KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

A Selection of Editorials And Opinions

Opponents and proponents of health care reform are using "rationing" as the word to drive opinion regarding health care reform in the United States, The New York Times reports.

  • "The r-word has become a rejoinder to anyone who says that this country must reduce its runaway health spending, especially anyone who favors cutting back on treatments that don't have scientific evidence behind them. You can expect to hear a lot more about rationing as health care becomes the dominant issue in Washington this summer" (Leonhardt, 6/17).
  • Shikha Dalmia, writing in Forbes.com, compares Obama's health care plan to the case laid out before the Iraq invasion, but avoids "rationing": "President George W. Bush concocted the connection between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein to justify the Iraq invasion. Now President Barack Obama is concocting an equally fantastical theory to justify a de facto government takeover of health care" (Dalmia, 6/17).
  • Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post: "At the top of the docs' list of culprits are plaintiffs' lawyers, whose zeal has supposedly saddled them with sky-high malpractice premiums and forced them to practice costly defensive medicine. Next come the greedy and incompetent insurance companies that try to dictate how they should practice medicine and try to pad profits by scrimping on coverage" (Pearlstein, 6/17).
  • In The Huffington Post, Robert Borosage's usage points out that even the left can use "rationing" care: "We ration care by price, with some 47 million Americans uninsured" (Borosage, 6/16).

Other opinions and editorials:

Malpractice and Health Care Reform The New York Times
Hoping to enlist support for his campaign for health care reform, President Obama told the American Medical Association this week that he would work with doctors to limit their vulnerability to malpractice lawsuits. That was a reasonable offer - provided any malpractice reform is done carefully (6/16).

The Achilles' Heel of Health Reform Politico
I think Obama erred by not coming up with a dedicated funding source for health reform in the first place. One of the reasons that Social Security and Medicare have worked so well is that they have specific payroll taxes that fund their benefits (Bruce Bartlett, 6/17).

More RXes Needed for Nation's Ailing Health Care System Roll Call
The main focus, and the controversies, have centered on the insurance system - how to cover everybody, how to pay for covering everybody, whether there is a public plan to compete with private plans, and so on (Norman Ornstein, 6/17).

Health Reform and Competitiveness Wall Street Journal
Democrats have spent years arguing that corporate tax rates don't matter to U.S. competitiveness. But all of a sudden one of their favorite arguments for government-run health care has become . . . U.S. corporate competitiveness (6/17).

Cut to Spend National Journal Online
The game is simple: Pretend to cut so you can spend (Rich Lowry, 6/16).

The Private Health Industry's Time Is Up The Christian Science Monitor
To me, the evidence is overwhelming that we must end the private insurance company domination of healthcare in our country and move toward a publicly funded, single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach (Bernie Sanders, 6/16).  

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