KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: GOP Govs. On Medicaid ‘Flexibility’; ‘Attack’ On Planned Parenthood; Following Doctors’ Orders Not So Easy

USA Today: Pa.'s Corbett: Let States Guide Medicaid Reform 
Medicaid is bureaucratic and costly, and the stimulus and new federal health care law have made a bad problem even worse, shackling states with unrealistic mandates. Congress has made the states increasingly dependent on federal dollars and then left them with a Hobson's choice between accepting heavy-handed federal mandates or relinquishing key support for vulnerable populations (Gov. Tom Corbett, 2/28). 

The Hill: GOP Governors Stand Ready To Help
Unless we address Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and other entitlements, as well as defense spending, we won't make a significant dent in our deficit or debt. ... We should increase the eligibility age for Social Security benefits, and reform Medicaid and Medicare. About 40 percent of our federal spending resides in those three programs alone, and until we have the collective courage to reform these budget drivers, we aren't serious about fixing our problems (Gov. Bob McDonnell, 2/28).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Repair This Bill
Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill is flawed. We support the governor's aim to rein in labor costs but cannot support this bill as written. ...  Proposals that amount to policy should be stripped out. These include a provision ... that would give broad rule-making authority for the Medicaid program to the Department of Health Services (2/28).

The Hill: A New Day For Wisconsin 
[O]nly 26 other states grant these "basic rights" to their employees, and several of these are considering reforms that go even further than those Walker proposes in Wisconsin. ... In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie (R) is demanding that public employees pay not the 12.6 percent of their healthcare costs that Walker wants them to pay in Wisconsin, but 30 percent to put them in the same boat as their private-sector counterparts. ... So it's time for Wisconsinites, reporters and outsiders to face up to the fact that Scott Walker is no extremist (David Keene, 2/28).

The Boston Globe: Brown And Romney Twist In The Conservative Winds
They have been part of important good ideas, such as health care, and they should stand up for them against the railing of the ideologues (Derrick Z. Jackson, 3/1).

The Wall Street Journal: The Massachusetts Health-Reform Mess
The cost problem in Massachusetts is not going to be solved anytime soon. The question to be asked is why we should plunge ahead with a national version of this model before we learn whether Massachusetts's brave new world is one in which we want to live? (John E. Calfee, 3/1). 

The Boston Globe: Don't Politicize Women's Health
The House GOP can't directly go after abortion, which remains legal. So its obvious goal is to weaken Planned Parenthood through other means - no matter the risk to some women who might lose services as a result. It makes no sense to fight abortion by undermining women's health, and the Democratic-controlled Senate should reject the House Republicans' maneuver (3/1).

USA Today: Pence's Attack On Planned Parenthood Foolish
How self-defeating is this? Abortion opponents in the House of Representatives and their conservative allies want to stop Planned Parenthood from getting federal funds to provide family planning assistance to low-income women. ... [Sen. Mike] Pence's argument would be laughable if the damage his legislation could do weren't so frightening. It's laughable because it is already illegal for federal money to be used to fund an abortion (DeWayne Wickham, 2/28).

The New York Times: A Housecall To Help With Doctor's Orders
Doctors are very good at telling us what to do - but we are very poor at doing it. In fact, the health problems of millions of Americans are directly related to our failure to follow doctors' orders. ... Many of the deficiencies of American health care require not more technology, but the human touch. It's certainly true for high-risk, high-cost patients, but it can help nearly everyone get better health for less money (Tina Rosenberg, 2/28).

Los Angeles Times: Battling Over Bone Marrow 
There may come a day when factors would weigh in favor of compensating marrow donors. Technology is likely to bring about faster and more accurate screening tests. Registries could conduct studies to see how they might add paid donors without alienating altruistic ones. ...  At this point, though, financial reward [to donors] carries too many risks with little certainty of real benefits. For now, there are more effective ways to help patients get needed marrow donations (3/1). 

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