Viewpoints: Time To Confirm Tavenner; 'Self-Defeating' GOP Plan For Prevention Fund; Parents Need Insurance Too

The New York Times: A Confirmation Too Long Delayed
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a long-overdue vote on Tuesday on President Obama's nominee to lead the embattled agency responsible for overseeing Medicare, Medicaid and the implementation of health care reforms. The committee ought to set aside its deep partisan divisions and unanimously endorse Marilyn Tavenner to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The full Senate should then confirm her (4/22).

The Wall Street Journal: An Ounce Of ObamaCare Prevention
Congressional Republicans have mapped out another way to obstruct ObamaCare, thanks to the incompetence of its architects. It's a shame certain absolutists on the right are mounting another self-defeating rebellion in the name of the impossible (4/22).

JAMA Pediatrics: Medicaid Expansion: Good for Children, Their Parents, And Providers
Public insurance makes a real difference in the health of children. Those who are covered are significantly more likely to have a usual source of care than those who are uninsured, which is strongly associated with better outcomes. ... Although Medicaid and SCHIP do a reasonably good job of covering children and pregnant women, the programs have not been nearly as universal when it comes to adults. This is important because the insurance status of a parent can significantly effect the health of his or her child. Children with uninsured parents are significantly less likely to receive recommended health services, even if they themselves are covered (Aaron E. Carroll and Austin B. Frakt, 4/22).

Journal of the American Medical Association: Cost Consequences Of The 340B Drug Discount Program
Created in 1992, a little-known federal drug discount program called "340B" allowed a handful of hospitals that cared for the poor to obtain drugs for their patients at substantially reduced prices. Today, through a series of expansions, including some enumerated in the Affordable Care Act, numerous other types of entities such as community hospitals and cancer centers that serve both the poor and the well-insured can participate. ... The original intent of the 340B program was presumably to enable underfinanced care facilities to purchase drugs that would be used for the treatment of medically and financially vulnerable patients they served. The program does not require hospitals to only provide the discounted drugs to patients who are poor and in need, nor does it include a requirement that the savings on drugs be passed on to patients or insurers (Rena M. Conti and Peter B. Bach, 4/22).

Los Angeles Times: A Roadblock To Collecting Travel Insurance Benefits
Barbara Butkus bought an airline ticket in November to fly from Palm Springs to Washington, D.C., a month later for a family reunion. Just to be on the safe side, Butkus, 80, also bought travel insurance while booking her flight through Orbitz, the online travel agency. The coverage was from Allianz, a leading provider of travel insurance. As it happened, Butkus had to cancel her trip for health reasons. She began experiencing shortness of breath in early December, and her doctor advised her not to travel. Butkus filed a claim with Allianz for a refund of her $451.20 airline ticket. Allianz denied her claim last month, concluding that she had an existing medical condition when she bought her airline ticket (David Lazarus, 4/23).

Miami Herald: Aging In Place: A New Frontier In Housing
For many seniors, aging in place reflects an aspiration to remain supported by the same personal connections that have given meaning to their lives. It can also be the most financially sensible housing option for those seniors with the physical ability to remain at home. Unfortunately, many of today's homes and neighborhoods were designed at an earlier time before the unique needs of an aging population were even recognized. For many seniors, their homes — rental or owned — lack the necessary structural features and support systems. Likewise, many of our nation's communities fail to provide the services and amenities that would make aging in place a realistic choice (Henry Cisneros, 4/22).

Kansas City Star: Protect Developmental Disability Services In Kansas
My sister Liz is 49 years old and has Down syndrome. Since our parents died 33 years ago, Liz has been my responsibility and my joy. Today she lives in her own apartment and works at Heartstrings Community Foundation in Overland Park. With the Medicaid money allocated to Liz, we hire staff that helps her with daily living skills: cooking, shopping, paying bills and getting to doctors' appointments. Liz has accomplished amazing things with an IQ of 65, and she loves her life (Effie Bradley, 4/21).

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