Today’s Opinions: The Collective Benefits Of The New Health Law; Patient Safety, Legalizing Marijuana
Los Angeles Times: With Health Insurance Mandate, There's Safety In Numbers
If President Obama's reform package remains intact, [cancer patient Michelle] Mindlin will be able to shop for potentially more affordable coverage in an insurance "exchange" where companies will be prevented from turning people away because of their medical history. But that doesn't go into effect until 2014. And it might not happen at all if the courts overturn a requirement that nearly everyone buy health insurance (David Lazarus, 12/21).
Detroit Free Press: Why New Health-Care Plan Must Continue
Before the ink dried on the Affordable Care Act, opponents launched a politically motivated campaign to undermine the new health care law, including filing federal lawsuits challenging the law's constitutionality. If we undo the ACA, we will be returning to a country where people with pre-existing conditions can't get health insurance coverage, where insurance companies can take back your coverage when you get sick and where small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance coverage for their employees (Marjorie Mitchell, 12/20).
CNN: The Real Threat To Health Care Reform
The truth is that a Supreme Court ruling along these lines, which is against the odds, is probably not the greatest threat that health care faces. Nor is outright repeal. As Americans become more familiar with the benefits of the program, Republicans will find it more difficult to attack health care outright. With all the discussion about constitutional challenge or congressional repeal, the more likely threat is that Republicans will gradually weaken the program to the point that it is ineffective (Julian E. Zelizer, 12/20).
Roll Call: America's Seniors Are Up For Grabs
A typical week in a hospital costs about $43,000; a week in a nursing home comes in at $1,500. By comparison, a visit from a home health care aide costs significantly less. A recent Lewin Group report confirms these big savings when home health is used. Keeping seniors healthy in their own homes is not just good politics; it's good Republican economics (Billy Tauzin, 12/20).
The Washington Post: Hospitals' Focus On Patient Safety Hasn't Eliminated Preventable Deaths
Despite the best of intentions, errors are common in hospitals even with new safeguards. A decade ago the Institute of Medicine published its landmark report "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System," which estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 deaths occur annually because of preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals (Dr. Manoj Jain, 12/20).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Is Legalization Of Pot On The Way?
It would not be surprising that given long-term budget deficits there will be suggestions to raise revenue without increasing taxes by holding our collective noses and legalizing marijuana to generate income as we did in legalizing the lottery in 1988. ... The saved $7.7 billion currently expended per year by governments in controlling illegal marijuana would be spent on the problems associated with widespread marijuana use (Dr. John Ridley, 12/20).
The Arizona Republic: APS' Benefits Will Cover Gay, But Not Straight, Partners
There are plenty of reasons why opposite-sex couples may live together and not get married. Some of them legal. Some of them religious. Some simply practical. And if a company is going to provide benefits for unmarried couples, why should it matter in this day and age if they are gay, straight, divorced, widowed or anything else (E.J. Montini, 12/21)?