Viewpoints: Gov. Jindal Skeptical Of Navigators Program; Scare Tactics Against Obamacare Growing

Fox News: ObamaCare's 'Navigator' Program Ripe For Disaster
By August 15, the Obama administration is expected to spend $54 million of our tax dollars to hire community organizers to push this law on the American people. ... The 'navigators' will be required to take only 20 hours of online course training, which will apparently make them experts on the 1,000 page ObamaCare bill. An HHS official was even quoted this week saying, "We view training as an ongoing process." Count me as skeptical. To make matters worse, these 'navigators' are going to have access to all kinds of personal information that will make the whole program ripe for fraud (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 8/12).

Madison (Wis.) Capital Times: Plain Talk: Obamacare Lies Keep Getting Louder
Emails arrive almost daily now making completely erroneous and outrageous claims that the new national health law is somehow going to make you miserable. Just in the past few days, the mostly anonymous emails have claimed that if you go to the doctor for a test and it somehow gets messed up at the clinic, you can't get another one because Obamacare won't pay for it. Or if you need a pain medicine, all Obamacare will pay for is aspirin. Or if you're on Medicare, your benefits will be slashed and you won't be able to choose your doctor. This nonsense, in no small way fanned by the politicians who won't rest until they kill health care reform, resonates with all too many people who should know better (Dave Zweifel, 8/12).

The Washington Post's Right Turn: Better Than A Phony Shutdown Threat
Rather than engage in empty threats to shut down the government as some of Sen. Mitch McConnell's Republican colleagues are, the Senate minority leader is advancing a strong argument for Obamacare delay aimed at enticing Democrats to join in the effort. McConnell’s office explains in an e-mail that "Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General's report last week that said CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has missed multiple deadlines for testing and reporting data security risks in connection with signing up for insurance on the government's health care exchanges" (Jennifer Rubin, 8/12). 

California Healthline: How Will ACOs Share Liability Risk?
Like their predecessors in health care's parade of acronyms -- HMOs and MCOs -- ACOs will need to balance quality patient care with saving money. When that balance is questioned by consumers and inevitably by the courts, how, exactly, will the risk be shared? … We asked stakeholders what could or should be done at policy-making levels -- ranging from congressional and state legislatures to ACO leadership -- to encourage innovation while balancing quality of care and cost-effectiveness in ACOs (8/12).

Tampa Bay Times: Denying Health Coverage Isn't Progress
By refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Florida's Republican-controlled Legislature left a million poor residents without health care coverage and turned away billions in federal money. Senate President Don Gaetz sent a list of questions to the Obama administration this summer that ask for more flexibility and has not received a response. The administration should answer with a resounding "no," because states should not be given a loophole that allows them to deprive some needy residents of coverage (8/9).

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Says: Here's Your Health Insurance; Oops, Never Mind
Jennifer Frankenberg recently learned that she had been approved to receive much-needed health insurance from Anthem Blue Cross. She also learned that she'd been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions. All in the same day. On one level, this is a fairly routine story of corporate incompetence. But it's also a stark illustration of what's currently wrong with our healthcare system and some of the ways that the healthcare reform law, for all its imperfections, addresses these problems (David Lazarus, 8/12). 

Los Angeles Times: Raise The Cap On Malpractice Awards
For decades, advocates of tort reform have pushed to limit the amount that courts can award for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The California Legislature first capped this type of damages in medical malpractice lawsuits in 1975, and roughly half the states have followed California's lead. This summer, however, nearly 40 years after California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act first limited noneconomic damages in malpractice cases to $250,000, trial lawyers and consumer groups have unveiled a ballot initiative that would relax the cap considerably (Nora Freeman Engstrom and Robert L. Rabin, 8/13).

The Washington Post: Malaria Vaccine Shows Promise
When approached with the concept for producing the PfSPZ malaria vaccine , Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, thought it technically unfeasible. Actually, he called it "crazy." His skepticism was overcome in a stunning feat of biomedical engineering, offering the prospect of life and health for millions (Michael Gerson, 8/12). 

The Wall Street Journal: Take Two Photos And Call Me In The Morning
In studying the history of medicine, physicians honor major turning points in medical technology, such as Laennec's stethoscope in 1816 and Röntgen's radiograph X-ray in 1895. What goes unmentioned is that we are enjoying a golden age of palm-size iWonders. My own smartphone is stocked with apps that include complex pediatric dosing, advanced life-support algorithms for optimal resuscitation and specialized textbooks for late-night reading. Now there is even an app that lets doctors transform their cellphones into ultrasound machines. But the simple camera phone is epochal in that it puts the power—literally—into the hands of patients (Dr. Valerie Gribben, 8/12). 

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Competitive Bidding Is No Medicare Fix
Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) substituted its current pricing methodology with an unfair new process for setting prices known as "competitive bidding." The idea behind this policy is to lower costs and reduce fraud in the system, and these are commendable goals. But what resulted was bad public policy that not only fails to fix the problems it was meant to solve but also creates a host of new problems. I have been in the medical supply business for over 40 years, and never before have I seen a program that so dramatically threatens the ability of medical suppliers to meet the often-complex needs of our patients (John Teevan, 8/12).

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