KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Medicare Eligibility Age; Medicare ‘Scares'; Questions About Fla. Medicaid Managed Care

Houston Chronicle: Raising The Eligibility Age Won't Cure Medicare's Ills
The bottom line is that we probably need to start raising Medicare's eligibility age incrementally, given today's life-expectancy realities. But it is not going to be the silver bullet that saves Medicare (Bill King, 6/15).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Medicare Scares Are A Bipartisan Pastime
If Republicans are feeling abused by Democrats' accusations that they want to cut Medicare, there is some poetic justice in it. After all, Republicans spent most of last year complaining that President Obama's health-care plan would "cut Medicare by $500 billion." … Republicans could have made a good case that the savings were being used irresponsibly -- not to pay down the exploding national debt or even to preserve Medicare, but to help finance Obama's new trillion-dollar health-care entitlement. Instead, Republicans expressed shock and dismay that anyone would even conceive of cutting Medicare (Michael D. Tanner, 6/16). 

The Miami Herald: Questions Remain About Medicaid Change
Pending federal approval, all Medicaid-eligible Floridians will be required, beginning in 2014, to participate in private, managed-care programs. Lawmakers who favor this measure say that it streamlines the system and provides cost-effective healthcare for low-income Floridians. But big questions remain. Is this legislation in the interest of all taxpaying Floridians? Will it save money (and at what cost to patients, care systems and state revenues)? Where is the accountability? Finally, shouldn't a change that affects millions of Floridians be based on solid evidence? (Leda M. Perez, 6/15).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: 'Waivergate' Turns Out To Be More Fabricated Nonsense
One of these days, one of the Obama administration "scandals" alleged by conservatives is going to pan out. One of these days, somebody is actually going to screw up and get caught doing something seriously wrong, because that's human nature.  In the meantime, let's talk about health-insurance waivers, the latest in a long string of conservative "poutrages" that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be absolutely nothing (Jay Bookman, 6/15).

The Baltimore Sun: America's Diminishing Quantity Of Life
In large swaths of the nation, life expectancy has stopped increasing and even declined slightly over the decade that ended in 2007, particularly among women. This historic reversal of a long-time trend toward longer life expectancies in the world's richest nation is virtually unique in the developed world and appears largely due to the growing inequality of American society. To be sure, this week's report by researchers at Washington University's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that many American communities - especially those in wealthy enclaves along both coasts and in South Florida - were home to some of the longest-lived citizens in the world, comparable to people in Switzerland and Japan (6/15).

The Baltimore Sun: Preventing Teen Pregnancy Saves Taxpayers Billions
When it comes to teens having babies, it's a matter of pay me now or pay me later. You can pay for the programs that help teens understand sex and make good decisions about it, and you can pay for the health care services that provide them with options for contraception. … Or you can pay for the misfortunes that are more likely to befall the child of a teen mother: health problems, behavioral and educational issues, and a greater likelihood of criminal troubles in adolescence and young adulthood (Susan Reimer, 6/15). 

Des Moines Register: We Cross The Border For Health Care, Too
A recent letter to the editor was critical of Canada's health care system. The writer claimed that our northern neighbors "flee" to Minnesota for medical procedures because of the long waits in Canada for medical treatment. People "from all over the world come here for care they can't get in their countries," she wrote. The implication, of course, is that Canada's health care system is broken and that the United States is the envy of the world because our health care is the best that is available. We are not picking on this letter writer because many people express this belief. We want to set the record straight for everyone who buys into this notion. It simply isn't true. The United States does not lead the pack on health care (6/16). 

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