KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Health Reform Repeal; CBO’s Numbers; Reviving Public Option?

Chicago Tribune: A Better Rx 
[A]s a political matter, an outright repeal isn't really a winner. Most Americans dislike the law, but few are gunning to do away with it altogether. They don't like its mandates and costs, but they'd prefer to see a scaled down law that still provides more access to health care. Republicans run the risk of overreaching on this, as Democrats did in pushing a vast expansion of government into the health care field. Republicans would be wise to focus on how to reduce the cost and scope of this enormously expensive entitlement (1/8).

Minneapolis) Star Tribune: Health Repeal Antics Are A Waste Of Time
Returning to a system that is too expensive and filled with incentives to drive up costs even further is the riskiest health care strategy of all. The Obama administration and the health care industry, which is belatedly voicing its opposition to repeal, have missed opportunities to call out the GOP (1/8).

The Kansas City Star: Should Congress Preserve The Health-Care Reform Law?
YES: Many observers contend November's midterm election was about the need to rein in our national deficit and to get the economy on the right track. However, the new Republican leadership supports a bill that will: increase the deficit by almost $150 billion; increase the number of people at risk of bankruptcy, repeal a $110 billion middle class tax credit and weaken Medicare's solvency (Rep. Jim McDermott, 1/8).
NO: The American people have consistently said they fear government control over their health care choices. And the more they learn about the health care reform legislation approved earlier this year, the more they realize their fears are justified (Grace-Marie Turner, 1/8). 

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare's Reality Deficit
Of all the claims deployed in favor of ObamaCare, and there are many, the most preposterous is that a new open-ended entitlement will somehow reduce the budget deficit. Insure 32 million more people, and save money too! The even more remarkable spectacle is that Washington seems to be taking this claim seriously in advance of the House's repeal vote next week. Some things in politics you just can't make up (1/8).

Slate: How Conservatives Could Revive the Public Option
If the part of the health care law that's unconstitutional is the part telling people to buy private insurance, an obvious solution is to pass a health care law including a public health plan, which would operate like Social Security and Medicare (Adam D. Chandler and Luke Norris, 1/7).

Kaiser Health News:  Can We Stop Calling Them 'Consumer Protections' Now?
These supposed consumer protections are hurting millions of Americans by increasing the cost of insurance, increasing the cost of hiring and driving insurers out of business (Michael Cannon, 1/10). 

The Wall Street Journal: The CBO's Fuzzy ObamaCare Math
Defenders of ObamaCare have seized upon a Jan. 6 letter from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to House Speaker John Boehner alleging that repeal would "increase the deficit." Don't be bamboozled. When big spenders call for 'deficit reduction,' they mean raising your taxes. That is what ObamaCare does (Betsy McCaughey, 1/8).

The Arizona Republic: Banner Exploring New Models Of Care, Reimbursement
As we await the debate over further cuts to state health-care services that are sure to come, I would invite thoughtful leaders to consider another path other than eliminating or reducing hospital services, loss of [Medicaid] coverage, and other high-profile and negative issues. Today, Banner Health is engaged in serious discussions with private insurers that are leading to new models of care and reimbursement. ... Doubtless, there will be those who will decry ACOs as a by-product of health-care reform and therefore unworthy of consideration. However, ACOs and similar collaborative models are moving forward whether health-care reform is implemented or not (Peter S. Fine, 1/8).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 'Death Panels' Lie Prevents Dying With Dignity
A failure to prepare for the inevitability of death ensures that doctors, nurses and hospital administrators will end up making end-of-life decisions for countless terminally ill patients. If patients feared losing their autonomy - the right to make a highly-charged and personal decision for themselves - they should have welcomed the new Medicare initiative (Cynthia Tucker, 1/7).

Modern Healthcare: No Mere Dispenser
Turn to independent community pharmacists. This group of respected, clinically trained healthcare professionals has a proven track record of improving health outcomes while reducing system costs. They are in a prime position to help the public and private sector at a time when patient demand for primary-care services is expected to grow exponentially (Kathleen Jaeger, 1/10).

The Kansas City Star: Here's A Plan That Should Replace Obamacare
The root problem in American health care is third-party payment; because we're not paying, few of us have an incentive to seek real value. Nor do we have the power to "fire" insurers who issue lousy plans. Instead of remedying this problem, Obamacare will worsen it. We won't have cost control in health care until we have real markets, and the way to develop them is to move purchasing power to individuals (E. Thomas McClanahan, 1/8). 
 



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