KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Obamacare’s Redistribution Will ‘Wreck’ U.S. Work Ethic; Health Law Problems Can’t Obscure Pent Up Demand

The Wall Street Journal: How ObamaCare Wrecks The Work Ethic
A new wave of redistribution will arrive in America on Jan. 1, primarily thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The president's health-insurance plan forces those who hire, work and produce to pay full price for health care, while creating generous discounts for practically everyone else (Casey B. Mulligan, 10/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Brendan Mahoney Saves ObamaCare
Moreover, whether ObamaCare "works" will be determined not by how many people are signing up but what kind of people. ObamaCare relies on price controls that jack up premiums on the young and healthy in order to keep them low on the old and sickly. If the latter but not the former are signing up in huge numbers--that is, if people are responding rationally to incentives--then the scheme is unsustainable (James Taranto, 10/2).

The New Republic: Obamacare Glitches Are Real—And Matter Less Than You Think
Obamacare's new websites opened for business on Tuesday morning, just as they were supposed to do. And they promptly ran into problems, just as both critics and some advocates had predicted they would do. People who visited the websites had to endure long delays and in some cases they could not use the sites at all. … And while federal officials blamed the problems on high traffic, the nature of the glitches suggests at least some of the sites still had some design issues—the kind that simply adding bandwidth might not fix. ... The high traffic to Obamacare websites may have given Democrats a convenient way to spin the technological problems, but it was every bit the heartening, and validating, sign they proclaimed. Obamacare critics have spent the last few months and, really, the last few years dwelling on the law's shortcomings, real and perceived -- whether some young people would have to pay more for their coverage, whether regulations would force employers to change their behavior, and so on. But the single biggest impact of Obamacare is that many millions of people are finally getting access to decent, affordable insurance (Jonathan Cohen, 10/2).

Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama Should Follow Kentucky's Lead -- Expand Medicaid
Alabama and Kentucky have a lot in common. Historically, both have low rankings in most socioeconomic measures. Both have low rankings in most health categories. Both states have a lot of poor people, a lot of people who work hard and don't make much money. Both states stand to benefit enormously under the expansion of Medicaid that is part of the Affordable Care Act. There the similarities end, for Kentucky, under the leadership of Gov. Steve Beshear, is vigorously implementing the act, while Alabama's Gov. Robert Bentley has washed his hands of the whole thing (10/3). 

St. Louis Beacon: Obamacare: Mulling The Known Unknowns
The adage has it that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee. Understood thusly, the Affordable Care Act — a.k.a. "Obamacare" — is a steed worthy of Lawrence of Arabia. The eponymous proponent of the measure, Barack Obama, spent his pre-political career as a constitutional law professor/community organizer. The care bill he championed reflected the Janus-faced nature of the president’s civilian occupations as it sought to provide health insurance to the needy — thereby appealing to his inner social worker — while trying to convince members of Congress that doing so was their idea in the first place (M.W. Guzy, 10/3).

Roll Call: Obamacare's Acute Affliction On Restaurant Industry
Without changes, the Affordable Care Act will hurt economic growth and make flexible work schedules for employees more limiting to offer. Across the country, many restaurant operators are being forced to make a difficult choice: Do they hire fewer employees, reduce the hours of current employees or raise menu prices? For some, the answer may be a combination of the three. But regardless of the conclusion they reach, there are no easy solutions (Jack Crawford, 10/2).

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