One suggestion ... to ameliorate the adverse effects of grief is to provide education on recognizing and working through the grief process, along with learning strategies that emphasize self-care, starting in the training years and continuing throughout their careers (Dr. Michelle Shayne and Dr. Timothy E. Quill, 5/22).

Medscape: Smile! Your Handwashing Is On Candid Camera
This study shows us several things. First, there should be considerable question about the validity of routine hand-hygiene observations; second, hand-hygiene compliance is probably much lower than most visual observations would predict; and third, through use of electronic or camera monitoring with feedback, hand-hygiene rates can be improved and sustained (Dr. William R. Jarvis, 5/21).

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