KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Tea Party On Entitlement Reform; Boehner’s ‘Trillions’ Demand; California’s Silver Tsunami

The New York Times: Republican Demands And The Debt Limit
[In] a speech on Monday, the speaker of the House said that Republicans would insist on trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for votes to raise the debt limit. He did not mention a time frame. ... He also did not offer specifics on how he planned to make those cuts. After the beating Republicans took for their plan to slash Medicare, he clearly decided generalities were politically safer. There is no way to solve the country's fiscal ills without an accurate diagnosis and rigorous prescriptions for a cure. Mr. Boehner's speech was devoid of both (5/10).

Politico: Placebo Will Not Cure Economic Ills
We must use the debt limit to impose the strong medicine necessary to restore the nation to fiscal health. Refusing to raise the debt limit is likely to force the politicians to deal with entitlement reform and spending cuts today - not after the 2012 elections, when it might be too late. ... The Tea Party Patriots and the majority of the American public are demanding that the politicians do their job - and prescribe the tough medicine the nation needs instead of another useless placebo (Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, 5/11). 

Los Angeles Times: Pharmaceutical Industry Defends 'Pay-For-Delay' Deals
Paying generics companies to drop patent challenges enables brand-name makers to keep monopolies for a time. But consumers and agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid lose out on cost reductions (Michael Hiltzik, 5/10).

Orlando Sentinel: The Health Insurance And Broccoli Edicts
The individual mandate represents the first time in our nation's history that the Commerce Clause has been used as a justification for Congress to regulate a decision not to buy something, rather than an affirmative decision to undertake an economic activity. Americans make lots of decisions not to buy things every day without fear of congressionally imposed penalties. In congressional hearings on the issue, commentators testified that, if the Commerce Clause could justify the individual mandate, Congress could also require Americans to do just about anything, including buying and eating broccoli (John E. Moore, 5/11).

Sacramento Bee: Is State Ready To Care For A Wave Of Elders?
The "silver tsunami," a demographic flood of aging baby boomers, is poised to wash over the state beginning this year. Sadly but predictably, California is woefully ill-prepared to roll with this wave. That's the conclusion of "A Long-Term Strategy for Long-term Care," a report issued last month by the state's Little Hoover Commission. "California's long-term care system is broken," the report states bluntly (5/10).

Health Policy Solutions (Colorado news service): Opinion: Hickenlooper Should Veto Health Fees For Kids The legislature recently sent a bill to the governor that represents a step in the wrong direction for Colorado's children. SB 213 creates monthly premiums in the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program for kids who have family incomes between 206 percent and 250 percent of poverty. These are families of four who earn about $46,000 to $56,000 a year. ... The bill will add to the number of uninsured children in Colorado (Adela Flores-Brennan and Gretchen Hammer, 5/10).

The Journal of the American Medical Association: Public Health Implications Of Government Spending Reductions
[T]he biggest threat to public health may come from funding cuts outside the health sector. Namely, budget decisions that affect basic living conditions-removing opportunities for education, employment, food security, and stable neighborhoods-could arguably have greater disease significance than disruptions in health care (Dr. Steven H. Woolf, 5/11). 

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