KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Legislation News: Obama Promises To Veto Anti-Abortion Bill

The House is expected to pass an abortion-related bill today, but like other similar legislation, it is not likely to make progress in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Meanwhile, a number of other health-related measures and subjects are moving on both sides of the Capitol, including a rural health proposal and another related to a health tax credit aimed at easing the contractor tax compliance burden. Lastly, two Senate Democrats expressed concerns about the Prevention Trust Fund's advisory panel.

Politico: House Takes Up Abortion As 2012 Field Steers Clear
The Republican-controlled House is about to wade back into the controversial issue of abortion  Thursday, even as the party's presidential candidates largely avoid the issue. The relative silence of the Republican candidates is mostly a sign that they're all committed to anti-abortion positions, not that they don't care about the issue, anti-abortion groups say (Haberkorn, 10/12).

National Journal: Obama Promises To Veto Abortion Bill
President Obama threatened on Wednesday to veto any bill that would restrict insurers from paying for abortions, saying it goes too far. Longstanding federal policy prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered," the White House said in a statement. "The Affordable Care Act preserved this prohibition and included policies to ensure that federal funding is segregated from any private dollars used to fund abortions for which federal funding is prohibited." The House is scheduled to take up the bill on Thursday. This bill, like the other antiabortion legislation passed earlier this year, will almost certainly pass the House but won't get anywhere in the Democratic–controlled Senate (McCarthy, 10/13).

Modern Healthcare: Bill Aims to Bolster Rural Provider Payments
A bipartisan group of four senators introduced a rural health bill that aims to boost or maintain payments to rural hospitals, physicians and other providers in various ways, according to an e-mailed news release from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act would increase payments to hospitals with a disproportionate share of Medicare and Medicaid patients; increase payments to rural hospitals that have a low volume of discharges; and extend a 10 percent bonus payment to physicians who practice in a health professional shortage area, among other changes, according to the release (Barr, 10/12).

Modern Healthcare: Two Senate Democrats Rip White House Over Concerns About Prevention Health Fund, Advisory Panel
Two leading Senate Democrats on health care policy blasted the Obama administration Wednesday for slow-walking membership to a new advisory group and for aiming to slice off chunks of a $15 billion prevention health fund. During a Wednesday hearing on chronic-disease prevention, Democrats repeatedly highlighted challenges faced by the Prevention and Public Health Fund since it was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One problem, Democrats said, is that the administration has offered few nominees or proposed nominees to fill the panel that advises HHS on how to spend the fund's monies (Daly, 10/12).

Bloomberg: House Considers Health Tax Credit To Ease Contractor Tax Compliance Burden
Social Security recipients would have more difficulty obtaining subsidized health insurance under legislation that the House Ways and Means Committee is due to approve today. … The health bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Diane Black of Tennessee, would change the definition of income used to calculate eligibility for Medicaid or health insurance subsidies under the 2010 health care law. Taxpayers would be required to include in their income Social Security benefits that are typically excluded from taxable income (Rubin, 10/13).

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