Viewpoints: Shortsighted Fight Against Fund To Prevent Disease; Strengthening Regulators' Control Of Premium Increases

The New York Times: So Much For That Ounce Of Prevention
House Republicans are so bent on blocking any and all aspects of health care reform that they have passed a bill that would eliminate a farsighted program — the Prevention and Public Health Fund — intended to help states and communities prevent diseases. Eliminating the fund would save roughly $16 billion over the course of a decade. … The loss to states and local communities would be considerable (4/25).

Los Angeles Times: Watching The Health Insurers
Over the past year, two major health insurers in California have proposed eye-popping rate increases, only to settle for smaller hikes after a public outcry. Now lawmakers are considering a proposal to let state regulators block rate hikes they consider unreasonable, just as they can do for most other types of insurance (4/26).

Politico: Tea Party Vs. Affordable Health Care
What does the tea party have against helping small businesses find affordable health insurance for their employees? Tea party-linked groups have recently spiked legislation in three states that would have authorized federally funded planning to create health insurance exchanges. Activists successfully blocked the efforts of these GOP governors to explore market-based alternatives that would address the stubbornly high ranks of the uninsured in their states. In doing so, they blanketed Republican supporters of this exchange legislation with claims of complicity in the enforcement of "Obamacare." (Frank Micciche, 4/26)

Chicago Tribune: Back Off
Our guess is that members of the state health services review board are under the common but mistaken notion that this hospital system is ordained by law. We hope that they take a moment to read that 2007 state's attorney's opinion. It's a brisk history that traces how people — from 17th century England through 21st century Chicago — have grappled with the challenges of providing care to the poor. Along the way, Cook County absorbed responsibility for their hospital care. State regulators, you don't have a role in how Cook County meets that crucial need. Back off. Let the overhaul proceed (4/25).

The Detroit Free Press: New Prison Drug Policy Poses Health And Safety Risks
The Michigan Department of Corrections has rushed into another effort to save pennies while risking dollars -- and lives -- by switching to cheaper antipsychotic drugs for roughly 1,500 mentally ill prisoners suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, depression and other conditions. Corrections should push the pause button until further review by the Legislature and its Corrections Ombudsman Office. At least, the state should allow previous cases where brand meds are working effectively to continue (4/26).

San Jose Mercury News: Don't Let Congress End Support For Pediatrician Training
Today, we face the possibility that … children may not be able to obtain care due to an increasing shortage of pediatric specialists and subspecialists. For the past 12 years, Congress has provided strong bipartisan support for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Program, which supports physician training at children's hospitals and helps ensure an adequate supply of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. This year, however, President Barack Obama's proposed 2012 budget would eliminate funding for this training. The danger that this presents to America's children cannot be overstated (Christopher G. Dawes, 4/25).

The Seattle Times: Don't Let Federal And State Budget Crises Hurt Child Health Care
Our children did not create our budget problems and they have no say in how to solve them. So why should they be asked to bear the brunt of any proposed solution? We propose that our elected officials adopt a simple principle that we are confident an overwhelming majority of the people would support — that the health of innocent and vulnerable children will not be forced to pay the price of our budget choices (Jim Ladd and Tom Hansen, 4/25).

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