Viewpoints: Social Security Disability Funding Fix Needed; Effect Of Alaska Medicaid Decision
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Los Angeles Times:
Social Security Trustees: Program Is Healthier, Congress Still Must Act
The [Social Security] trustees moved the projected exhaustion date for the combined trust funds of the program's old-age and disability segments one year further out, to 2034, from the 2033 date in last year's report. But this masks the dire condition of the disability program: Its trust fund, taken on its own, will run out of money at the end of next year. The trustees urged Congress ... to take the short-term action of reallocating payroll tax income from the old-age program to disability to keep it fully funded; that would keep both trust funds solvent through 2033. Conservatives in Congress have been resisting this obvious fix, last done in 1994, in favor of concocting some broader Social Security reform--which, given the tenor of the current Congress, undoubtedly would involve benefit cuts to retirees and the disabled. But the new report underscores that no comprehensive change to Social Security is necessary. (Michael Hiltzik, 7/22)
The New York Times:
A Religion Case Too Far For The Supreme Court?
Now the post-Hobby Lobby cases have, inevitably, arrived at the Supreme Court’s door. Three appeals have been filed so far, and the justices will decide shortly after the new term begins in October whether to accept any of them. At that point, the spotlight will return to the court, along with the heated rhetoric about the Obama administration’s supposed “war on religion.” Not only is there no such “war,” but the administration has bent over backward to accommodate religious claims that are by any measure extreme. The problem is that the religious groups pressing these claims refuse to take yes for an answer. The question is whether their arguments go too far, even for the Roberts court. (Linda Greenhouse, 7/23)
The Wall Street Journal:
Will The Iran Debate Defuse Partisan Battles Over Obamacare?
Debate about the Iran nuclear deal shows that issues besides the Affordable Care Act can suck up partisan oxygen, at least for a time. But the respite for the ACA is likely to be fairly short-lived. ... The Affordable Care Act escaped a political and policy crisis last month when the Supreme Court ruled for the government in King v. Burwell–and the ACA may catch a second break if conservative ire focuses on the Iran deal for the immediate future. But the health-care law is not likely to disappear for long as a political issue, and the politics of the ACA are not likely to change significantly until after the next election cycle. (Drew Altman, 7/23)
The Hubris Of Gov. Bill Walker's Obamacare Medicaid Expansion In Alaska
Last week, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced that he will bypass the legislative process and implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion by executive fiat. ... expansion may come as a shock to Alaska’s legislative leadership, who last month brokered an informal arrangement with the governor to put Medicaid expansion on hold until 2016. The press conference Walker held last week was heavy on promises, but light on specifics. ... Despite promises that Medicaid expansion will jumpstart the Alaskan economy, the governor’s Obamacare plan will actually discourage work and shrink the economy. (Josh Archambault and Christie Herrera, 7/23)
Alaska Dispatch News:
Medicaid Expansion Is Good Business For Alaska
Expansion will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funds, which is cash flow that Alaska very much needs right now. ... Medicaid expansion will also allow the state to use Medicaid money to cover health care costs for prison inmates, which the state currently pays, resulting in millions of dollars in savings. It will also provide care for many recently released prisoners, some of whom can only receive health care if they’re incarcerated. Many prisoners are more in need of mental health care than prison and can receive this with Medicaid expansion. ... Expansion will also add jobs to the economy; not just well-paying health care jobs, but also spinoff jobs created by the boost that these health care jobs create. (Alaska State Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks, 7/22)
The Washington Post's Right Turn:
The Left Goes Too Far On Abortion Again
Liberals should rethink their absolutist position on abortion. In the past, its biggest losses — on “partial-birth” abortion, for example — have come when pro-life advocates forced them to defend extreme, even gruesome conduct. Unlike gay marriage, opposition to unfettered abortion on demand has remained high, perhaps because scientific breakthroughs allow us to see and treat the unborn baby. By once again going into attack mode, pro-abortion advocates are doing themselves no good. For Republicans, the challenge will be to keep the country with them and not overstep so as to lose valuable allies. (Jennifer Rubin, 7/22)
The Charlotte Observer:
Hospital Patients Need Advocates
A friend Jim DeBrosse recently posted a Facebook message about the experience he and his wife, Kathy, had at a Cincinnati hospital, where she was getting checked after suddenly losing vision in her left eye. Tests ruled out a retinal detachment or a stroke. But the experience reminded him to be alert to mistakes when you’re in the hospital. (Karen Garloch, 7/22)