KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Democrats Offer Alternative Mental Health Proposal

Many view the plan as controversial because it could hinder efforts toward bipartisan mental health reforms. Republicans offered their own measure about six months ago. In other congressional news, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who chairs the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, told hospital executives Tuesday that addressing the two-midnight rule is a high priority for him.   

Politico Pro: Fears Of Slowed Progress With New Mental Health Bill
A new mental health bill proposed Tuesday by a group of House Democrats is stoking fears that it could hinder progress toward bipartisan reform. While some advocates suggested the legislation could add to ideas already on the table from Republicans, others said they’re underwhelmed by the proposal and wonder why the Democrats felt a need to present it at all. And it was immediately blasted as a stripped-down, politically orchestrated effort by Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, the GOP’s champion of a sweeping mental health reform bill. The Democrats’ measure, led by Rep. Ron Barber of Arizona, comes six months after Murphy rolled out his far broader legislation (Cunningham, 5/6).

The Hill: House Dems Push Mental Health Alternative
House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled an alternative to a sweeping mental health overhaul from Republicans, further complicating a reform push that was already at risk of failing. The wide-ranging bill from Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) abandons a series of aggressive and controversial steps proposed by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) that are intended to empower family members coping with extreme cases of mental illness (Viebeck, 5/6).

Modern Healthcare:  Doc Fix, Two-Midnight Rule Remain High Priorities For Congress, Lawmaker Tells AHA
Finding a permanent fix to the Medicare payment formula for doctors remains a top priority for House Republicans, according to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who chairs a key health committee.  "We're working very hard toward a permanent solution," Brady said, speaking Tuesday at the American Hospital Association's annual membership meeting in Washington. "We hope sooner rather than later” (Demko, 5/6).

CQ Healthbeat:  Relief for Hospitals Pledged on Two-Midnight Rule
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee told hospital executives Tuesday that he plans an effort to shield their industry from the damaging effects of Medicare’s controversial “two-midnight” rule. “The time for regulatory relief to the two-midnight debacle is now,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Tex., told attendees at the American Hospital Association annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C. (Reichard, 5/6).

Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., introduces new legislation to encourage end-of-life planning --

Reuters:  Lawmakers Propose Incentives For End-of-life Planning
If you are one of the estimated 70 percent of Americans who have not documented your end-of-life healthcare preferences, Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma hopes a cash incentive will prompt you to do the paperwork. Under his newly introduced Medicare Choices Empowerment and Protection Act, seniors could pocket up to $75 for completing advance directives. Directives are written instructions in which people specify what healthcare actions should be taken if they cannot speak for themselves (Belisomo, 5/6).

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