KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Today’s OpEds: Republicans And Medicare, Small Business Health Costs And Changes To FEHBP

On Health Care, Where You End Up Matters Most Politico
Republican leaders are now saying they will not participate in the meeting unless the president takes his health reform plan off the table to start over. I understand their concerns with a variety of issues in the current bills, but where you start is not nearly as important as where you finish. After all, fees continue to skyrocket and millions remain uninsured, costing our country in many ways. ... There is no time like the present for Washington to show America that it is interested in governing, not just in campaigning. The cameras will be rolling, and we will be watching (Christine Todd Whitman, 2/12).

Republicans and Medicare The New York Times
What's truly mind-boggling is this: Even as Republicans denounce modest proposals to rein in Medicare's rising costs, they are, themselves, seeking to dismantle the whole program. And the process of dismantling would begin with spending cuts of about $650 billion over the next decade. Math is hard, but I do believe that's more than the roughly $400 billion (not $500 billion) in Medicare in Medicare savings projected for the Democratic health bills (Paul Krugman, 2/11).

Medicine, Not Health Care Reform, Helps Bill Clinton Mend Fox News
Former President Bill Clinton, now in a New York City hospital room, under observation for chest pains, might be thinking to himself that it's a good thing that Clintoncare didn't pass in the early 90s. ... Clintoncare, after all, was about rationing; The explicit goal of that bureaucratic program was to reduce the cost of treatment, which is to say, reduce the amount of treatment. And Clinton needs more treatment, not less. As do many of us (James P. Pinkerton, 2/11).

Small Business Can't Afford Not To Have Health Care Reform Mercury News
Without health care reform, we will continue to foster a climate that holds small businesses down. Small business owners like Liz Parker can't continue paying outrageous fees, and pharmacist Kevin Goss needs to know that if illness or injury strikes, he'll be covered. They need change. The country has too much at stake not to make it happen (John Arensmeyer, 2/11).

Congress Considering Risky Changes to Federal Employees' Health Benefits The Hill
The FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency and Cost Savings Act sounds promising at first blush. It promises more accountability, "transparency" and lower drug costs. However good its intentions, though, the bill uses an approach that would seriously undermine the ability of one of the nation's best health benefits programs to continue preserving choice, quality, and overall affordability of prescription drug benefits (Mark Merritt, 2/11).

Labels On Mental Disorders Help Steer A Person's Fate Chicago Tribune
The American Psychiatric Association is revising its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. ... To anyone whose life isn't immediately touched by mental abnormalities - is there anyone? - these linguistic tussles may seem trifling. But mental labels are serious business. How we label the mind's activities shapes our world: our laws, our schools, what drugs are made and marketed (Mary Schmich, 2/11).

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