Viewpoints: The Cost Of Fixing Medicare’s Doctor Pay; Insuring Candidate Cruz
A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
The Washington Post:
The House May Be About To Finally Fix The ‘Doc Fix’
The House of Representatives is on course to pass a major piece of Medicare legislation with strong support from the leadership and rank and file of both parties. Yes, you read that right: On Thursday, the House is scheduled to vote on a package that permanently eliminates the expensive annual budgetary charade known as the “doc fix,” while enacting tens of billions of dollars worth of structural reforms to the massive program for seniors — and providing a two-year, $5.6 billion dollop of funding to an important children’s health-care program to boot. ... There’s also this quibble: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill will add roughly $141 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. (3/25)
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire:
If House Doc Fix Adds $141 Billion To Deficit, Can Medicare Survive ‘Reform’?
The Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the Medicare “doc fix” legislation scheduled for consideration Thursday in the House. Among other things, the score provides some sense of the difficulty in enacting reforms to improve Medicare’s solvency. (Chris Jacobs, 3/25)
Los Angeles Times:
Shock And Awe: Congress May Do The Right Thing On Children's Health
The moments when Congress appears to function effectively are rare and fleeting these days. So it's proper to recognize that the House is on the verge of taking the right steps on the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which was on the cusp of losing its funding later this year. (Michael Hiltzik, 3/25)
The New York Times:
When Nancy Met Johnny
It’s a bipartisan plan cooked up by John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi. (Question: What do you imagine when you think of those two cooking? Macbeth or Cupcake Wars?) The subject was another fiscal cliff. Next week, Medicare payments to doctors are scheduled to drop by 21 percent. The formula for reimbursement is all screwed up, and Congress is always having to put in a last-minute fix. But this bill does not just kick the can down the road. It actually solves the problem. It fixes the formula and pays for the solution by raising the cost of Medicare for the wealthiest recipients. Plus, it’s got money for community health clinics and the CHIP health care program for children. (Gail Collins, 3/26)
The Washington Post PostPartisan:
Yes, Ted Cruz Is A Hypocrite For Going On Obamacare
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who announced his run for president on Monday, had a mixed bag of second-day campaigning. On the one hand, he raised $1 million. On the other hand, the right’s champion of “no compromise” assault on Obamacare and much of the rest of the federal government admitted that, yes, he would be going on Obamacare. (James Downie, 3/25)
The Wall Street Journal:
Where’s The Bait?
The charge of hypocrisy is rather baffling. Normally such accusations are made against those who espouse rules they don’t apply to themselves—an adulterer who preaches chastity, say, or a wealthy school-choice opponent who sends his own children to an elite private school. Cruz’s position is more analogous to that of a nonwealthy school-choice supporter who sends his children to the local public school because the law gives him no alternative. If anything, the law that gives the Cruzes no alternative is evidence of Democratic hypocrisy. Before ObamaCare, members of Congress received traditional health benefits like other federal employees. But as the Register notes, Iowa’s Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican, “pushed through an amendment on the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act . . . that requires members of Congress to obtain their coverage via health insurance exchanges.” (James Taranto, 3/25)
Hospital Community Benefit Programs
Promising health care delivery and payment reforms are under way that may have contributed to the slower rates of growth in health care spending seen in recent years. Delivery reform alone, however, is unlikely to slow cost growth over the long run: it is important to address the social, economic, and environmental determinants that contribute to the increasing burden of poor health and chronic illness. ... we suggest that a modest reorientation of hospital community benefit programs could help accelerate the development of successful regional health improvement initiatives. (Janet Corrigan, Elliott Fisher and Scott Heiser, 3/24)
Explaining Obamacare To Foreigners
On the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, I ponder how non-Americans view our momentous and controversial health reform law. ... have traveled to Brazil, Australia, and South Africa, and also addressed foreign audiences here in the US, to explain what they should they know about the law and why they might care. I offer them two conclusions, and believe Americans might benefit by knowing them. They are: we remain laggards in providing access to health care coverage, and we are now real leaders in global efforts to improve health care’s quality, efficiency, and effectiveness. (John E. McDonough, 3/23)