KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Romney Praises Israeli Health Care System — Which Has An Individual Mandate; Sebelius And Pelosi Hail Launch Of Women’s Preventive Care Provisions;

The New York Times: If It Works In Israel…
At a breakfast fundraiser in Jerusalem on Monday, (Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney) had nothing but nice things to say about our ally. But in flattering Israel, he raised more doubts about his political abilities. ... he also praised Israel's health care system. "Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel?" he asked. "Eight percent. You spend eight percent of GDP on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care, 10 percentage points more." … Bloggers everywhere wondered, he knows they have universal coverage and an individual requirement, right? (Andrew Rosenthal, 7/31).

Los Angeles Times: Romney Hails Public Healthcare System – Israel's
Mitt Romney established universal health coverage in Massachusetts with an individual mandate to buy insurance. But he says he'll overturn an identical system at the federal level. He also has dismissed the idea of a Medicare-for-all insurance system in the United States. Yet the presumptive Republican nominee-to-be is hailing Israel's healthcare system as a model of efficiency and effectiveness. And what do you know — Israel has something like a Medicare-for-all system (David Lazarus, 7/31).

USA Today: A New Day For Women's Preventive Care
Starting Wednesday, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all new insurance policies will be required to cover the vital care women need to stay healthy without charging a fee to the patient. As a result, millions of women will soon be able to walk into their doctor's office and get preventive services such as an annual well-woman visit without paying a dollar out of pocket (HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., 7/31).

The New York Times: Three Rulings Against Women's Rights
At a time when abortion rights and women's access to affordable contraception are threatened by political attacks, judges in three newly decided federal cases failed to preserve constitutional protections for women (7/31).

Baltimore Sun: Health Care Reform Doesn't Go Far Enough
The Affordable Care Act, recently affirmed by the Supreme Court, will require that almost all Americans obtain health insurance. But it falls far short of ensuring universal health care in the United States. While the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, the rational and universal health care system envisioned by (Theodore) Roosevelt requires several additional reforms (Cedric Dark, 7/31).

Bloomberg: In Mammogram Debate, Politics Trounces Science
It is unlikely we will ever have another major national controversy on screening mammography in women younger than 50. After all, it has already been studied in excruciating detail. In any case, the debate has always been about access. Political leaders have now decided that American women have a right to screening mammography starting at age 40, so its status is secure -- at least until a replacement technology comes along (Handel Reynolds, 7/31).

The New York Times: The Truth About Military Cuts
Republican lawmakers started a fire last year when they created a debt-ceiling crisis to force cuts in spending. Now that it is beginning to damage their most treasured military programs, they are blaming President Obama for not putting it out. The final deal, negotiated by Republicans and the White House, required more than $2 trillion in cuts, far more than could have been won without extortion. But (S.C. Sen. Lindsey) Graham and (N.H. Sen. Kelly) Ayotte voted no because it also included the possibility of defense cuts and left insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare largely intact (7/31). 

The New York Times: More Treatment, More Mistakes
Doctors make mistakes. They may be mistakes of technique, judgment, ignorance or even, sometimes, recklessness. Regardless of the cause, each time a mistake happens, a patient may suffer. We fail to uphold our profession's basic oath: "First, do no harm" (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, 7/31).

Journal of the American Medical Association: Potential Consequences Of Reforming Medicare Into A Competitive Bidding System
Premium support, based on competitive bidding, may offer a fiscal solution if ACA reforms fail, but at the cost of making Medicare beneficiaries responsible for solving Medicare's fiscal crisis. Success of the ACA can make premium support less risky by lowering traditional Medicare costs and helping to monitor and improve quality in private plans. Without ACA improvements, beneficiaries must pay more for traditional Medicare or join a private plan. Given the current fiscal pressures, this may be acceptable, but it is a major shift from traditional Medicare that may have deleterious consequences (Zirui Song, David M. Cutler and Michael E. Chernew, 8/1).

Journal of the American Medical Association: Integrating Public Health And Primary Care Systems
Integration of primary care and public health has always been logical. Both sectors share an emphasis on prevention and population health that requires understanding individuals in the context of their communities and environment. However, many factors have stymied repeated calls in the United States during the past several decades for integration of these sectors. Not the least of these factors is a cultural and organizational separation between primary care and public health that dates back to the early 20th century and the advent of public health schools distinct from medical schools (Drs. Bruce E. Landon, Kevin Grumbach and Paul J. Wallace, 8/1).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Future Of Health Care Includes Return To Traditional Medical Values
Critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act call it too radical, too expensive and a threat to high quality medicine. But in truth, federal health reform emphasizes a return to the caring, personalized, evidence-based medicine that is well established at Colorado's community health centers. While some are still debating the merits of expanding Colorado's Medicaid program to a larger percentage of the poor, Colorado community health centers are not waiting to move forward (Polly Anderson, 7/31).

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