KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Sebelius On Empowering States; NY Times On Insurance Mandate; WSJ On ‘Next Repeal Target’

The Washington Post: How The Affordable Care Act Empowers States
As governor of Kansas, I saw up close the urgent need for health-care reform. I heard it when factory owners told me their biggest concern was not manufacturing costs but rising insurance premiums, and when families said they felt like hostages to insurance companies that could deny or cancel coverage with little accountability. ... The Affordable Care Act puts states in the driver's seat because they often understand their health needs better than anyone else -- and that is why it is so frustrating to hear opponents of reform falsely attack the law as "nationalized health care." The truth is that states aren't just participating in implementation of the law; they're leading it (Kathleen Sebelius, 2/10).

The Wall Street Journal: The Next Repeal Target
No one should expect much real health-care progress for the next two years, but at least President Obama is now making concessions to the political mood, however minor. The White House is suddenly trying to pacify the critics it used to claim were partisans, or industry shills, or arguing in bad faith. The latest penitent is Kathleen Sebelius, who has finally admitted that there are severe fiscal problems with a new entitlement for long-term care that was included in ObamaCare (2/10). 

KHN related video: Sebelius Vows To Ensure CLASS Program Is Financially Viable   

The New York Times: A Debate Bigger Than Reform
While the federal courts consider whether the health care reform law is constitutional, there is an intense and even wider debate playing out in political and legal circles about the Constitution and Congress's power to solve national problems. ... The Constitution contains limits on improper mandates by preserving a wide range of personal choices. And while the idea of penalizing people for not acting sounds ominous, it inaccurately describes the problem. When people don't buy health insurance - because they can't afford it or think they don't need it - the cost of treating them falls on the national economy  (2/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Broken Promises: How Obamacare Undercuts Existing Health Insurance
To sell his overhaul of the United States health care system, President Barack Obama repeatedly assured Americans that if they liked their current health insurance plan they could keep it under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). ... However, what was proffered as an expansive political concession has been constricted and put into a legalistic straitjacket, first by the law itself, and then by confused regulations issued by the Administration (John S. Hoff, 2/11). 

McClatchy / The (Columbia, S.C.) State: Health Care Law That Needs To Be Addressed
There are two reasons for the paucity of reform models: The goals of the federal law require complex statutory, regulatory and behavioral changes and will not be met by a simple initiative; and the states, uncertain about the legal and political climate, are having too much trouble figuring out how to pay for Medicaid next year - much less two years down the road  (Cindi Ross Scoppe, 2/9). 

The Hill: Abortion Bills Are Abomination
Turns out the reports about the demise of the House GOP's attempt to redefine rape are premature - a Tuesday hearing on Rep. Chris Smith's (R-N.J.) No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, H.R. 3, in the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution revealed that the "forcible rape" language remains in the legislation. ... Regardless of how one feels about whether a woman has the right to make her own choices and decisions about her healthcare, we should all be concerned about both the GOP's willingness to break its campaign promises within weeks and its reliance on flawed, hypocritical and contradictory logic that would raise taxes and expand the reach of the federal government at the expense of women's health and well-being (Karen Finney, 2/9). 

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