KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Today’s Op-Eds: Birth Control Coverage, ‘Free’ Medical Care, Profitable Nursing Homes

The Cost Of 'Free' Medical Care The Washington Times
For every extra benefit Congress has required health insurers to provide, there is an extra cost. Ultimately, we all will pay the cost of these "free" services in the form of lower wages, higher taxes or higher health insurance premiums (Matt Kibbe, 11/1).

Of Course Federal Health Care Must Cover Birth Control The San Jose Mercury News
Providing contraception makes America's women and their children healthier. It helps low-income families remain functional and self-supporting. Of course it must be covered under federal health care reform (11/2).

A Common-Sense Birth Control Policy The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
If contraception does not make the list, it's likely that many insurers will continue covering it while requiring ever-growing out-of-pocket contributions. That status-quo policy would deter women from using contraception and cause more unintended pregnancies. … It's hard to imagine anything that more closely hews to the definition of preventive medical care than birth control. Common sense -- not narrow, misguided rhetoric -- should guide federal officials making this important decision (11/1).

The Downside Of Health-Care Repeal: Which Of These Features Would Opponents Be Willing To Lose? The Philadelphia Daily News
[C]onsidering its enemies, even this not-so-robust law still must do a heckuva lot to reduce the tactics that led to obscene profits for health insurers in recent years. As the New York Times reported this week, health-care opponents have spent $108 million -- six times that of the law's supporters -- to advertise against it. And that was after the law passed in March (Philadelphia Daily News, 10/29).

New Health Care Law Will Help Nebraska Families McCook (Neb.) Daily Gazette and KOGA
When people don't have health care coverage, they still get health care. … Guess who that cost is passed on to? ... This [law] is aimed at changing that to level the playing field. If we didn't do something, premium costs due to health care costs are going to continue going up at double digit levels. They're going to go up in the meantime until all the insurance reforms kick in. But that won't be because of health insurance reform (Sen. Ben Nelson, 11/2).

The Real Meaning Of Rationing The Journal of the American Medical Association
Yet attempts to resist change using the specter of rationing are not reasonable because rationing already exists and is inevitable. Acknowledging that the argument is not about whether rationing is required but rather who should be trusted to ration care is a start. What is needed is intelligent discourse on what approaches to rationing work best and what values Americans most wish to express as a nation to address this problem (David O. Meltzer and Allan S. Detsky, 11/1).

Make It Clear Who Owns Nursing Homes Des Moines Register
[T]wo-thirds of homes in this country are for-profit businesses. They generally pay low wages to the workers providing care. Meanwhile, industry officials complain incessantly to state legislatures that they need higher reimbursements for Medicaid patients. They say they lose money because the government doesn't pay enough for poor residents. They must not be losing much money if profit-seeking firms consider the homes good investments (11/2).

Buck's Health Care Plan: Higher Costs, Lower Quality Care The Huffington Post
Practically every hospital, and most physicians in this country, must treat patients without insurance. Such patients rarely pay their bills, and those providers must find a way to recuperate those costs. To cover the spread, these providers raise their fees. In particular they increase fees to health insurers. And what do health insurance companies do when hospitals and physicians charge more to work with them in their network? They raise their rates. … But despite all this, there are folks out there who still make the argument that the uninsured are simply someone else's problem. Folks like U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck (David West, 11/1).

American Health Care: An Ethical Problem The (Danbury, Ct.) NewsTimes
American health care continues to be a profit-driven, illness-centered system … [O]ur national health care woes will not be solved on the national level and will continue to decline unless our structure becomes patient-focused, wellness-oriented and not-for-profit (Linda Napier, 11/1). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.