Viewpoints: Dragging the 'C word' -- cost -- out of hiding; Elton John on discrimination against state prisoners with HIV

Published on September 18, 2012 at 6:06 AM · No Comments

The New York Times: Beyond Obamacare
We need death panels. Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently -- rationing, by its proper name -- the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget (Steven Rattner, 9/16).

Contra Costa Times/Oakland Tribune: Nation Needs To Talk Wisely And Calmly About Health Care Costs
A new movement is afoot in health care to drag the "C word" (cost) out of hiding. For years, it's been shrinking behind bullying words like "death panels" and "rationing" all the while it's been claiming a greater presence in conversations at the kitchen table and in the Oval Office. Families intimately experience the onerous burdens of health care costs, the country suffers the price tag, and 99 percent of us could probably talk about it more rationally and freely if the overriding narrative about cost was not owned by politicians and corporations. A new analysis by the esteemed Institute of Medicine reveals that fully 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care is squandered (Dr. Kate Scannell, 9/15).

The New York Times/Bloomberg: Letter From Washington: What Is Romney's Tax Plan?
In U.S. national politics, Republicans flourish when the focus is on tax cuts; they suffer when Medicare is the focus. It looks like it'll be different this year. Mitt Romney has proposed huge tax cuts that principally benefit the wealthy, while refusing to say how he would pay for them by closing unspecified loopholes. This lacks credibility and may become one of the rare tax-cut promises that is a political loser (Albert R. Hunt, 9/16).

Raleigh News And Observer/McClatchy: The Return Of 'Massachusetts Mitt'?
Anyone who watched Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention could have, or should have, anyway, predicted that although the former Massachusetts governor was walking tall on a rough-and-tough tea party carpet during his primary campaign, he'd eventually come back to the polished liberal hardwood underneath. So now, with Romney's remarks in an interview that well sir, he might just keep some of Obamacare in place, the public is starting to get a glimpse of the hardwood. Oh, advisers immediately started backing up, but it was too late. Uh, oh (Jim Jenkins, 9/16).

The New York Times: Room For Debate: Getting Your Prescriptions, Without A Prescription
More Americans will have health coverage as the Affordable Care Act takes effect, which some analysts fear could lead to a shortage of physicians. One solution could be to eliminate unnecessary visits to the doctor, like for patients who just need a maintenance medication. Should more prescription drugs be made available over the counter? How should regulators decide which drugs to approve, and which to keep restricted? (9/16).

The Washington Post: The Price Paid By HIV-Positive Prisoners
If you want to know what it was like to live with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, state prisons in Alabama or South Carolina in 2012 offer some tragic examples. In the '80s, people infected with the AIDS virus faced horrendous, daily discrimination and injustice. Today, Alabama and South Carolina are blatantly and dangerously discriminating against HIV-positive prisoners. It's a policy that simply makes no sense (Sir Elton John, 9/16).

USA Today: Under ObamaCare, 3.6 Million More People Insured
Amid this week's otherwise dreary Census report on poverty and income comes this bit of good news: The number and percentage of people with health insurance grew last year. About 3.6 million more people were insured in 2011 than in 2010. The percentage of those with coverage rose from 83.7 percent to 84.3 percent. ... At the very least, these numbers suggest that politicians demanding the repeal of the law come up with what they have not so far: an alternative comprehensive enough to address the problem of the uninsured (9/16).

The Baltimore Sun: Women Have Pivotal Role In Health Reform
With the exciting news that Maryland has received a new federal grant of $123 million to support the establishment of its health benefit exchange -- a critical component of President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- we must continue to use smart strategies to guarantee that as many uninsured Marylanders as possible get the health security the law is designed to provide (Leni Preston, 9/16).

Health Affairs: Rising Executive Compensation At Children's Hospitals Threatens The Public
Freestanding children's hospitals (FCHs) are reporting record profits and paying their executives millions, all while soliciting for community donations. FCHs have an opportunity to be leaders in healthcare by adopting new standards of transparency and new guidelines for executive salaries, while addressing rising costs and aggressively pursuing innovation in patient safety. If they do not enact these reforms, Congress should reconsider the not-for-profit status of these institutions and the large government subsidies they receive (Martin Makary, 9/14).

Los Angeles Times: Prop. 37: Another Example Of The Perils Of The Initiative Process
There's scant science and much nonsense in the debate over Propositon 37, would require some food sold in California and produced via genetic engineering to be labeled as such (Michael Hiltzik, 9/16). 


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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