KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: USA Today On Abortion Restrictions; Health Law ‘Crucial’ To Women’s Health; Pa. Hospitals ‘At Risk’

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Pro & Con: Is First Year Of Health Care Reform Law Living Up To Promised Claims? 
YES: Coverage has been added for pre-existing conditions, as have tax credits for businesses (Joann Yoon and Cindy Zeldin, 3/21).  NO: The law's mandates force insurers to drop plans and business to cancel coverage (Sally C. Pipes, 3/21). 

The Sacramento Bee: Hard-Fought Law Is Crucial To Women's Health
Here in California we are committed to maintaining an aggressive pace in implementing the federal health care law. … In particular, these provisions will improve access to care and coverage for California women of all ages – through insurance system reforms, lowering out-of-pocket costs and securing comprehensive benefits packages that address women's health needs across the course of their lives (Dr. Jeanne Conry, 3/22). 

The Washington Post: As Health-Care Reform Law Turns 1, Some Clarity On What It Does And How It Does It 
Is it a perfect piece of legislation? Not even close. Will everything work as expected? Almost certainly not. But for all its flaws, it's a good law, which is why Republicans have had so much trouble coming up with state plans that could cover more people at a lower cost. And it's worth trying. So happy birthday, Affordable Care Act. Here's to many more (Ezra Klein, 3/21).

The Economist: A Not Very Happy Birthday
what will be the likely long-term impact of Obamacare? Critics say that if the law stays in place, it will destroy employer-provided health coverage. Boosters insist that if it is given a chance to work, it will bring costs down, and not merely extend coverage. Both camps are probably wrong. ... America will soon have no choice but to come to grips with costs. Whatever one thinks of Mr. Obama's reforms, there is no denying that they have brought that day of reckoning closer (3/17). 

USA Today: Our View: New Abortion Laws Come In Disguise
Twice in recent years, abortion-rights opponents went to the ballot box in bids to ban abortion in South Dakota. And twice they lost. ... Abortion remains legal in South Dakota, as its voters wish. But legal doesn't necessarily mean accessible. In South Dakota and in legislatures across the USA, this is proving to be a banner year for lawmakers attempting to marginalize a woman's right to choose, under the guise of other objectives (3/21).

USA Today: Opposing View: Limits Protect The Unborn
USA TODAY's editorial on laws limiting abortions curiously fails to focus on Nebraska's ground-breaking 2010 statute, versions of which are being considered in several states this year. ... We believe that when women are informed about unborn development and abortion alternatives, rather than just whatever they may be told by abortion providers, they're more likely to choose life
(Mary Spaulding Balch, 3/21). 

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Hospitals Put At Risk
After scrapping the state health-insurance plan for 41,000 working poor Pennsylvanians, Gov. Corbett has shown a more gentle bedside manner with other safety-net programs. Yet, his budget proposal still has public-health officials and health-care providers scrambling to blunt the expected impact of some cuts - while understandably bracing for possibly worse fiscal news yet to come. ... When the dust settles in Harrisburg, the struggle to close a $4 billion deficit in the state's $27.3 billion budget could rely far too heavily on sacrifices by the state's neediest residents (3/22).

Chicago Tribune: Old Drug, New Price
The federal Food and Drug Administration's announcement that it had approved a drug that helps prevent premature births sounded like cause for celebration. The March of Dimes applauded. So did Wall Street: The drug's manufacturer, St. Louis-based KV Pharmaceutical, saw its stock jump 30 percent. That was before women and their doctors learned that an injection that used to cost $10 to $20 now would cost $1,500 (3/21).

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Opposed To Vaccination? Let's Make That Sting 
[T]his isn't about science. If it were, nearly everyone would be vaccinated. This is about fear, and truth rarely trumps fear. ... There is currently no real repercussion besides this risk for parents who, out of fear, choose not to vaccinate. I am proposing some. ... Remove the conscientious-objection opt-out from Minnesota law (Ashley Shelby, 3/21).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.