KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: States Need To Expand Medicaid To Benefit All; Lies About Immigrants And Doctors; Antibiotics And Animals

Bloomberg: Obamacare's Medicaid Malpractice
[Expanding Medicaid] costs states a pittance compared with the financial and social benefits they’ll receive. Denying your constituents a chance to get health insurance out of political pique comes perilously close to governmental malpractice. This is a truth that bears repeating, but especially in states that are denying their residents the benefits of expanded Medicaid coverage. Expanding Medicaid is good economics, but it’s also about fairness (12/12).

The Virginian-Pilot: Expand Medicaid To Save Virginia Money 
More efficient, and effective, managed health care will be provided to the uninsured and working poor, which in turn will reduce overall health care costs for everyone. Virginia can save some of the hundreds of millions of dollars already spent every budget biennium in subsidies to hospitals, free clinics and community health care centers for treatment of the uninsured. It's a deal state officials should take (12/13).

San Francisco Chronicle: Path To Health Insurance Can Have Potholes
I have been calling Covered California for the past month, trying to get information on my health insurance application because my current coverage terminates on Dec. 31. ... this is not what was promised. Finding health coverage was supposed to be easier, not tougher. Now we not only have to worry about how to find medical care without insurance, we also have to worry about penalty assessment. I think every American believes they deserve better (John Aiello, 12/12).

Eugene Register-Guard: The Big Lie
The final version of the ACA that President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010, does not extend any health care insurance benefits to the nation’s 11.7 million undocumented immigrants. ... That simple truth has not prevented political conservatives and others who are opposed to the biggest change in U.S. health care insurance since the advent of Medicare and Medicaid from continuing to spread the lie that the ACA will allow those they call "illegals" to acquire health insurance coverage at taxpayers’ expense (12/12).

Los Angeles Times: Another Obamacare Myth Exposed: The California Doctor 'Boycott'
You may have heard recently that seven out of 10 California doctors were "boycotting" the state's Affordable Care Act exchange, known as Covered California. At least, you've heard it if you've been following right-wing news sources such as Fox News, which is alive to the irony that so many physicians in "deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate."  ... It's not true (Michael Hiltzik, 12/12).

The New Republic: Can Obamacare Handle Last-Minute Enrollments?
Thanks to the repairs to healthcare.gov, most people who want to buy insurance through the federal website can. But it remains to be see whether the system can handle the inevitable, last-minute surge of customers—or whether the administration and insurers will be able to fix mistakes in applications filed in October and November, when the system was transmitting error-prone data to carriers. These and other "January 1" problems have been worrying a lot of health care advocates. They would have been an issue even if healthcare.gov had launched smoothly on October 1. The problems and delays make difficulties more likely (Jonathan Cohn, 12/12).

Journal of the American Medical Association: Implications Of New Insurance Coverage For Access To Care, Cost-Sharing, And Reimbursement
Lost in the political rhetoric around health reform and technical glitches in the HealthCare.gov website are a set of critical decisions that many physician practices will have to make in the coming years. These decisions may very well contribute to the ultimate success or failure of the ACA (A. Everette James III, Dr. Walid F. Gellad and Dr. Brian A. Primack, 12/12).

And on another issue -

Los Angeles Times: Preserving Antibiotics For People Should Be The Goal
Finally, meaningful new guidelines have been written to stem the overuse of antibiotics on livestock. On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed new animal-husbandry practices that would phase out the routine use of medications such as tetracycline and penicillin on animals if the drugs are considered medically important for the treatment of disease in humans. The lavish use of antibiotics among livestock operations — 80% of all antibiotics in the country are fed to food animals — has contributed to the rise of resistant infections that are difficult, expensive and sometimes impossible to treat (12/12).

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