KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Today’s Selection Of OpEds: Cutting Health Costs

The Baucus Bill The New York Times
"Many commentators have treated the Senate Finance bill as the likely template for any final legislation because it may be more palatable to conservative Democrats, and deficit hawks, in both houses. But the Finance Committee's bill should be viewed as the least that Congress should do - a foundation upon which to build, not the final structure" (10/10).

Crack Down On Medicare, Medicaid Fraud The Miami Herald
"Unless the system can catch abuses with the first medical bill sent to Medicare, which covers seniors, or Medicaid for the poor, there will be no cost savings to expand insurance to millions who now don't have coverage. And unless penalties for fraudsters who steal millions of dollars are toughened so that the prison sentence is more than a legal slap, they'll keep scamming" (10/12).

In Need Of Urgent Care The Washington Post
"As Congress debates the costs of future care, lawmakers cannot forget that social services remain vital to cost control and effectiveness. Homelessness, unemployment and poverty have a serious effect on our health-care system. If these issues are not addressed with the same vigor, hospitals and doctors will continue to be stretched to administer services they are ill equipped to provide" (Amina Merchant, 10/12).

Baby Boomer Retirement: The News Gets Worse Kaiser Health News
"Baby Boomers are tragically unprepared for financing their health and long-term care costs as they age. And some important new studies show their circumstances may be much worse in the wake of recent carnage in both the economy and financial markets" (Howard Gleckman, 10/12).

A 10 Million-Person Exaggeration? Forbes
"Nearly half the alleged reduction in the number of uninsured (14 million) is attributed to a vast expansion in the number of non-poor people made eligible for Medicaid, at a cost of $80 billion a year by 2019. But that 14 million figure is exaggerated by at least half, because such "public options" are commonly substituted for private options" (Alan Reynolds, 10/11).

Health Care As A Moral Issue - Calling Dr. Salk  McClatchy
"The essence of today's health care debate revolves around the question of whether we as a society wish to view medical care as a fundamental human right or simply another marketplace commodity. In the past decades it was the latter voice that had been the most outspoken" (William S. Meyer, 10/12).

Risky Business: Cutting Health Costs The Boston Globe
"While many procedures and spending are undoubtedly wasteful, research by me and others cautions against indiscriminate reductions. After finding circumstances that allow for apples-to-apples comparisons, this work reveals that higher health care spending can yield better health outcomes" (Joseph J. Doyle Jr. 10/11).

Healthcare Has Rationing In Abundance The Los Angeles Times
"Republicans pretend that our current system doesn't stop anyone from getting all the care they need. Democrats pretend that efforts to control costs won't limit medical choices and treatment. But most real-world consumers know better: There is no free lunch. As medical technology improves, there's no way all of us can have all the high-end care we want -- unless we are willing to pay for it" (Doyle McManus, 10/11).

A Path To Downward Mobility The Washington Post
The road to downward mobility is paved with good intentions. The health debate has focused on insuring the uninsured and de-emphasized controlling runaway spending, much of which is ineffective. The priorities should have been reversed. The chance to reorder the medical-industrial complex to restrain costs and improve care has been mostly squandered. Some call this 'reform'; no one should call it progress" (Robert J. Samuelson, 10/12).

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