KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Today’s OpEds: Medical Liability And Health Reform, And What About The ‘New’ Public Option?

Medical Liability Bill Key To Health Reform Roll Call
Repealing ObamaCare and reforming our health care system in a responsible manner continues to be our primary goal - a goal that our constituents sent us here to achieve. Thus, we remain committed to passing comprehensive medical liability reform as part of the solution. With a savings of at least $200 billion annually in defensive medicine costs, we can see no reason not to act - immediately (Rep. Phil Gingrey and Rep. John Fleming, 7/27).

Will New 'Public Option' Fare Better? National Journal
House Democrats reintroduced a "public option" insurance plan last week, tweaked to fit in the 2014 insurance exchanges established in the health care overhaul law, and scored with a lucrative $68 billion in deficit reduction from the Congressional Budget Office. Supporters of the bill, which would peg the government plan at 5 percentage points above Medicare, argue that the plan will bring down the cost of health insurance and increase competition. But the public option also attracted some of the most virulent opposition to any provision in the health care overhaul law debate, with critics decrying it as a government takeover of health care. Sally Pipes, John Goodman, Stuart Butler and Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., offer their thoughts on the issue (Meghan McCarthy, 7/26).

Primary Care Vital For Patients The Detroit News
Nurses, especially advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, who have master's degrees and clinical specialty training, currently fill a significant, cost-effective primary care role. They practice in independent nurse-managed health centers, federally-qualified clinics, hospitals, multidisciplinary practices and school-based clinics. … In order for health care reform to achieve a healthier population, we need a more effective primary care system with an integrated, collaborative provider group including physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, and other professionals (Barbara Redman, 7/27).

Reform Law Puts Patients In Control Of Their Health Care Toledo Blade
Using the tools created by the Affordable Care Act, we will hold insurance companies accountable by requiring them to play by these new rules. In fact, we are making it a priority to work with insurers to implement new consumer protections ahead of schedule, providing even faster relief for families. Health insurers no longer will be able to call all the shots at the expense of the health and well-being of American families (Kathleen Sebelius, 7/27).

Talk's Cheap; Treating HIV Isn't The Plain Dealer
President Barack Obama's laudable national strategy on AIDS and HIV -- the first of its kind -- sounds good, but it's meaningless without funding. The president wants to reduce the number of new infections nationwide by 25 percent by 2015, increase access to care and improve treatment for gays, blacks and Latinos -- demographic groups that have been hit especially hard by the disease. … But national strategies require national funding. On that score, Obama's plan falls short (7/25).

Health Reform Still Too Slow, Limited The Aurora (Colo.) Sentinel
Because Congress took the sides of insurance companies in writing reforms, members of the House and Senate did neither side any favors. Insurance companies are still free to raise rates almost any way they like, deny claims, deny coverage and continue on as before. All of this mess comes from two major flaws in the landmark health care reform law: It waits too long to start up, and it has no public option (7/25).

Medicare Bidding Flawed The Orlando Sentinel
What some don't understand is that getting the cheapest reimbursement for a medically required device for home use is not in the patient's or taxpayer's best interest. Quality home medical equipment and services help keep seniors and people with disabilities safe and independent in the most cost-effective setting for care - their own homes (Aaron Bate, 7/27).

Defrauding Medicare A Reprehensible Practice The Missourian
People who participate in scams to defraud Medicare are the lowest form of animal life. Because these kinds of people can live in this country - where so many people are unable to afford health care - and steal from a program that seeks to provide help for elderly people with health problems, places them in the same category with rattlesnakes that will bite anyone. Doctors and nurses who are found guilty of this kind of criminal activity should be stripped of their credentials (Rose Nolen, 7/27).

Children Could Suffer If Pa. Doesn't Get Medicaid Money The [Allentown, Pa.] Morning Call
Without a six-month extension of FMAP and Pennsylvania's allotment, the governor and legislative leaders will be forced to go back to the drawing board and try to - again - balance the state budget. This likely will mean the reduction of basic education funding resulting in the layoffs of thousands of teachers statewide; cuts to child welfare funding and programs that serve children with mental disabilities; and damaging reduced support to early childhood programs (Joan Benso, 7/26).

Berwick's Appointment Hurts Special Needs Patients The Washington Examiner
For those like my son who need expensive, lifelong treatment, our only hope is that the U.S. system doesn't "redistribute" to the British NHS extreme, where they won't even let patients pay out of pocket for lifesaving treatments because it is unfair to those who can't afford them. Berwick is not the revolutionary our nation needs (Kristan Hawkins, 7/26). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.