KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Dem Representatives On Health Spending; Star Tribune Praises IPAB; NY Times On Stem Cells

Roll Call: Grijalva, Honda And Woolsey: Senate Should Look At CPC Budget Proposal
When the debate over the fiscal 2012 budget began, the country - or, more accurately, the media - was focused on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposal. Introduced on behalf of the Republican House majority, our colleague's plan puts the interests of wealthy corporations first by slashing Medicare and Medicaid and spending trillions on a new corporate tax cut. Indeed, cutting is all it seems to do. ... That's not a jobs plan - that's an economic death sentence (Rep. Raul Grijalva, Mike Honda and Lynn Woolsey, 5/3).

Roll Call: Debt Ceiling Questions Remain in the House
I see virtually no way tea party folks in the House and Senate will support a debt ceiling increase unless it includes all of their demands. In addition to significant spending cuts, they want the health care overhaul law defunded or repealed outright, a tax cut, and overwhelming changes in the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law. Attaching those extreme requirements to a debt ceiling increase will be unacceptable to many or even most others in the House, Senate and White House (Stan Collender, 5/3). 

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Medicare Board Remains Best Bet
The 2010 Affordable Care Act contains strong but controversial medicine for reining in Medicare's soaring costs: the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). ... The IPAB and other cost-control mechanisms within the Affordable Care Act are far preferable to the Republican alternative: a voucher system that leaves the elderly with thousands more in out-of-pocket costs. But there are no easy solutions. Voters need to accept that reality and demand details to figure out what is best for them (5/2).

Kaiser Health News Guest Opinion: The Hypocritical And Reckless Attacks On The Ryan Plan 
Premium credits for program participants. Competing private insurance options. Government oversight of plan choices. Additional help for the low-income. If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it should. It's the description used by advocates to sell the president's own health reform program to the American people. Moreover, these reforms are very similar to the ones enacted in 2003 to provide prescription drugs to today's seniors. That benefit is delivered entirely by competing private insurers. ... This is the model for fixing the rest of Medicare too, and the basis for the Ryan reform (Jim Capretta, 5/2).

Kaiser Health News Guest Opinion: Federal Efforts Build Momentum To Address Health Inequities
Health inequities span from the cradle to the grave, in the form of higher rates of infant mortality, chronic disease, disability and premature death among many racial and ethnic minority groups. ... The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama just over a year ago, is an important first step toward eliminating these inequities. ... But the law is only one element of what must be a multi-faceted solution. Success will require public-private partnerships, a reality that received a big shot in the arm when the Obama administration released, for the first time in federal government history, a national strategy -- the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity -- to eliminate health inequities (Brian Smedley, 5/2). 
 
The New York Times: Sense On The Stem Cell Front
The federal government's financing of embryonic stem cell research got a boost Friday when an appeals court panel ruled that the work could go on while a lower-court judge ponders its legality. More uncertainty awaits as opponents try to derail this promising field of research. ... Congress ought to resolve the issue with legislation making it unambiguous that the federal government can support research on stem cells derived from human embryos. That seems highly unlikely. So it is up to the courts (5/2).  

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