KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: For Fla. Small Business Owner, Loss Of Health Law Would Be ‘Real Blow;’ Effort To Silence Mich. Legislators Backfires

Miami Herald: This Small Business Wants Obama's Health Insurance Law
Running a small business with four employees, I’ve got a lot hanging in the balance as the Supreme Court deliberates on the healthcare law. The legal challenge to the law was launched here in Florida with a small business lobby group as a plaintiff in the case. But if you're thinking that means small business people like me want to see the law rolled back, think again. The simple fact is, the healthcare law is saving our business serious money and saving our healthcare benefits. Rolling it back would be a real blow — it could spell the end of our healthcare benefits, and push more small business employees into bankruptcy (Louisa McQueeney, 6/18).

The Washington Post: The Long-Term Electoral Effects Of Health Care Reform
Among other things, the fight over health care reform is also a fight over two very different views of (how) partisan alignment works. There's a strain of thought that some conservatives push that the main reason Democrats support health care reform — and the reason Democrats support other government programs, everything from Social Security to Medicare — is to essentially trick otherwise fine, upstanding, independent Americans into becoming thoroughly dependent on the government, and therefore having no choice but to vote for Democrats (Jonathan Bernstein, 6/18).

The Washington Post: Can Dems Go On Offense On Health Care?
I’m not one of those who thinks a Supreme Court decision against health reform will carry any hidden silver linings for Dems. It could reinforce the narrative that (President Barack) Obama and Dems allowed health care to distract them from the economy, with nothing to show for it. But it is worth pointing out that even if the law is struck down, the basic parameters of the health care debate itself will remain pretty much the same in the context of the presidential and Congressional campaigns (Greg Sargent, 6/18).

Baltimore Sun: Maryland Attorney General Makes The Legal Case For Obamacare
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in the coming days, and it's hard to predict how the justices will rule. But that's not because the Constitution is unclear. Ideologues have muddied the issue by suggesting that this case is about whether Congress has the power to force us to quit smoking, exercise, and even eat broccoli. It's not (Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, 6/18).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Health Care Law Puts Supreme Court Atop A Slippery Slope
The principal argument of those opposed to the mandate has been that if Congress can force us to buy health insurance, it can force us to do anything it wants; it could even force us to eat broccoli, the naysayers have famously said. ... So the court needs to step in as the only force that can stop Congress' legislative momentum and put the brakes on its insatiable appetite for regulation and intrusion. But this argument misses an essential point about American democracy. Our system relies on another powerful force to limit what Congress does: the American people (Erin Daly, 6/19).

Chicago Sun-Times: Not Everyone Has Fair Chance At Success
Health care also is essential for a fair chance to succeed. But our broken system rations health care by the ability to pay. Those with the money can get the best health care in the world. Those without go without. Health-care reform was designed to ensure that almost all Americans have health insurance. But rollbacks of Medicaid and Medicare, and efforts to repeal health-care reform put that at risk (Jesse Jackson, 6/18).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: We Must Preserve Patient Protections
Because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the health care law, last year I introduced the Wisconsin Patients' Bill of Rights (AB 312). The bill would secure the patient protections provided by the Affordable Care Act into Wisconsin state law. This legislation is necessary because if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, no policy has been offered by Walker, Mitt Romney or any Republican in Congress that says how people will obtain the law's important patient protections (Wis. State Rep. Jon Richards, 6/18).

Detroit Free Press: Don't Let Michigan Push Women Back To The Dark Ages
The abortion debate is not a political debate. It is a spiritual one. The decision to have sex is between a woman and a man. The decision to have an abortion is between women and God. So after talking to (Annamary) Fox, who saw so many deaths, I cannot help but wonder why so many men -- and some women -- are trying to play God (Rochelle Riley, 6/19)?

Detroit Free Press: Silenced Voices Get Even Louder Over Vaginia Remarks In Michigan
Did it never occur to Michigan's Republican legislative leaders that muzzling two Democratic state lawmakers might serve to amplify their voices rather than stifle them? If not, they surely know better now. Most Michiganders had never even heard of Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, or Rep. Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, until last Thursday, when House Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, decided to ban both women from speaking on the House floor in retaliation for remarks they made in opposition to anti-abortion legislation. How spectacularly have Stamas' heavy-handed tactics blown up in his party's face? Let us count the ways (6/19).

The Dallas Morning News: Want An Abortion? The State Has A Few Questions For You First
Dear Texas resident with the effrontery to seek a legal abortion: So, you got yourself pregnant. Current federal law allows you to choose this particular option for your private medical situation. The state of Texas, however, in furtherance of its goal of reducing the size and regulatory intrusiveness of government except in cases of your personal reproductive business, intends to make this process as difficult and degrading as possible. … You may technically still have rights, but the people running the state government have decided you no longer deserve them (Jacquielynn Floyd, 6/18).

Minnesota Public Radio: Donating A Kidney Is A Good Deed That Doesn't Go Unpunished
I've never given a thought to possible negative consequences of my choice — until now. Now I know that my insurance company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, would deny me health insurance if I were applying as an individual. BCBS apparently believes I am high risk, even though I had to be in excellent health in order to donate a kidney. BCBS seems to think that people like me will be fine getting health insurance through the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association high-risk pool (Cathleen Cotter, 6/19).

Houston Chronicle: Tobacco-Free Campus A Good Idea
Observers on the University of Houston campus this week noted the irony of seeing people taking cigarette breaks in front of the M.D. Anderson Library, which bears the same name as the world-famous cancer center across town. But the days of irony may be numbered, with the university proposing a total ban on the use, sale, advertising and sampling of all tobacco products on the 667-acre main campus…. There is bound to be some push back, with arguments that the university should not get involved in personal decisions. But smoking isn't merely personal: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, secondhand smoke is a carcinogen in itself, responsible for thousands of lung cancer deaths every year (6/18).

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