KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Lawmakers Focus On Tavenner Nomination, Doc Fix, Medicaid Costs

News outlets covered a variety of Medicare and Medicaid news, including prospects for Marilyn Tavenner to be confirmed as head of CMS.

Roll Call: Medicare Agency Nominee Likely To Face Health Care Law Questioning
Marilyn Tavenner has another shot to be confirmed as leader of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but getting there will require defending the 2010 health care law to Senate Republicans. Tavenner is the acting administrator of the agency, which has not had a confirmed leader in seven years (Ethridge, 2/8). 

The Hill: Wyden Says He Has No Plans To Again Take Up Medicare Reform With Paul Ryan
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has no plans to partner with Rep. Paul Ryan on a new Medicare reform bill, the senator has told The Hill. The two lawmakers made waves in 2011 with a bipartisan proposal that infuriated Democrats and later inspired Mitt Romney's healthcare plan (Viebeck, 2/10).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ On Medicare Doctor Pay: Why Is It So Hard To Fix?
While physicians have sidestepped drastic Medicare payment cuts for 2013, doctors' groups and lawmakers are gearing up for yet another battle to scrap the formula that forces Congress to consider the 'doc fix' on a yearly basis. For doctors, the nail-biter has become a familiar but frustrating rite. Lawmakers invariably defer the cuts prescribed by a 1997 reimbursement formula, which everyone agrees is broken beyond repair. ... Here are some answers to frequently-asked questions about the doc fix (Carey, 2/10).

Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy news headlines, including reports about what Democratic and Republican congressional leaders said on the Sunday talk shows about Medicare and the nation's spending (2/10).

The Hill: Advocates Say GOP Proposal Would Ration Medicaid For Kids
A Republican proposal to reform Medicaid would ration care for one-third of U.S. kids, advocates said Friday.  First Focus, a bipartisan group, responded to the idea of per-capita Medicaid caps floated by Senate Finance Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) (Viebeck, 2/8).

CQ Healthbeat: Advocacy Group Argues Against Medicaid Per-Capita Limits
The report contains no new statistics but lays out the group’s reasons for opposing a change. Advocates may use the analysis as a lobbying tool. The group said such a system would shift costs from the federal government to the states and patients. ... A per-capita grant program also would probably require more investments to create stronger oversight to make sure that states did not game the new system, said the analysis (Adams, 2/8).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.