Today’s Opinions: Congressional Funding Vote Leaves Out Health Law; Price Controls On Health; Tough Choices In Washington State
The Washington Post: Senate Votes To Defund Health-Care Reform And Financial Regulation
The Senate passed the Continuing Resolution 79-16 this afternoon. Another way of saying that: The Senate voted to defund the implementation of both health-care reform and financial-regulation reform. The good news is that law will keep the government's lights on until early March. The bad news is that the law does it by extending 2010's funding resolution -- and that resolution didn't include provisions for implementing the bills that were passed as the year went on (Ezra Klein, 12/21).
The Wall Street Journal: The Democrats And Health Care
The passage of Barack Obama's health-care legislation in the spring of 2010 proved profoundly injurious to the president and his party in the November midterm elections. Studies conducted at Stanford University and the University of Minnesota agree that at least one-third of the 63-seat Democratic loss in the House of Representatives can be attributed to the electorate's negative reaction to the health-care bill-which suggests that the legislation was responsible for taking a bad election and turning it into a historic disaster (Tevi Troy, 12/21).
McClatchy/Kansas City Star: Health Care Law And 'Positive Rights'
Two other federal judges have upheld the personal mandate, but (U.S. District Judge Henry) Hudson saw the law differently. He pointed out that neither the Supreme Court nor any federal court of appeals has held that Congress' power to regulate commerce means people can be compelled to buy a product from a private company. If that provision is upheld, the implications are deeply troubling (E. Thomas McClanahan, 12/22).
The Washington Post: Obama's Legacy Hinges On The Economy
By the standards of his mid-20th-century predecessors, Obama's achievements, while substantial, are less far-reaching. Health-care reform was an epochal triumph, but unlike the social and medical insurance programs crafted by Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, it does not provide universal coverage, in part because Obama lacked the votes for a government-run public option, much less single-payer (Harold Meyerson, 12/22).
The Wall Street Journal: Sebelius's Price Controls
And seasons greetings from the folks at Health and Human Services too. Yesterday the department dropped one of ObamaCare's more destructive regulations, which will further increase political control of health care and impose price controls on private insurance premiums. Under the 136-page rule, the federal government will now decide what counts as an "unreasonable" rate increase, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to Governors yesterday urging them "to prevent unjustified and excessive health insurance premium growth" (12/22).
The Seattle Times: State's Hard-Times Budget Makes Hard - And Necessary - Cuts
What's left is a hard-times budget that contains hard decisions. This page would have made some decisions differently. (Gov. Chris_ Gregoire negotiated an increase of 3 percentage points in state employees' share of health-insurance premiums, to 15 percent. We thought that was too small, and said so (12/21).
Modern Healthcare: Go Get 'Em
While I understand that these approaches may not work best for all hospital organizations, I recommend that healthcare CEOs take a step back, learn to be aggressive and embrace the world of technology. You never know-it just may save your hospital from closing its doors (Steve Ronstrom, 12/20).
Philadelphia Inquirer: Why The United States Can't Audit Its Own Budget
The government's own auditors say they can't verify the accuracy of the budget of the United States, because the military, Medicare planners, and other big federal programs are doing such a poor job explaining what they do with the people's money. This is at least the 10th consecutive year that the Government Accountability Office has found the federal budget un-auditable, spokeswoman Laura Kopelson told me (Joseph DiStefano, 12/22).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Making Us Healthier: New Law Puts Kids On The Road To Healthier Lives
Our nation will not succeed if our children are not learning because they are hungry or are not achieving because they are unhealthy. We are confronting these challenges -- we are committed to raising a generation of healthy Americans ready to learn, innovate, prosper and lead our nation (Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 12/21).
The Arizona Republic: A Parting That Was Inevitable
To what extent must the preservation of life be pursued? In the view of the Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, the directors of St. Joe's have failed to pursue it sufficiently far to meet the hospital's obligations to the Catholic Church. Ultimately, it is the ... medical people on the scene who must make the necessary choices, often of life and death, regarding their patients (12/22).
Des Moines Register: FDA Did Its Job On Avastin
The responsibility of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is clear: Focus on the safety and effectiveness of drugs. Not the cost. Last week, the FDA announced it was taking the first steps toward revoking the approval of Avastin to treat patients with breast cancer (12/22).