Today's OpEds: Extending Jobless Benefits; Medicare Payment Cuts; NY Times On Premium Increases

About Those Premiums The New York Times
With critics still scare-mongering about the supposed cost of reform, insurers in several states have been seeking double-digit premium increases that look hard to justify as necessary to keep up with medical inflation (6/22).

Extending Jobless Benefits Would be a Win-Win Cleveland Plain Dealer
Both houses need to pass this jobless-benefits extension -- by itself, if that's what it takes -- and do so right now. Until the economy begins generating jobs, the government cannot turn its back on those in the most peril (6/22).

Hatch A Plan to Repeal ObamaCare  National Review 
In a perfect world, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) would like to "fully repeal" Obamacare. … Last Thursday, to get the ball rolling, Hatch introduced two new repeal measures: One would repeal Obamacare's individual mandate, and the second would repeal the employer mandate (Robert Costa, 6/22).

The Biggest Issue For Small Business The Boston Globe
[Jon Hurst of the Retailers Associations of Massachusetts] maintains insurers are charging small enterprises more to make up for the lower rates large employers use their bargaining clout to secure. Thus the retailers want the ability to band together to buy health insurance. By pooling their employees, they think they'll be able to bargain for better rates (Scott Lehigh, 6/23).

The Long-Term Care Problem The Hartford Courant
Long-term care in an institutional setting for the numbers of people who seek it is simply too expensive. Unless the model of care changes, it will break the bank. … All that makes an argument for letting a targeted number of nursing homes close and for shifting spending to much less expensive home care (6/23).

More Efficiency At Higher Cost? The Orange County Register
State Senate Democrats have proposed a good idea – shifting some health, welfare and safety responsibilities from Sacramento to California's 58 counties. … Here's the rub: Even though the restructuring supposedly would save money by making government services more responsive and efficient, Democrats want to simultaneously increase taxes to give counties additional billions to pay for running the programs (6/22).

Medicare Cuts Will Affect Us All The [Palm Springs, Calif.] Desert Sun
While Congress recently passed the new health care reform bill, they failed to address the ongoing Medicare crisis. They also failed to explain who would pay the cost to add 30 million people to the system (Dr. Michael Gatto, 6/23).

Medicare Payment Problem Shows Need For Health Reforms York County (Maine) Journal Tribune
Doctors are facing a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments. It's the result of a cost-cutting formula that has been in effect since the 1990s, but routinely waived. … Medicare is expected to benefit from the increased revenue and greater efficiency promised by health care reform. The new approach should also protect it from becoming an unintended casualty of political infighting (6/22).

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