The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 22, 2013

Getting to 'yes' in health care

Getting to ‘yes’ in health care

House Republicans voted for the 41st time to repeal or dismantle parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And no, the 42nd time is not going to be the charm.

What exactly is the Republican endgame? Initially, it may have been about what House Speaker John Boehner calls the “optics”: allowing newly elected members to cast a symbolic vote on the law. Now they just look like spoilers.

Republicans do have a plan, even though you may not have heard about it. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., has introduced H.R. 2300, the Empowering Patients First Act. Under Price’s plan, Americans would own their coverage, taking it with them when they change jobs. It would level the playing field by offering individuals a tax deduction, in addition to a refundable tax credit, for purchasing insurance. It would save billions of dollars by addressing lawsuit abuse, freeing doctors from practicing defensive medicine. And yes, it would repeal Obamacare. The American public needs to hear more about the alternatives, about “replace” rather than “repeal.”

With less than two weeks to go before the insurance exchanges kick in and the federal government’s spending authority runs out, the study committee has just unveiled its own alternative to Obamacare. It’s a bit late, but maybe the “Party of No” is starting to focus on “Getting to Yes”?

Caroline Baum, Bloomberg News

Serious war on child obesity

This month — National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month — has brought more evidence that obesity in youngsters leads to health problems throughout life. A study overseen by Sara Watson of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University, which has tracked more than 1,000 adolescents from Indianapolis since 1986, found that 26 percent of those who were obese when they were young had high blood pressure in adulthood. Yet only 6 percent of normal-weight children wound up with high blood pressure when they grew up.

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