Today's Op-Eds: Congress Needs Conservative Leadership; Reviving Tort Reform; Can States Afford To Drop Medicaid?

112th Congress Needs Strong Conservative Leadership To Right Ship The Hill
Nothing has gone quite so awry as the massive, government-run Obama health program, and it is plain that the individual mandate, the employee mandate, the abortion funding, the tangle of outsider/insider councils like the comparative effectiveness board and the effective nationalization of healthcare under grants of authority to the Department of Health and Human Services — all that has to go (Rep. Joe Barton [R-Texas], 11/15).

Reviving Tort Reform Investor's Business Daily
Capping damages in medical malpractice cases isn't intended to be a punishment for plaintiffs' lawyers — though a good part of the country would like to penalize them. The goal is to cut the cost of health care by eliminating the need for defensive medicine and excessively high medical malpractice insurance premiums (11/15).

Cure Medicaid The (Scranton, Penn.) Times-Tribune.com 
Regardless of the actual misspent amount, it's vital that (Pennsylvania) get a better handle on Medicaid spending. The department and federal regulators should find the actual number and adjust accordingly (11/16).

Give Up Medicaid? Not Easily The Houston Chronicle
Don't believe Arizona? Listen to Wyoming. Its health department released a study in September, saying the "strain" of opting out of Medicaid without a solid replacement would be "truly immeasurable," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. It found that while some of those dropped might find coverage because of health reform, it wouldn't be affordable for many (Lisa Falkenberg, 11/15).

Can Texas Afford To Drop Out Of Medicaid? The (Fort Worth) Star-Telegram 
It will not be easy, or cheap, to balance the Texas budget. But I bet our leaders are smart enough to find responsible, compassionate and economically sound ways to address our budget shortfall; ways that do not severely dilute the healthcare program serving millions of our most vulnerable residents, the majority of whom are children (Richard Cole, 11/15).

Smoking, Eating And Drinking Our Way To Shorter Lives Indianapolis Star 
It appears people are collectively unwilling to do the simple things to live longer and healthier lives. And state and federal governments have not been willing to spend the money necessary to adequately fund the public health prevention and education programs to change our culture's unhealthy lifestyles (Dr. Richard Feldman, 11/15).

The Faces Behind Tobacco's Deadly Addiction The Washington Post
I have always wondered how anyone can work in the tobacco game. It's not that all the studies are not in and the verdict has not come down: Tobacco kills. Lung cancer will take about 157,000 American lives this year - good people, nice people, people like me, in fact, who started smoking to be cool and then found themselves addicted (Richard Cohen, 11/16).

Quality Of Health Care Loses In Washington Election The Bellingham Herald
The prospect for community health clinics and low-income people is pretty bleak. What will happen? Our experience shows that when kids lose their health coverage, they immediately start missing their well child check-ups and vaccinations. If adults lose coverage through the Basic Health Plan, they can't afford their medication and they're no longer able to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma (Sonia Garza, 11/15).

How Obamacare Burdens Already Strained State Budgets The Wall Street Journal
PPACA puts cash-strapped states in a tenuous position, forcing them into one or more unattractive policy choices: cut spending in crucial areas, such as public safety and education, to compensate for the additional health care costs, raise taxes to fund the new spending, or borrow money to pay the bill and sink further into debt (Lanhee Chen, 11/16).

Health Reform Helps Families The Wausau (Wis.) Daily Herald
When President Obama's health care bill passed we not only cheered, but wept tears of joy. Not for ourselves, as this help is too late for us -- our son is now an adult, living independently -- but for the families with young children who are unfortunate enough to have a chronic illness that requires lifelong medical care (Mike and Lee Shipway, 11/16).

AARP News You Can Use: Urge Congress To Stop Medicare Fraud The Daily Record
What we need Congress to do is to strengthen Medicare's ability to crack down on fraud and abuse. We need Congress to increase penalties on scam artists for fraud. We need Congress to work to shine a spotlight on crimes being committed against Medicare beneficiaries. Let's look to Congress to work together to save that $65 billion ... and stop the waste (Sy Larson, 11/15).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major 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.