Opinion writers offer their analysis of the ongoing debate on Capitol Hill and across the country over health care reforms and issues.
The New York Times:
Don’t Assume That Private Insurance Is Better Than Medicaid
As we recently wrote, it’s better for patients to have Medicaid than to be uninsured, contrary to critics of the program. But is having Medicaid, as those critics also say, much worse than having private insurance? This idea has become a talking point for conservatives who back big changes to Medicaid, as the Senate health bill proposes. The poor would benefit simply by being ushered off Medicaid and onto private insurance, they write. (Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt, 7/12)
The Washington Post:
Republicans Trying To Destroy Medicaid Have Only Made It Stronger. Take Note, Democrats.
This debate over health care has educated the entire country about what Medicaid does. The prospect of millions losing their coverage has helped make the Republican health-care bill the most unpopular piece of legislation in recorded history, with polls showing it supported by as little as 12 percent of the public. … The disaster of the Republican plan has opened the door for Democrats to advocate for more sweeping change to the health-care system in order to cover everyone and rein in costs. And the next wave of Democratic proposals is unlikely to center on complex, technocratic fixes to the existing system the way the ACA was. (Paul Waldman, 7/11)
New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Medicaid Expansion Is Key To Healthier Louisiana
Almost 22 percent of Louisiana residents had no health insurance in 2013. Today, that number has fallen to 12.7 percent, according to state statistics. That is a dramatic change and could be transformative for people who are newly insured. The main reason for the improvement in coverage, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday, is that more people here have access to Medicaid. … U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy should think of those Louisianians as they consider health care legislation proposed to replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. (7/12)
Frontline Caregivers Predict Tragedy In Senate’s Proposed Medicaid Cuts
Frontline healthcare workers in South Florida are performing their jobs in fear. Doctors, nurses, nursing-home staff and other dedicated caregivers are in distress over the GOP’s healthcare plan that will make Miami Ground Zero for lost coverage and Trumpcare tragedy. In particular, the proposed $800 billion Medicaid cut will deliver special pain to local seniors, children, disabled, veterans, and many others. In Florida, almost 4 million residents are enrolled in Medicaid, 60 percent of whom are children. More than 60 percent of long-term care and nursing-home costs are covered by the program; and 675,000 elderly Floridians rely on Medicaid supplements to their Medicare coverage. (Monica Russo, 7/10)
Don’t Skip The Recess, Skip The Games
The reality, of course, is that it’s not Democrats slowing down progress on the health care bill, but Republicans, whose wildly diverse state populations are leading them to have wildly diverse reactions to the legislation that came over from the House in June. More broadly, the hurdle to moving legislation through the Senate right now also has nothing to do with how many days they’re in session. Instead, it has everything to do with what the Senate is doing (or not doing) while they’re in session. (Patricia Murphy, 7/12)
Consumer Not King – Rand Paul’s Association Plans Worsen Protections
In a recent press conference and op-ed “Make the consumer king” in the Courier-Journal, Sen. Rand Paul proposed expanding the “association health plan” (AHP) provision in the Senate health repeal bill, claiming it would help ensure “every Kentuckian” can have “good, inexpensive coverage” and protections like those for pre-existing conditions. In fact, his proposal would create a race to the bottom on such protections that would worsen problems with affordability and leave more Kentuckians at risk in plans that do not cover the treatments they need for better health. (Ashley Spalding, 7/10)
Jeff Flake Trades Sick People For Votes
[Sen. Jeff] Flake says he now backs an amendment by Sen. Ted Cruz that is meant to rescue the Republican replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act… Cruelty to our most vulnerable brothers and sisters apparently is considered a necessary position for any candidate hoping to win the Republican senatorial primary in Arizona in 2018, a sad and sorry situation if true. (EJ Montini, 7/11)
The Des Moines Register:
Health Care Fixes Both Republicans And Democrats Could Stomach
Can Obamacare be killed by Republicans and fixed by Democrats simultaneously? Both parties seem intent on avoiding that fate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warns his Republican colleagues that they may be forced to work with his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. (Arthur Garson Jr., 7/11)
The Kansas City Star:
When Will The Senate Really Get To Work On Health Care?
We look forward to the day when the U.S. Senate finally turns its attention to health care. And no, we’re not talking about the current Republican bill beloved by next to no one. That’s for good reason. It’s a deceptively named tax cut that would solve exactly none of the current system’s problems, but would be quite effective if the goal were to make a flawed health care system far worse. So by all means, vote that hodge-podge of bad ideas down, and never look back. (7/10)
The Associated Press:
Death As A Social Privilege? How Aid-In-Dying Laws May Be Revealing A New Health Care Divide
The California Department of Public Health has just released a report that detailed the number of terminally ill patients over the past year who took advantage of the California End-of-Life Options Act (EOLA), a law that allows certain patients to request a lethal dose of medication to end their lives. This report comes a year after EOLA went into effect on June 9, 2016. (Jill D. Weinberg, 7/11)
The Charlotte Observer:
Denial No Longer An Option At Mecklenburg Health Department
Serious and widespread problems have festered in Mecklenburg County’s Health Department for far too long, and plenty of people share the blame. But now county commissioners and County Manager Dena Diorio have an opportunity to make things right. Commissioners meet Tuesday to discuss internal and external reports that detail troubles within the department that have directly affected the quality of patient care. They and Diorio should use this opportunity not to be defensive or continue their political sniping, but to get serious about fixing one of local government’s most essential functions. (7/10)
Nurse Practitioners Essential In Combatting Opioid Epidemic
Last year, 1 out of every 3 American adults was given a prescription for opioid painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone or morphine to manage pain. For anyone suffering from intense pain, these medications are a critical component of care, but they don’t come without serious risk. (David Herbert, 7/12)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.