A Selection Of Today's Opinions: Health Reform May Help Obama's Reputation Abroad; Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic; Medicaid Spending

Everybody Loves A Winner The New York Times
The president got health care reform passed, and it may turn out to be his single most important foreign policy achievement. ... Have no illusions, the rest of the world was watching our health care debate very closely, waiting to see who would be the strong horse — Obama or his Democratic and Republican health care opponents? At every turn in the debate, America's enemies and rivals were gauging what the outcome might mean for their own ability to push around an untested U.S. president (Thomas L. Friedman, 4/20).

The Quiet Epidemic The Baltimore Sun
There isn't much attention paid to prescription drug abuse, except perhaps when a Hollywood star dies from an overdose. However, it is estimated that nearly one in five Americans has used prescription drugs for nonmedicinal reasons, and 15 percent may be abusing prescription drugs. This silent epidemic has become the leading cause of addiction (Nancy Rosen-Cohen, 4/21).

Health Care Bill Will Strain Ohio's Budget Ironton Tribune
The health care bill may be budget-neutral for the federal government, but it is not budget-neutral for the state of Ohio. While there are noble goals driving the health care effort in Washington, D.C., I believe the plan carries a number of unfair consequences for state and local governments, Ohio businesses and individuals (John A. Carey, 4/20).

Reform Medicaid, Carefully Orlando Sentinel
Take the temperature of Medicaid spending in Florida, and it's easy to see the patient is not well. The annual cost of the health-care program for the poor and disabled has doubled in the past decade to $18 billion, more than a quarter of the state budget. It's on track to eat up a third of the budget by 2014. Legislators need to do something — stat (4/21).

The Cost Of Medicaid Expansion Mother Jones
I got an email a few days ago asking whether the Medicaid expansion included in the healthcare reform bill would blow up state Medicaid budgets (Kevin Drum, 4/20).

Health Care Reform And Massachusetts The New York Times
Massachusetts's experience offers some useful lessons for the national reform effort. That begins with the fact that once citizens have near-universal coverage, they like it — no matter what current polls and politicians may say. And while the federal reform law is confronting the cost problem from the start with a slew of pilot projects to determine what works best, the administration and Congress will need to press hard to expand every promising approach (4/21).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.