KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Aurora Shootings Show Need For More Aggressive Psych Treatment; Venture Capitalist Says Health Exchanges Can Curb Costs

A selection of editorials and opinions on health care from around the country.

The New York Times: More Treatment Programs
Looking at guns, looking at video games — that's starting from the wrong perspective. People who commit spree killings are usually suffering from severe mental disorders. The response, and the way to prevent future episodes, has to start with psychiatry, too. The best way to prevent killing sprees is with relationships — when one person notices that a relative or neighbor is going off the rails and gets that person treatment before the barbarism takes control. But there also has to be a more aggressive system of treatment options, especially for men in their 20s. The truly disturbed have always been with us, but their outbursts are now taking more malevolent forms (David Brooks, 7/23).

Politico: Exchanges Can Slow Growth Of Health Care Costs
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has pledged he won't create a state health insurance exchange or implement the optional Medicaid expansion — both components of the recently upheld Affordable Care Act. So far, only 16 states have begun creating insurance exchanges. Eighteen are considering it, four have pledged not to and 13 have yet to announce their intentions. This is a shame, because health insurance exchanges are a great idea. As a venture capitalist focused on health care information technology, I'm always looking for ways to create efficiencies and cut costs in our health system — and exchanges are a promising way to do this (David Jones, 7/23).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Medicaid: High Stakes In Health Coverage Question
Expanding Medicaid eligibility should be an easy decision, given the generous federal funding promised in the ACA — 100 percent federally funded until 2019 and 90 percent thereafter. States are legitimately concerned about the cost of increased enrollment from people currently eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid, for which the federal match of 50 to 70 percent is significantly less generous. But an increase in enrollment of the currently eligible population has more to do with the coverage mandate — the requirement for streamlined access to health insurance Exchanges and the creation of state-based counselors to assist the uninsured — than the expansion of eligibility (G. Lawrence Atkins and Renee M. Landers, 7/24).

Archives of Internal Medicine: Addressing the Growth in Intensive Care  
(W)e should stop adding ICU beds to the current system. Although the burden of critical illness is on the rise, adding more ICU beds will increase costs and is unlikely to improve the overall health of the nation. Given the large variation in ICU bed use in US hospitals, it is possible that if all hospitals learn to operate like the ones that admit a smaller proportion of patients, we can reduce wasteful use without negatively affecting health (Dr. Christopher W. Seymour and Dr. Jeremy M. Kahn, 7/24).


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