KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Capitol Hill Health Policy News: Fact-Checking Pelosi On Medicare; Senior GOP Health Adviser To Leave House; Redefining Rural Doctor Access

A selection of stories revolving around Capitol Hill, including an effort to expand mental health care.

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: Nancy Pelosi's Claim That The GOP Would Raid Medicare For Tax Cuts
We are reluctant to re-litigate the rhetoric of the 2012 presidential campaign, but this comment by Rep. Nancy Pelosi about the House GOP budget jumped out at us. We had frequently written during the campaign about the misleading claim by Mitt Romney that President Obama had gutted more than $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. And yet here was Pelosi claiming Republicans had used the "same money" to fund a tax cut, compared to Democrats, who she said had used the $700 billion to "increase benefits to seniors" (Kessler, 1/10).

The Hill: Mont. Senators Challenge HHS Redefining 'Frontier'
Montana Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D) have asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reconsider its decision to change the definition of "frontier" from population density to a community's distance from a major city. The senators sent a letter to HHS’s Office of Rural Health Policy on Monday explaining how the change would negatively affect small towns in rural areas get access to doctors and services. ... Rural areas receive grants from HHS to fund community health centers in lower-populated places — Tester and Baucus fear that a change in the definition of "frontier and remote" could mean less money for communities in their state (Cox, 1/9).

The Associated Press: Al Franken Seeks To Expand Mental Health Care
Federal funding for mental health programs in prisons and jails would expand under a bill unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Al Franken. The Minnesota Democrat's bill would continue federal funding for courts that divert the mentally ill from prison into treatment and increase training for police officers in handling people with mental health issues (1/9).

Politico Pro: Cohen Leaves House Post To Open Consulting Firm
A top Republican health care policy expert on Capitol Hill is leaving his position with plans to open a new health care consulting business. Howard Cohen, chief health counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, left the Hill on December 31, he told POLITICO. Cohen, who worked on Energy and Commerce for two years, following a 10-year stint on the Hill in the 1990s, said he's looking forward to working on health care policy from a wider perspective, including from the states and industry (Haberkorn, 1/9).

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