KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Health Law In ‘Red And Blue’ States; OpEds Slam Obama Compromise On Birth Control; Illinois’ Medicaid Disaster

Politico: The Health Care Law In Red And Blue
[M]ore than one in six Americans younger than 65 could have access to help with their health insurance costs as a result of the [health] law. Red and blue congressional districts look remarkably similar here. Republican districts have, on average, an estimated 18 percent of the nonelderly people eligible for help with health insurance costs under the reform law. Democratic districts have about the same, 17 percent (Larry Levitt, Drew Altman and Gary Claxton, 2/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Birth-Control Mandate: Unconstitutional And Illegal
In an effort to rally its base in the upcoming November election, the Obama administration seems more interested in punishing religiously based opposition to contraception and abortion than in marginally increasing access to contraception services. ... the birth-control mandate violates both statutory law and the Constitution. The fact that the administration promulgated it so flippantly, without seriously engaging on these issues, underscores how little it cares about either  (David B. Rivkin Jr. and Edward Whelan, 2/14).

Boston Globe: On Birth Control, Obama Imperiously Overreaches
On the same day the White House announced its "full accommodation," it formally adopted — without change — the very regulation that had triggered the backlash. The compromise turned out to be merely a promise to modify the new rule before it goes into effect next year (Jeff Jacoby, 2/15).

The Fiscal Times: How Obamacare Reignited the Culture Wars
The mainstream press keeps telling us that the struggle of Catholics v. Obamacare  is about birth control. ... [But] it’s also about the “morning after” pill and sterilization, and down the road it will be about suicide pills, genetic engineering, abortion and mandatory abortion training, transgender operations, and a whole new series of morally problematic procedures about to come over the horizon (John Leo, 2/14).

Chicago Tribune: Free Health Care? That's Rich
The "accommodation" -- the White House rightly refuses to call it a compromise -- is a farce. If you're paying for health insurance -- or if you self-insure, as many institutions do -- shifting responsibilities to the insurance companies doesn't shift the costs, just the paperwork. A Catholic hospital would still pay for the services; there just wouldn't be a line item for it in the monthly insurance bill. That's not accommodation; that's laundering (Jonah Goldberg, 2/15).

Denver Post: Obama's Contraception Compromise Rings Hollow
Most media coverage of the rule requiring religious institutions to offer contraception coverage has focused exclusively on objections of the Catholic Church. To some extent this is natural, given the church's size. ... Yet this selective focus overlooks the fact that the administration's rule also offends religious outfits that have no problem with contraception per se (Vincent Carroll, 2/15).

Arizona Republic: Are Bishops Being Hypocrites?
A hospital is not a church. Particularly a hospital that treats patients of all different faiths, employs people of different faiths and accepts taxpayer money. A hospital like that is a business, and should be required to follow the same requirements of any other business that so happily accepts government funds (E.J. Montini, 2/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Bone-Headed On Bone Marrow 
Recently, the Justice Department asked the full circuit to overturn the unanimous and enlightened decision of a three-judge panel allowing bone marrow donors to be compensated for their donations. ... The pilot program is a sensible effort to adapt an outdated law and encourage donations that can save thousands of lives (2/15).

The Dallas Morning News: Parkland Consultants' Report Is A Scathing Indictment
If Parkland Memorial Hospital weren’t so essential to the health and well being of so many, it might matter less that it’s falling so far short of a minimum standard of safe, quality care. … The only possible cure lies in a radical, top-to-bottom rededication to quality and safety from every person who forms this vital institution (2/14).

Chicago Tribune: Illinois To Feds: Enough!
Illinois officials have been pleading with the Obama administration for almost a year to let the state protect itself from Medicaid fraud. Amazingly, the administration has turned its back on the state. ... Federal health care changes envision a lot more people coming on to Medicaid in the years ahead. If the administration doesn't care if the people on Medicaid qualify for it, this is a recipe for disaster (2/15).

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