KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Rubio Says Vote To Keep Government Funded Should Include Stripping All Obamacare Spending; Govs. Jindal and Walker Blast Exchange Implementation; Sen. Paul To Offer Alternative To Medicare

Fox News: America, It's Not Too Late To Stop ObamaCare
But most workers and small business owners are counting on the men and women they elected to be their eyes, ears and voices. If we are to truly speak for them, we should take their opinions into account when deciding whether to move forward on the most important issues before us: the implementation of ObamaCare. ... This September, Congress will have to pass another short term spending bill to fund the federal government. We should pass one that keeps the government open, but doesn't waste any more money on ObamaCare. The president and his allies – and even some Republicans – will accuse us of threatening to shut down the government. In fact, it is President Obama who insists on shutting down the government unless it funds his failed ObamaCare experiment (Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., 7/25). 

The Wall Street Journal: Unworkable ObamaCare
Remember when President Obama famously promised that if you like your health-care plan, you'll be able to keep your health-care plan? It was a brilliantly crafted political sound bite. Turns out, the statement is untrue. Aside from that small detail, the slightly larger problem is that the Obama administration doesn't have a health-care plan. Yes, the White House has a law with thousands of pages, but the closer we get to Oct. 1, the day government-mandated health-insurance exchanges are supposed to open, the more we see that the administration doesn't have a legitimate plan to successfully implement the law (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 7/25). 

The New York Times: Republican Health Care Panic
Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama's signature policy achievement, is probably going to work. And the good news about Obamacare is, I'd argue, what's driving the Republican Party's intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn't just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass (Paul Krugman, 7/25). 

The Washington Post's The Plum Line: The Core Contradiction At The Heart Of The GOP Campaign to Sabotage Obamacare
Do Republicans believe that Obamacare is a disaster in the making? Or is it such an appealing program that they have to take extraordinary steps to undermine it? Reuters reports today that conservative groups are taking their campaign to undermine the law to ever new heights. As the Tea Party group FreedomWorks puts it: "We're trying to make it socially acceptable to skip the exchange." The game plan — which will include ads and social media — is to target the "young healthies" who are needed in the insurance pools in order to make the exchanges work. The goal isn't just to getting to oppose the Affordable Care Act; it's far too late for that. Rather, the goal is to use "town hall meetings, protests and media promotions to dissuade uninsured Americans from obtaining health coverage" (Jonathan Bernstein, 7/25). 

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Cruz Explains Why GOP Is Willing To Play Chicken Over ObamaCare
So let me try to follow [Sen. Ted] Cruz's logic here: ObamaCare is going to be a disaster, a trainwreck, a total mess. In fact, it's going to be such a trainwreck that if we allow it to be implemented, the American people are going to absolutely love it and will never allow it to be repealed. Confused? (Jay Bookman, 7/25).

The Washington Post Wonkblog: Republicans Had A Plan To Replace Obamacare. It Looked A Lot Like Obamacare
Remember "repeal and replace"? That was the Republican party’s 2010-vintage response to the Affordable Care Act. ... They wouldn't just repeal the bill. They’d replace it with something better. But what? The Romney campaign was very vague on this point, and the few points of commonality Congressional Republicans have on the issue don't add up to a full replacement. Four years ago, however, they did. It was called the Patients' Choice Act, it was proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), two of the most influential Congressional Republicans on the issue, and it was a credible way of covering almost all Americans. ... Obamacare bears a heavy resemblance to basically every real universal health-care plan that Republican legislators have proposed in the past half century (Dylan Mathews, 7/25).

Kansas City Star: Can We Get Real About Repealing Obamacare?
OK, class, let’s talk about repealing Obamacare. Some of us are having a little trouble envisioning what that would look like, but I know all you smart Republicans have some great ideas. So, let’s get started. ... Repealing Obamacare is the plan. The only plan. But then what will you do when families lose everything when somebody gets sick and can’t hold down a job? What do you say to people who have been canceled by their insurers because they’ve reached lifetime limits? How do you rationalize having the most expensive health care system in the developed world and some of the poorest results? (Barbara Shelly, 7/25).

Philly.com: Obamacare Opponents Are Starting To Look Desperate
Obamacare's rollout has entered the homestretch. The new insurance exchanges are scheduled to open for business in just over two months. Three months after that, the policies they sell will take effect. At that point, every American will enjoy guaranteed access to health insurance regardless of health status. With the finish line in sight, opponents have become more strident than ever. Having failed to block the law in Congress, in the Supreme Court, and in the last presidential election, they are promising to throw everything else they can think of in its way (Robert I. Field, 7/26).

Bloomberg: Will Obamacare Kickstart Health Care Revolution
But in a cavernous room in New York’s SoHo district, a group of entrepreneurs is working to render the entire Washington conversation over Obamacare obsolete. There, Obamacare is no longer a political controversy: It's a business opportunity. And a trio of young technologists have raised $40 million to take advantage of it (Ezra Klein, 7/25).

The Washington Times: Health Care For Seniors
As a physician, I understand the reliance many Americans have on Medicare. However, wasteful spending in Washington has drained the Medicare trust fund. The combination of massive debt, fewer active workers and more retirees is pushing Medicare into bankruptcy. Medicare is nearly $40 trillion unfunded. Simply put, this is an unsustainable path and Obamacare is not the answer. ... next week I will reintroduce the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act of 2013. The plan is simple: All seniors will be enrolled in the same health care plan as their members of Congress and other federal employees. By all accounts, elected officials and federal employees receive some of the best health insurance in the country, and it is time for every senior to have access to the best health care in America as well (Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., 7/26).

The Texas Tribune: The Economic Debate Behind The Political Debate
The 2007 bill would have ended all abortions, and it’s relatively easy to put a number to that. In 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, 70,003 pregnancies were terminated in Texas, according to the Department of State Health Services. The new Texas law will make it more difficult for women in some parts of the state to obtain abortions and might close some of the clinics that now provide abortions, but it is much more difficult to say how many babies might be born that would not have been. Only a handful of the state's abortion clinics currently meet the new standard, prompting opponents to argue that the legislation will limit access to abortion facilities while leaving the procedure itself legal. Without that number of babies in hand, it is difficult to estimate a cost to the state — if there is one, and if people want to talk about it (Ross Ramsey, 7/26).

San Jose Mercury News: El Camino Hospital Ruling Saves Quality Care
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Socrates Manoukian has returned sanity to El Camino Hospital's world. Manoukian ruled unconstitutional the hospital employee union's vindictive ballot measure that voters, amazingly, passed last fall, saying an initiative to limit executive compensation could not be applied to health care districts (7/25).

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