Viewpoints: Hoping that 'Gang of Six' will cut fiscal deal; Sen. Alexander links health law and college tuition increases

Published on June 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM · No Comments

Los Angeles Times: Fiscal Cliff Looming, The 'Gang Of Six' Rides Again
The public has a famously low opinion of Congress, even though people tend to hold a less disparaging view of their own representatives. The last two years have been especially tough on the institution's reputation, a response to the body's relentless brinkmanship and paralyzing partisanship in the face of a slow economy. So it is with some trepidation that I throw out a little love for a handful of senators still seeking bipartisan agreement on a plan to bring the federal government back to fiscal responsibility (Jon Healey, 6/9).

Politico: The Lethal Linkage Of Medicaid Costs And Tuition
What the president needs to tell students is that his own health care policies are the principal reason that tuition and student debt are rising. Medicaid mandates on states are soaking up dollars that would otherwise be spent on state universities and community colleges, forcing up tuition and resulting in more student loans and debt. Even worse, the federal government is trying to make a profit by overcharging students on their current loans and using part of the profit to pay for the new health care law. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this takeover produced approximately $61 billion for the government -; $8.7 billion of which went to pay for the new health care law (Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., 6/10).

Reuters: Secret Emails Show Romney's Approval Of Health Mandate
If the U.S. Supreme Court decides later this month that President Obama's healthcare plan is unconstitutional, most Republicans will be rejoicing. But none more so than Mitt Romney, who has made revoking the Affordable Care Act a principal plank of his platform. The Court will have saved him from having to explain an embarrassing batch of recently discovered confidential emails from the time he was governor of Massachusetts (Nicholas Wapshott, 6/8).

Boston Globe: Supreme Court Sows Distrust With Justices' Political Activity
Later this month, the Supreme Court will rule on President Obama's health care plan. One side or the other in this politically charged case is bound to be frustrated. But the air of crisis awaiting the court's decision, the expectation that it will spark a furor, owes less to the case than to an erosion of faith in the court. … the ultimate blame rests with the justices themselves. Protected by lifetime tenure, many have chosen to enter the political fray rather than insulate themselves from it (6/11).

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court Just Says No To Political Bribery
The justices refused to hear the appeal of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, who was convicted of reappointing a healthcare executive named Richard Scrushy to a state hospital board as a reward for Scrushy's $500,000 contribution to a campaign fund backing a statewide lottery to fund education (6/10).

The New York Times: Room For Debate: Fewer Prescriptions For A.D.H.D., Less Drug Abuse?
Stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin can be life-changing for young people with attention disorders, but raise alarms when taken by healthy teenagers who are just looking for an academic edge (6/9).

Des Moines Register: Why The Big Gulp Ban Is A Bad Idea
New York City's plan to prohibit the sale of large, sugary soft drinks is a brave and provocative policy, one that promotes public health at minimal cost to New York City residents. As a physician who has written extensively about the unconscious forces that cause people to overeat, I believe that local and federal governments need to enact bold initiatives to combat our nation's obesity epidemic. Unfortunately, the Big Gulp ban is a bad idea (Dr. Peter Ubel, 6/10).

USA Today: Bloomberg Right That Portion Control Works
New York City has bravely taken the lead on a national epidemic. The city's proposal to limit the size of sugar-sweetened beverages opens the door to one of the most important solutions to address obesity: portion control (Deborah Cohen, 6/10).

CNN: Health Bans And 'Sin Taxes' Can Easily Backfire
Autocratically imposing public health measures rather than persuading people of their worth can easily backfire. Reducing the high intake of sugary drinks is a laudable goal, but should it be a priority, and if so, is this the best way to pursue it? No, and no (Harriet A. Washington, 6/8).

Arizona Republic: No Applause For The Governor Until Kids Get Insured
The new partnership between the state, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Maricopa Integrated Health System and the University of Arizona Health Network, which is bringing in federal matching dollars and allowing KidsCare to expand, is a great development. It will get about 21,700 more kids into the program. I applaud these health-care providers for stepping up for Arizona's communities. Unfortunately, it won't fill the gaping hole left by the state's refusal to meet its obligation to working families. This is why I'm holding my applause for Gov. Brewer and her "tea party" legislative allies (Chad Campbell, 6/10).

The Seattle Times: Komen For The Cure Got The Message; Time To Forgive And Move On
It's time to forgive Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The half-million dollar drop in donations and the 40 percent decrease in participants in this year's local Race for the Cure made the point: Don't mix politics with philanthropy. Now it's time to move on (6/8).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: New Public Health School Could Have a Big Impact
We've long believed that Wisconsin needed its own free-standing public health school -- centered in Milwaukee -- to both train the next generation of public health workers and to conduct research aimed at some of the city's most difficult health problems…. After years of advocacy on behalf of the school, it was stirring to see its doors officially open last week. But better still will be to see a new generation of health care workers trained and to see research that begins to address some of Milwaukee's toughest health care challenges (6/9).

Detroit Free Press: Mentally Ill, Chronically Homeless
Even the most sequestered suburbanite visiting downtown Detroit can see that cuts in mental health services have pushed mentally ill people onto the street. … Nearly 20,000 of Michigan's 100,000 homeless people live in Detroit. An increasing number of them -- at least a third -- are mentally ill and untreated. With the uncertainties and disruptions of street life, they face enormous difficulties in managing the medications and medical appointments needed to control their illnesses and maintain their health (Jeff Geritt, 6/10).

iWatch News: Insurers Falsely Claimed Young People Were Uninsured By Choice, Don't Believe It
In 2007, a few months before I left the health insurance industry, I was tasked to write a "white paper" designed to help convince media folks and politicians that the problem of the uninsured wasn't much of a problem after all. If demographic data was sliced just so, I was expected to write, it was easy to conclude that many of the uninsured -; some 46 million at the time -; were that way by choice. … Having to write that paper was one of the reasons I resigned (Wendell Potter, 6/11).


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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