The Washington Post's The Plum Line: The GOP Repeal Trap
The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, Indiana, reports on a fascinating exchange between GOP Rep. Marlin Stutzman and a local meat market owner, Lee Albright, who likes the Affordable Care Act and quizzed the Congressman about the real world implications of the GOP repeal stance (Greg Sargent, 12/18).
The Wall Street Journal: National Lampoon's ObamaCare Vacation
President Obama has responded to the ObamaCare debacle by bringing in Beltway liberal mastermind John Podesta as a senior West Wing hand, and he promptly announced his arrival by likening House Republicans to "a cult worthy of Jonestown" in an interview with Politico. The states running their own insurance exchanges are exacting more accountability for their ObamaCare failures. Enrollment and technical dysfunctions and security breaches akin to the 36 federal exchanges continue to beset Minnesota's operation, called MNsure. On Tuesday, April Todd-Malmlov, the exchange's executive director since 2011, resigned under political duress (12/18).
Politico: Pajama Boy, An Insufferable Man-Child
Pajama Boy's place in Internet infamy was secured as soon as the insufferable man-child was tweeted out by Organizing for America. He is the face of a web ad that is the latest effort by the Obama team to leverage the holidays for conversation about Obamacare. "Wear pajamas," the ad reads. "Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance. #GetTalking." ... If he has anything to say about it, Obamacare enrollments will spike in the next few weeks in Williamsburg and Ann Arbor (Rich Lowry, 12/18).
Bloomberg: Conservatives See the Light On High Deductibles
The revelation that many plans in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges have high deductibles has put many of the law's conservative opponents into a corner: Once in favor of high deductibles, these critics of Obamacare are suddenly worried about the risk to consumers. The data show why their new position makes more sense (Aaron Carroll, 12/18).
The Fiscal Times: The Obamacare 'Shotgun Wedding' – Marry Or Lose Your Home
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has provided many real-world examples of this, but perhaps none so "unintended" as the consequences discovered by the Seattle Times this weekend. Carol Ostrom, The Times' health reporter, told the story of 62-year-old newlyweds Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, who weren't exactly the models of wild, starry-eyed romantics. Their nuptials were motivated by a stronger desire to keep their house out of the hands of the federal government, thanks to a little-known key provision of Obamacare. Their meager incomes made them eligible for a federally subsidized health plan, and their assets would be protected. Does Obamacare actually allow the federal government to seize homes and other assets? (Edward Morrissey, 12/19).
Fox News: Republicans Can Win In 2014 If We Unite Around ObamaCare
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." Abraham Lincoln originally spoke these prophetic words in 1858 when describing the looming threat of the Civil War. Today, we Republicans should heed this warning as we look ahead to the challenges of the future – both for our Party and the country we all love. At this moment in time, the American people overwhelmingly agree with Republicans on the fundamental issue of next year's elections: ObamaCare (Scott Brown, 12/18).
And on other issues -
The New York Times: An Epidemic Of Attention Deficit Disorder
The hard-sell campaign by drug companies to drive up diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D., and sales of drugs to treat it is disturbing. The campaign focused initially on children but is now turning toward adults, who provide a potentially larger market (12/18).
Los Angeles Times: Are Catholic Hospitals Bad For Women's Health? ACLU Says Yes.
A word of caution: If you are a woman of child-bearing age, Catholic hospitals may be hazardous to your health. Why? Because Catholic-affiliated hospitals, which now account for one of every nine acute-care hospital beds in the country, aren't allowed to provide the medically accepted standard of care if it conflicts with Catholic teachings (Robin Abcarian, 12/18).
Roll Call: Congress Must Address The Long-Term Care Workforce
Direct-care work is undervalued and underpaid, in large part because these jobs are considered "low skill" and are performed primarily by a female workforce, more than half of whom are women of color. But ask any individual who needs personal care services -; or their family members -; and you are likely to find that the most valued person on the care team is the aide. ... Fortunately, the Commission on Long-Term Care's majority and minority reports included a number of recommendations that Congress should get behind to build a 21st-century, direct-care workforce: better training and opportunities for career advancement; rate setting policies that guarantee wages sufficient to attract committed workers and reduce turnover; integration of direct-care workers into care teams; and improved data collection to inform policy decisions (Jodi M. Sturgeon, 12/18).
New England Journal of Medicine: Accelerating The Adoption of High-Value Primary Care -; A New Provider Type Under Medicare?
Although the proposed Medicare physician payment reform is an important step in the right direction, we believe that a bolder approach is needed to accelerate the adoption of [advanced primary care practice] APCP. We propose that Medicare adopt APCP as a new provider category, with its own eligibility standards and accountability for performance on patient outcomes, care, and resource use, linked to a new payment approach (Dr. Richard J. Baron and Karen Davis, 12/18).
New England Journal of Medicine: Political Tug-of-War and Pediatric Residency Funding
One of many effects of the government shutdown was the defunding of the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) Payment Program. ... With this year's CHGME funding appropriation far from certain, pediatric residents and fellows are being paid out of clinical and other reallocated revenue -; which undoubtedly creates pressures in other parts of the children's health care system. Though this stopgap measure helps to continue the training of pediatricians and the care of their patients, we hope that in the future, GME funding can avoid being caught in this type of political tug-of-war (Drs. Charlene A. Wong, Jeremiah C. Davis, David A. Asch and Richard P. Shugerman, 12/19).
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.