KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Trouble Keeping Health Costs Down; Ignagni Says Law Needs Some Revisions; Coverage Is Like Clean Water

Reuters: Now Is The Time To Focus On Healthcare Affordability
Now that the Supreme Court has provided legal certainty on the recent healthcare reform law, the nation must turn its attention to affordability. While the law expands coverage to millions of Americans, a goal health plans have long supported, major provisions of the law need to be changed to avoid significant cost increases for consumers and employers (Karen Ignagni, 7/10).

Los Angeles Times: Health Insurers' Suits Show They're Not Keeping A Lid On Costs
With federal healthcare reform still facing political head winds despite its validation by the Supreme Court, this probably isn't the best time for health insurers to admit their utter incompetence in handling their most important role under the reform, which is keeping a lid on healthcare costs (Michael Hiltzik, 7/11).

The Washington Post: GOP To The Uninsured: Drop Dead
The Republican message to uninsured Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent ruling couldn’t be clearer: You're on your own (Matt Miller, 7/10).

Bloomberg: Big Subsidies Will Push States To Expand Medicaid
The bottom line is that given the steep federal subsidies being offered, it seems likely that states will eventually take up the additional coverage, even if they resist at first. ... The process, moreover, will probably be asymmetrical: Once a state takes up the highly subsidized additional coverage, it will be very likely to keep it. But even if it refuses the offer initially, it can easily change its mind later on (Peter Orszag, 7/10).

USA Today: Health Care Reform Needs A Do-Over
The Affordable Care Act narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Supreme Court, but its troubles are far from over. Stability in how Americans will get their health care in the future is now just as much threatened by the ACA's internal flaws as it is by Republican opposition and fresh lawsuits (Arnold Relman, 7/10).

Bloomberg: Health Care Will Become A Right, Just Like Water
The arc of history suggests that eventually Americans will accept the right to health care. It appears that the country is continuing its path of two steps forward, one step backward, in establishing a higher bar of essential services for its citizens. Time has shown that this progress is not only good for individuals, but will serve the needs of American business, as well (Alex Marshall, 7/10).

Roll Call: Health Care Decision Cements Law, Not Debate
A vote to uphold the health care law makes it very hard to argue that the court has become the purely partisan instrument of its five Republican-appointed justices. On the decision itself, (Chief Justice John) Roberts' logic was actually foreshadowed in the oral arguments, where he showed an uncommon interest in the taxing power issue. But the fact that he rejected the mandate on Commerce Clause grounds, accepting the argument that inactivity is not the same as activity and that the slippery slope could lead Congress to mandate that everyone eat broccoli, is itself dismaying (Norman Ornstein, 7/11).

The Hill: Romney’s Tax Flip-Flop
(GOP presidential candidate Mitt) Romney's predicament is obvious — how do you attack a healthcare law concocted by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which you pioneered as governor, after it was approved by the Supreme Court’s foremost corporatist (Markos Moulitsas, 7/10)?

Sacramento Bee: Money Flows In Battle Against Health Reform
Republicans took back the House two years ago in part by targeting Democrats who supported Obamacare. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld Obama's signature achievement, the assault is accelerating. California is a major part of that fight. To understand how that battle will be fought, take a look at American Action Network, a nonprofit corporation, and its related organization, a super PAC called Congressional Leadership Fund (Dan Morain, 7/11).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A Bad Rerun: GOP Again Tries to Repeal Health Law
Republicans should move on. If they have a better plan, they should advance it. But here's the thing: The party doesn't appear to have a coherent plan to address millions of people without insurance or the rising costs associated with a broken system (7/10).

Houston Chronicle: Perry's Medicaid Move Will Cost Us Plenty
Rick Perry is saying no to a fully funded Medicaid plan to help almost 2 million Texans for no other reason than politics. He doesn't care that there will be higher taxes, higher medical costs and more suffering. His primary interest is in advancing his political career. And he is clearly convinced his own political ambitions are worth our sacrifice. Our health. Our money (Glenn W. Smith, 7/10).

The Dallas Morning News: On Health Care, Perry Offers Potshots But No Plan
A specific alternate plan ought to be the price of admission for criticizing the current plan. Call it "socialized medicine" or a "Washington power grab" or any other politically loaded phrase you'd like, but the next sentence out of your mouth ought to be a concrete proposal for something better. Otherwise, we're just going to get more performances like we saw on Monday from (Texas Gov. Rick) Perry — lots of posturing in front of lots of cameras with nary a word to move us forward on health care (Steve Blow, 7/10).

Arizona Republic: Repealing Health-Care Act Would Imperil Ariz. Lives
As the U.S. House prepares to hold another vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, it's easy to dismiss the effort as political theater. But, for millions of Americans who rely on the law's benefits and protections, the devastating effects of repeal would be all too real. Here's what repeal would mean in concrete terms for families in Arizona and across the country (HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 7/11).

Journal of the American Medical Association: The Moral Duty To Buy Health Insurance
Rather than appeal to the collective good, this Viewpoint argues for a duty to buy health insurance based on the moral duty individuals have to reduce certain burdens they pose on others. Because physicians and hospitals have a duty to rescue the uninsured by providing acute and emergency care, individuals have a corresponding duty to purchase insurance to cover the costs of this care. Requiring individuals to meet this obligation is consistent with respect for individual liberty and does not imply that they must buy gym memberships or eat broccoli (Tina Rulli, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel and David Wendler, 7/11).

JAMA: Patient Satisfaction And Patient-Centered Care: Necessary But Not Equal
Although quality of service is correlated with satisfaction, the dynamics of this relationship are complex and not fully understood. Because consumers are not always equipped to evaluate technical competency, they tend to rely on peripheral elements of the encounter such as friendliness and the quality of personal interactions. In this regard, customer and patient satisfaction are similar because both value the process by which services are delivered. Patient satisfaction is important because it means the physician has provided comfort, emotional support, education, and considered the patient's perspective in the synthesis of the clinical decision-making process. However, patient satisfaction and patient-centered care differ in that physicians are not obligated to satisfy all demands by patients in a patient-centered practice (Dr. Joel M. Kupfer and Edward U. Bond, 7/11).

The Washington Post: Resistance To Antibiotics Is Becoming A Crisis
One of the great medical advances of the last century, the invention of antibiotics, is at risk of being lost. Increasingly, microbes are becoming untreatable. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, warned in March of a dystopian future without these drugs. "A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it," she said. "Things as common as strep throat or a child's scratched knee could once again kill" (7/10).

MinnPost: It's Time To Stop Appeasing The Food Industry, Obesity Expert Says
If we’re going to take the world's growing obesity problem seriously and actually do something about it, governments and public-health officials need to regulate, not collaborate, with Big Food, argues a leading obesity expert in a blistering commentary this month in the journal PLoS Medicine (Susan Perry, 7/10).  

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