KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Viewpoints: Newspapers Opine On Obama’s Health Care, Fiscal Challenges

The New York Times: President Obama's Success
President Obama’s dramatic re-election victory was not a sign that a fractured nation had finally come together on Election Day. But it was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, health care reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction — and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage. ...  Republicans had to be disappointed in the results of their unrelenting assault on Mr. Obama’s health care reform law. Only around a quarter of Americans said it should be repealed in its entirety (11/6).

The Washington Post: President Obama's Second Term: Now The Hard Work Really Begins
Having inherited a mess, he gets four more years to create a legacy. The accomplishments, as we said in endorsing Mr. Obama for reelection, include the stabilization of the economy and health-care reform. The latter has, for the most part, not taken effect; a second-term task will be to ensure that it achieves the dual goals of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and beginning the difficult, uncertain process of restraining the unsustainable rise of health-care costs (11/7).

USA Today: Obama Wins Big Victory, Bigger Challenge
Obama goes in having already achieved what others, ranging from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton, failed at: enacting universal health insurance legislation. In his second term, this new law, which has been so reviled in some quarters, will go into full effect and Americans will judge it for themselves. Our guess is the opposition will fade with time as the benefits become more apparent, although cost-control will remain a challenge (11/7).

USA Today: What The GOP Should Do To Rebuild
[Republicans] may also need to recalibrate their positions on reproductive issues such as birth control and Planned Parenthood that are harming it among women and young voters. Women made up 53% of the vote and broke to Obama by a 10-point margin. Candidates with extreme positions on abortion cost the GOP sure-win Senate seats Tuesday in Indiana and Missouri (11/7).

The Wall Street Journal: Hope Over Experience 
These columns have viewed this election as more consequential than others for a single reason—ObamaCare. Tax rates do economic damage when they rise, but they can be cut again. Regulations can be adapted to or phased out. Spending can be cut. But the Affordable Care Act will spread like termites in the national economy and public fisc. Mr. Obama will no doubt use his second term to consolidate this liberal entitlement dream, with its ultimate goal of single-payer health care. ... The exit polls show the two campaigns fought Medicare essentially to a draw in Florida ... Many seniors seem to understand that ObamaCare poses a far greater threat to the future of Medicare than does opening the rickety program to private insurance options (11/7).

Los Angeles Times: The Tough Road Ahead
The longer-term problem for the president will be coping with the dueling pressures of an economy that's growing too slowly and a federal debt that's growing too fast, largely because of the rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid. ... The current paralysis in Washington demands the kind of leadership that brings lawmakers out of their foxholes. ... Republicans want to cap federal spending at a "traditional" percentage of the economy, despite the fact that retirees collecting government benefits are making up a steadily growing share of the population. And Democrats are adamant that the government maintain its promise of healthcare and Social Security benefits for those retirees (11/7). 

Chicago Tribune: The President's Big Night 
And now we implore you to recognize the mistakes of your first term, mistakes that nearly cost you a second term. Listen, at last, to this nation's employers. They do have a notion of what it will take to put the nation back to work. They have genuine fears about the burden that government places on them, fears about the cost of your signature health care reform, ... [at] the same time, we implore Republicans: Get over your Obama obsession (11/7). 

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Gets A Do-Over
This is a mandate to do what? That is, besides a mandate to keep frightening women about abortion and contraception every time Democrats need to scare up a few votes in close races? ... The Rube Goldbergism of ObamaCare, added to the Rube Goldbergism already extant in our health-care system, in our view never made him the "transformational" president he sought to be. He can still be a consequential president, though (Holman W. Jenkins, 11/7).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Will Get No Rest Before Second-Term Challenges Arise
The most important dickering could involve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, those programs dismissed by conservatives as "entitlements." The Romney-Ryan ticket made no secret of its plans to hack away at all three, as if they are equal threats to the federal budget. To supporters of the programs, Obama's counter-argument was never sufficiently forceful (Michael Hiltzik, 11/7). 

The Washington Post: Obamacare Gets Its Vindication
Obama didn’t “have” to do health reform. It wasn’t in his inbox. ... Obama is now certain to leave America a more decent society in ways that business will come to recognize are good for the economy as well. (The fact that Mitt Romney’s health reform inspired its design gives the achievement a kind of tacit bipartisan poetry as well.) (Matt Miller, 11/7). 

The New York Times: Bad Medicine for Women
No one should expect a postelection letup in the continuing courtroom fights over state efforts to restrict women's access to safe and legal abortions. Two important cases — one in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, the other in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati — show how intense these battles have become and how important it is for basic women's rights to prevail (11/6).

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