Viewpoints: Romney, Ryan rely on 'the magic asterisk'; Frightening voters over Medicare cuts

JAMA: The Republican Ticket: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, And The Magic Asterisk
The press has focused a lot on the similarities between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They are both technocratic, they espouse tax cuts, and they believe in a balanced budget. But there is a deeper similarity as well: they both believe deeply in the "magic asterisk." The magic asterisk was the invention of David Stockman, budget director to Ronald Reagan. Stockman, who needed to show a more favorable budget than the Reagan tax cuts would justify, put in an asterisk and noted "future savings to be identified." ... Since then, the magic asterisk has become a staple of budgets that don't add up and wishful economic thinking. What Stockman invented, however, Romney and Ryan have perfected (Cutler, 8/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Time To Get Serious On Medicare
In ads and stump speeches, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney shout that the other would "cut" the health insurance program for the elderly. What they don't talk about: In the quite-different budgets they have embraced, Messrs. Obama and Romney propose similar size "cuts" to Medicare. The difference-;and it is huge-;isn't how much they would spend on Medicare, but how they spend it. That difference risks getting lost in rhetoric that is aimed more at frightening voters than informing them (Wessel, 8/29).

The Seattle Times: Physicians Push For Health Care
Dr. Lisa Plymate is setting down her stethoscope to hit the streets with other doctors who believe their patients need more from them than a good examination. A small group of doctors from around the country is going to the Republican National Convention this week and the Democratic National Convention next week to advocate for affordable health care. ... [Sharon] Paige said, "What's important is that everyone comes to the table. If you disagree, let's just sit at the table and talk about the facts." That could be a good prescription for our unhealthy politics if only the patient would sit still and swallow a dose (Jerry Large, 8/29).

Philadelphia Inquirer: 'Legitimate' Worry: Abortion Rights Teeter On The Edge Of The GOP Platform
The firestorm following Akin's and Smith's remarks has shone a politically inconvenient light on the extreme anti-abortion position expressed in the party platform that was approved Tuesday at the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Fla. Like platforms going back several decades, it supports a "human-life amendment" that grants 14th Amendment "equal-protection" rights to fertilized eggs. It would outlaw all abortions, but also some forms of birth control, as well as in-vitro fertilization and stem-cell treatment. No wonder so many Republican political leaders are trying to pretend that the platform doesn't say what it clearly says (8/30).

Modern Healthcare: Will This (Medical-Home) Pilot Fly?
The 500 medical practices participating in the CMS Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative are going to be under a lot of pressure, as it is now up to them to prove that the patient-centered medical-home model works clinically and economically. Let's face it: Government-sponsored pilot programs and demonstration projects come and go (Robeznieks, 8/29).

The New York Times: An Uncontrollable Outbreak
The menace posed by germs resistant to powerful antibiotics was all too apparent when a deadly, drug-resistant form of pneumonia bacteria struck the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., last year. It infected 17 patients and killed 6 of them. This episode is especially chilling because the center is one of the nation's most sophisticated research hospitals (8/28).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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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