A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.
Reuters: Rising Medicare Costs Leave Many U.S. Seniors With A Flat COLA
Millicent Graves will get a raise from Social Security next year, but her household budget will get worse, not better. The 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) announced by Social Security for 2018 last month will boost Graves’ monthly benefit by $20.70. But in reality, that increase will be wiped out by a higher Medicare Part B premium, which will be deducted from her Social Security benefit. (Mark Miller, 11/20)
Huffington Post: A Vote For The GOP Tax Bill Is A Vote To Cut Medicare
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the GOP tax bill will instantly trigger $400 billion in automatic cuts to Medicare in the next ten years, including $25 billion in the first year after enactment alone. These cuts are the result of a law known as Statutory PAYGO. That law requires an automatic cut in spending when Congress increases the deficit. … To be clear: If the tax bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Donald Trump, nothing more needs to be done to cut Medicare. If the House and Senate do nothing, the cuts take effect immediately after the end of the Congressional session and get bigger with every passing year. A vote for this tax bill is a vote to cut Medicare. (Nancy Altman and Linda Benesch, 11/20)
San Francisco Chronicle: Reform, Don’t Repeal, The Affordable Care Act
Republicans once again are trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act, this time by repealing the individual mandate as part of the Senate’s broader tax bill. In lieu of pushing for a repeal — which would do far more harm than good, given how many healthy people it would drive from the market — the GOP should implement what’s working in the states where Obamacare is successful. (Jennifer Fitzgerald, 11/20)
Modern Healthcare: While Axing The ACA Mandate, Why Not Replace It With A Different Coverage Incentive?
Healthcare industry groups and many policy experts warn that eliminating the law’s mandate will cause healthier people to drop coverage, driving up premiums, unraveling the individual insurance market and leading to more uncompensated care. So why don’t Republican and Democratic senators who are pushing legislation to stabilize the market add a replacement mechanism in their bill to prod consumers to buy and keep coverage? (Harris Meyer, 11/20)
Los Angeles Times: If You Think Mass Shootings Are Becoming More Frequent, And Worse — You’re Right
These days, it seems as if mass shootings in the U.S. are occurring with increasing frequency and producing ever higher death tolls. Did we say “seems”? Actually, that impression is the truth. William P. Gardner has compiled the data in graph form, and they show a distinct increase in the frequency of mass killings — or, to put it another way, a steady decrease in the number of days between mass shootings. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/20)
Arizona Republic: Court Saved Health Care For The Poor And Republicans Are Angry
The decision last week by the Arizona Supreme Court makes a bunch of current and former Republican lawmakers and their Scrooge-like lawyers at The Goldwater Institute VERY unhappy. They would have loved for the court to say that the state’s Medicaid expansion program is unconstitutional and should be dissolved. (EJ Montini, 11/20)
The Washington Post: When Nursing Homes Dump Some Patients To Make More Money
Often when I’m denying my kids something they want me to buy they will joke, “Can’t wait to put you in a nursing home.” To which I reply, “That’s why I’m saving for my own retirement.” But the fact is, I may need to live in a nursing home someday. And when I think of that possibility, the next question I fear: What if my stay is so long that I run out of money? The answer is I might be put out. And this is a national problem, according to AARP, which has become involved in a California case that is worth following. (Michelle Singletary, 11/20)
Sacramento Bee: Can Telemedicine Boost Medi-Cal Access?
If California doctors won’t take Medi-Cal patients, why not let out-of-state physicians provide services? Rents and salaries are lower in some states, which is why call centers are in the Midwest. (Shirley Svorny, 11/20)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.