The Fiscal Times: The Unmentioned Option to Curb Health Care Costs
Congressional Budget Office chief Doug Elmendorf dropped a bombshell on his Director's Blog this morning: federal spending on all health care programs will exceed $1 trillion this year. But when he turned to spelling out options for trimming that figure in the years ahead, he offered a limited and not very satisfying menu of choices, all of which involved doing less or charging people more. Why not do more with less, which is how most industries other than health care have operated over the last few generations? (Merrill Goozner, 4/19).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: A Thinly Disguised Assault On Medicare
Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to make Medicare a voucher program is extremely unlikely to be enacted. But Ryan (R., Wis.) and his fellow Republicans aren't hoping to win a legislative battle over Medicare or Medicaid this year. Rather, they're trying to shift the debate over the programs in favor of their ideology. ... One problem with the voucher proposal is that, like the proposal to start Medicare eligibility at age 67 instead of 65, it confuses controlling the cost of medical care with controlling the cost of Medicare (Theodore R. Marmor and Jerry L. Mashaw, 4/19).
The Hill: Obama's Medicare Hypocrisy
Piously posturing as the savior of Medicare, President Obama lashed out at the House Republicans for embracing the budget proposed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). But a comparison of the president's own plans for Medicare with those in the Ryan budget shows that the Democratic cuts are far more immediate and drastic than anything in the GOP proposal. While the Republican Medicare changes only take effect in 2021, Obama's cuts will begin hurting seniors right away (Dick Morris, 4/19).
Des Moines Register: Can't Have It Both Ways On Medicare
Much debate in Washington is over how to control costs and pay for the entitlement going forward. Yet Rep. Tom Latham is sponsoring legislation to ensure Medicare pays for stays in nursing homes when patients are transferred from a hospital. Right now, seniors may have to pick up the cost. The Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2011 is endorsed by just about everyone. It's another example of lawmakers trying to have it both ways: giving to seniors with one hand and cutting with the other (4/19).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota Can Lead On Health Exchange
Instead, obstructing or ignoring this key pillar of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- exchanges allow comparison-shopping for medical insurance -- would simply mean that the federal government will dictate a one-size-fits-all exchange two years from now. ... Delusions about defying "Obamacare" have contributed mightily to dithering this session on legislation needed to create a governance framework for a state-run exchange (4/19).
Concord Monitor: We Need ObamaCare Plan B
While I and others across the county and in Washington continue to work toward the repeal of this federal legislation, ... I believe we should take advantage of available federal planning grant funds - provided absolutely no strings are attached - to meet the requirements of ObamaCare in the event repeal attempts prove unsuccessful. This is why I've advocated accepting a $666,000 federal grant to study the establishment of a health insurance exchange here in the Granite State (State Senator Ray White, R-NH, 4/20).
Arizona Daily Republic: Measures Keep Arizonans In Health Care Driver's Seat
Critics falsely claim that the bill will get rid of Arizona health-insurance mandates. Arizona currently has 33 mandates, and SB 1593 does not repeal a single one. What the bill will do is give Arizona citizens the ability to choose which of the 50 state-benefit mandate packages they want (Nancy Barto, 4/20).
The Kansas City Star: KC Area Must Prepare For Challenges Of An Aging Population
Kansas City is particularly unprepared for the demographic "pig in the python" of the aging baby boomers. The reasons can be boiled down to this: We're spread out, meaning too car-centric, meaning not only that we age with less exercise but that once we can no longer drive, we're trapped in homes that are too far from needed services such as grocers and doctors (4/19).
Los Angeles Times: Early Retirement May Be Hazardous To Your Health
As a geriatrician, I've come to believe that working longer is generally a good thing. Most people just plain do better, both intellectually and physically, when they continue to work. I've observed many times that mature patients who quit working — whether they have been laid off or retired voluntarily — are likely to gain weight, become hypertensive and even develop depression (Dr. Katherine Schlaerth, 4/20).
The Kansas City Star: Politicizing Abortion Piles Pain On The Suffering
I have followed with interest the legislative debates surrounding Kansas House Bill 2218, which places new restrictions on women seeking abortion. Based on family experience, these additional restrictions are a disservice to women undergoing a problematic pregnancy. ... I am further saddened that Gov. Sam Brownback did not take families facing difficult pregnancies into consideration when he signed HB 2218 into law (Phillip Wood, 4/19).
The Boston Globe: On Teen Sex, 'Practical' Goes Awry
A school abdicates its responsibility and squanders an important teaching moment when it transmits a blasé "it's-okay-just-use-a-condom" signal, behaving as if it either doesn't know or doesn't care about the many destructive physical and psychological forces that scar kids venturing prematurely into this complex arena (Frank L. McNamara Jr., 4/20).
This 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.