KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Today’s Opinions: More On The Massachusetts Experience And California’s Rate Hikes

The Massachusetts Health-Care 'Train Wreck' The Wall Street Journal
As events are now unfolding, the Massachusetts plan couldn't be a more damning indictment of ObamaCare. The state's universal health-care prototype is growing more dysfunctional by the day, which is the inevitable result of a health system dominated by politics (Joseph Rago, 7/7).

California Can Stop Outrageous Insurance Hikes San Jose Mercury News
Most estimates put the expected increase in medical costs at around 10 percent this year, which is bad enough. So when Anthem Blue Cross announced a 39 percent increase in its California rates in February, the howls of protest reached the halls of Congress, where the outrage helped the cause of national health care reform. And in Sacramento, lawmakers began talking about regulating health insurance rates the same way we do car insurance (7/6).

Cutting Doctors' Fees Doesn't Always Save Money St. Louis Today
There's a substantial body of evidence to show that when physician fees are cut, the number of tests and treatments ordered by doctors increases. In other words, the government might control prices, but physicians control demand. That doesn't necessarily mean it will be impossible to get health care spending under control. It does illustrate how difficult that will be (7/6).

Extend Jobless Benefits, Bolster Medicaid The [Springfield, Ill.] State Journal-Register
While there have been signs that the economy is improving, there are plenty of indicators that the recovery will be slow and painful. Congress needs to continue to take steps to ensure there is a safety net for the unemployed by extending unemployment benefits and Medicaid aid to state governments (7/7).

Restoring Health To Health Reform The Journal of the American Medical Association
The public health system is badly frayed and needs to be rebuilt structurally and redesigned conceptually. Public health departments lack modern information technology, surveillance capacity, a well-trained workforce, and a clear vision of their essential role. … Leadership is needed to define the optimal mission, size, scale, and geographic area of local departments; the skills required of public health professionals; the services that must remain a governmental responsibility; and the relative roles of local, state, and federal agencies (Peter Jacobson and Lawrence Gostin, 7/7).

Clinic Cutbacks Cost Broader Community The [Fort Myers, Fla.] News Press
The closure of one health clinic in Lee County's poorest neighborhood and the cutback in hours of another could increase health care costs and add to the crowding at hospital emergency rooms. That makes restoring these services a high community priority (7/7).

Angel Of Mercy For Health Care Glendale (Calif.) News Press
[Robert] Issai was elected to the Catholic Health Assn. of the U.S. Board of Trustees June 15. … Issai will now be responsible for overseeing more than 600 U.S. hospitals under the Catholic Health Assn. of the United States, one of the largest groups of nonprofit hospitals in the country (7/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.