Viewpoints: The defeated Blunt Amendment, Obama's $100B Catholic hospital risk, fixing drug shortages

Published on March 3, 2012 at 2:01 AM · No Comments

The New York Times: A Bad Amendment Defeated
The amendment, which was attached to a highway bill, was defeated on a narrow 48-to-51 vote. But it showed once again how far from the mainstream Republicans have strayed in their relentless efforts to undermine the separation of church and state, deny women access to essential health services and tear apart President Obama's health care reform law (3/1).

The New York Times: The Unfinished Fight Over Contraception
Can we still be arguing about a woman's ability to control her own fertility? Almost 50 years ago in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court struck down state restrictions on contraception because they violated a right to privacy. But the issue has not gone away. Rick Santorum injected it into the presidential race by indicating that Griswold should be overturned so that states could ban contraception altogether. And the Senate just voted down a Republican effort to allow employers and health insurance companies to refuse coverage for contraceptives if they had moral or religious objections (Louise G. Trubek, 3/1). 

The Fiscal Times: Obama Risks $100 Billion If Catholic Hospitals Close
The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S ... If Obama insists on forcing the Catholic Church to fund and facilitate access to products and services they believe imperil their own souls and those of others, the bishops will simply stop employing people in these religious organizations – and once those doors close, they may never reopen (Edward Morrissey, 3/1).

Arizona Republic: Religious Health-Care Opt-Outs Are Dangerous
This isn't just about birth control. It's not only about women's health care, either. The Republicans' politically motivated campaign to play doctor could have enormous consequences for public health (Linda Valdez, 3/1).

Los Angeles Times: A Checkup On Americans' Views Of Health Care Reform
There's a lot of disinformation about the measure that President Obama signed into law almost two years ago, so a closer look at what it does and doesn't do is in order (David Lazarus, 3/2).

The Seattle Times: The GOP Muddle On Health Care Access For Millions Of Americans
GOP candidates want to scrap Obamacare with no substantive alternatives or solutions for problems of access, affordability and portability. They fantasize about health savings accounts that empower consumers to get the doctor on the phone and haggle over the cost of a colonoscopy or MRI (Lance Dickie, 3/1).

The Wall Street Journal: The Drug Shortage Debacle – And How To Fix It
Last week brought news of major shortages for two critical cancer drugs. Methotrexate is the essential treatment for one of the most common forms of pediatric leukemia, while Doxil is used to treat ovarian cancer and AIDS-related sarcoma. The shortages occurred when Benvenue, one of only four domestic suppliers, closed its plant because it could no longer guarantee product safety (Awi Federgruen, 3/1).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Many Ways Benefits Managers Help Pharmacies
Based here in St. Louis, Express Scripts is hired by more than 2,000 clients to help save money on prescription medicines by negotiating with pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers and by designing innovative programs to help people stay adherent to their treatment regimen. ... If you think McDonald's and Starbucks locations are ubiquitous, combined, there are only 24,000 of those in the United States, and there are more than twice as many pharmacies (Dr. Steve Miller, 2/29).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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