KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Today’s Op-Eds: ObamaCare and FEHBP; California Prisons; And Workhorse Medicaid

The Wall Street Journal: Two Kinds Of Government Health Care
Even Washington's stupidest scandals can be revealing, and so it is with the liberal cri de snore that Republicans ought to renounce health insurance. Democrats have inadvertently drawn up another indictment of ObamaCare (12/4).

The New York Times: The Crime Of Punishment In California's Prisons
In 2005, when a federal court took a snapshot of California's prisons, one inmate was dying each week because the state failed to provide adequate health care (12/6).

The New York Times: The Workhorse Of Health Care
While slowing Medicaid costs and improving efficiency are essential, the solution is not to cap federal funding. The health reform law takes a sounder approach, giving states new tools to take steps such as moving away from costly nursing home care to care in the community, and delivering health care to beneficiaries with chronic conditions in better and less costly ways. (Judith Solomon, 12/5).

Los Angeles Times: A Maintenance Guide For Health Insurance
I insure my house. It is only reasonable for the insurance company to expect that I will lock my door when I leave and that I keep the place moderately well maintained. After all, if something goes wrong, they're on the hook (minus my deductible) (Dr. Steve Dudley, 12/6).

Star Tribune: State Needs Action On Health Reform
The sensible solution, especially for those who campaigned against "government takeover of health care," is for Minnesotans to design their own exchange. That's even more true in a state frequently singled out for its high-quality care, low uninsured rates and innovative programs (12/5).

San Francisco Chronicle: Minimally Processed Food A Healthy Goal
Current policies ensure that ultra-processed foods stay cheap, and it's no accident that the relative cost of fruits and vegetables has gone up by 40 percent since the 1980s, while the relative price of sodas and fast food has declined (Marion Nestle, 12/5).

The Des Moines Register: All Americans Must Confront The Reality Of Our National Debt
Take a look at the pie chart, which shows that most of the federal budget is obligated to fixed expenses, such as Medicare and interest on the debt, and you can see why it is so hard for Washington to come to grips with the deficit: Only about a third of the budget is potentially on the chopping block (12/5).

The Sacramento Bee: Pain Drug Propoxyphene Should Have Been Banned Long Ago
A drug called propoxyphene – marketed under names such as Darvon and Darvocet – was banned recently by the Food and Drug Administration. While this is great news for the consumer, it raises some important questions. For example, why did it take 30 years to pull this drug off the market? (Dr. Michael Wilkes, 12/5).

The Seattle Times: Getting At The Truth Behind Hospitals' Published Infection Rates
Consumers should be cautious in interpreting the recently published infection rates of many of Washington's hospitals... Close examination of the methods used to collect and report these performance data suggests that published infection rates, like Washington's, can misrepresent a hospital's safety, resulting in erroneous judgments about its quality (Lawrence Muscarella, 12/5).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.