KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Fauxbamacare; Virginia’s ‘Game Of Chicken’

Vox: The Republican Replacement For Obamacare Is Fauxbamacare
Scott Brown, who's now running for Senate in New Hampshire, has found the perfect position on Obamacare. He's for it. He's just not for calling it Obamacare. In an interview with [WMUR], he called Obamacare a "disaster." Then he was asked what he's for? — and he went on to describe Obamacare. "I've always felt that people should either get some type of health care options, or pay for it with a nice competitive fee," he said. "That's all great. I believe it in my heart. In terms of preexisting conditions, catastrophic coverages, covering kids, whatever we want to do." He even said it could "include the Medicaid expansion [for] folks who need that care and coverage" (Ezra Klein, 4/29).

The New York Times' Taking Note: No Comment Necessary: Scott Brown's Take On 'Obamacare'
Like confused poll respondents, Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts Senator who's running for Senate in New Hampshire, says he thinks the Affordable Care Act is disastrous, but seems to like everything it does (Andrew Rosenthal, 4/29). 

Bloomberg: Catch Of The Day: Fauxbamacare!
The dirty secret is most Republicans don’t actually oppose the type of reform that Democrats undertook. Oh, they oppose "Obamacare," and they've managed to convince themselves that they oppose one or two of the provisions. But for the most part, what they oppose is the idea of it or, even worse, the fables they tell about it: "Death panels" and "government takeovers" and "socialism," but not the basic idea of the exchanges. That’s not to say the ACA is really a conservative plan – I think Scott Lemieux is correct in pointing out the massive differences between the actual law Democrats passed in 2010 and the ideas that Republicans previously supported, let alone the differences between the law and what Republicans actually would have been willing to pass if it was up to them (hint: nothing). That's why there is still no Republican alternative to Obamacare, and won’t be (as Paul Krugman explained today). There's just no viable policy that Republicans are willing to embrace (Jonathan Bernstein, 4/29).

The New York Times: Nurses Are Not Doctors
Earlier this month, the New York State Legislature passed a bill granting nurse practitioners the right to provide primary care without physician oversight. New York joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in awarding such autonomy. (Most states still require nurse practitioners to work with physicians under a written practice agreement.) The bill's authors contend that mandatory collaboration with a physician "no longer serves a clinical purpose" and reduces much-needed access to primary care (Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, 4/29).

The Washington Post: McAuliffe Can't Win 'Game Of Chicken' Over Medicaid
The first law of holes is to know when to stop digging. We therefore urge Gov. Terry McAuliffe to reject The Post editorial board's Medicaid expansion shovel. In the April 25 editorial "Virginia’s game of chicken," The Post suggested that McAuliffe start "describing to Virginians the paralysis and hardships that are likely to befall the state if Republicans continue to refuse any semblance of compromise and the government shuts down." With all due respect, the strategy of digging up fears of a state-government shutdown has not worked and will not work, as indicated by recent polling on Medicaid expansion and the state budget from Christopher Newport University (Norman Leahy and Paul Goldman, 4/28). 

The Wall Street Journal: A Biotech Lesson For Big Pharma Mergers
Pfizer's $100 billion offer for rival AstraZeneca's proof that big drug makers are once again seeking out big mergers. It's a way for them to gain market leverage as governments clamp down on health-care spending. But the more interesting story—and one Big Pharma could learn from—is the bull market in young, lean biotech companies and their initial public offering (Scott Gottlieb, 4/29). 

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