KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Paul Starr On Obama, Romney And Health Reform; Glenn Close On The Need For Mental Health Services

The Hill: The Grand Bargain
As we testified on Nov. 1 before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the principal driver of long-term federal deficits is the rapidly mounting cost of healthcare, particularly Medicare. ... Solving the U.S. debt crisis requires structural changes to slow Medicare’s cost growth plus significant new revenue to accommodate the retirement of the baby boomers. Any plan without those two essential components should go back to the drawing board (Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, 11/16).

The Washington Post: In 2012, Both Obama And Romney Would Bear The Burdens Of Health-Care Reform
If former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and President Obama face off in the 2012 presidential campaign, America will witness the singular spectacle of two candidates getting very little love — and plenty of hate — for the same signature achievement: reforming health care (Paul Starr, 11/16).

The Wall Street Journal: Another ObamaCare Glitch
ObamaCare authorizes premium assistance in state-run exchanges (Section 1311) but not federal ones (Section 1321). In other words, states that refuse to create an exchange can block much of ObamaCare's spending and practically force Congress to reopen the law for revisions. The Obama administration wants to avoid that legislative debacle, so this summer it proposed an IRS rule to offer premium assistance in all exchanges (Jonathan H. Adler and Michael F. Cannon, 11/16).

The Washington Post: My Supreme Court Health-Care Brief 
We’re the only rich nation on the planet where getting sick can mean going bankrupt. Striking down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would be tantamount to dooming 30 million Americans to this plight for the decade or two that will go by before a president dares to push this issue again (Matt Miller, 11/16).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Health-Care Law's Real Impact
If the justices decide to strike down the mandate, leaving the other provisions in the balance, they must take particular care to be in touch with the world around them -- a world where health-care reform has already done a lot to improve people's lives (Robert I. Field, 11/17).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Health Care Clarity Needed From Court
The nation will be best-served if the court provides a definitive ruling instead of punting the issue to the middle of the decade, which could happen under one scenario involving a little-known tax law provision that the court will consider…. Clarity on constitutionality is needed, not three more years of bickering over a landmark law that will make sweeping changes to a critical economic sector touching everyone's life (11/16).

iWatch News: Supreme Court Likely To Uphold Obamacare As Constitutional
The provision of Obamacare at the heart of the constitutional challenge — the requirement that all Americans will have to buy health insurance if they’re not eligible for a public plan like Medicare or Medicaid — is a “must have” for the nation’s health insurance industry (Wendell Potter, 11/17).

Politico: Mental Health Cuts Cost All
We are committed to combating a serious public health problem – mental illness – and reducing the stigma that surrounds it. ... Our family has first-hand experience with this. Jessie has struggled with undiagnosed bipolar disorder since she was a teenager, and her son, Calen, lives with schizoaffective disorder. ... Our leaders should know that further cuts in mental health care services don’t just affect those suffering from mental illness — they affect us all (Glenn Close and Jessie Close, 11/16).

The Washington Post: Insurance Loophole On Cancer Treatments Sticks Patients With Extreme Cost
[M]any new cancer drugs are supposed to be taken orally or are available only in pill form. In some cases, the same drug is covered by insurance if taken via injection and not covered if it’s taken orally. The difference in out-of-pocket cost to the patient can run in the thousands of dollars a month (Robert McCartney, 11/6). 

The Baltimore Sun: A Better Way To Provide Health Care, Threatened By Budget Cuts
In Maryland's own Evergreen Project, a prototype of the nationally known health care CO-OP model, we find an innovative solution that will draw medical school graduates to primary care, improve the health of communities and ultimately lower costs (Rachita Sood and Marce Abare, 11/16).

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