KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Efforts To Reach Fiscal Deal Gain Momentum

Some Capitol Hill lawmakers are increasingly pushing to find a way to avert a fiscal crisis. Also in the news from Congress, Republicans continue their investigation of the White House's negotiations with health care interest groups during the health law debate in 2009.   

The New York Times: Push For A Fiscal Pact Picks Up Speed, And Power
The hunt for a way to avert a crisis appears to be quickening -- and, significantly, it now includes the people who might be able to make it happen. Senators who have been working fruitlessly on a budget deal since 2010, as the so-called Gang of Eight, say their efforts will get nowhere without help from Congressional leaders, especially the committee chairmen with the expertise to draft legislation. Those people are starting to come on board (Weisman, 6/10).

Reuters: Republicans Probe White House Health Care Ties To Groups
Republican lawmakers accused the White House on Friday of working closely with special-interest groups to win public support for President Barack Obama's health care reforms in 2009, a charge Democrats quickly dismissed as a widely known fact. … A probe by Republicans in the House of Representatives unearthed a series of emails linking the White House staff to a decision by the pharmaceutical industry's main trade group to funnel nearly $70 million in advertising money into two third-party groups (6/8).

The Hill: Republicans Hit White House Over Role In Ads Supporting Health Care Bill
The White House was heavily involved in shaping ads that outside groups ran in support of health care reform, House Republicans said Friday. Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee have been investigating a 2009 agreement in which the pharmaceutical industry agreed to help pay for the health care bill and run ads supporting it. Democrats agreed not to purse certain policies that industry opposed. The committee's investigation has produced very little new information about the deal with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), but Republicans are nevertheless rehashing the issue as they try to stoke public opposition to the health care law (Baker, 6/8).

Finally, two bills, one related to medical radiology and the other dealing with abortion in immigration detention facilities, draw headlines --

McClatchy Newspapers: Bill Seeks To Reduce Errors In Medical Radiology
A bipartisan bill working its way through the House of Representatives would create a set of uniform standards for the radiologic technicians who treat patients with cancer and illnesses. Right now, 11 states and the District of Columbia only have voluntary education and training standards for the technicians who handle medical imaging equipment. In another 16 states, inexperienced people can administer the radiation therapy that treats cancer, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, which testified at a House hearing Friday (McGinnis, 6/8).

The Hill: House Bars Abortions For Women In Immigration Detention Facilities
The House approved language Friday to bar women in immigration detention facilities from receiving abortions in most cases. Planned Parenthood and other groups slammed the language, included in a $46 billion bill to fund the Homeland Security Department, saying it was unnecessary. Republicans have said they wanted to make U.S. policy toward detention camps consistent with U.S. policy toward prisons, which already forbid most abortions for inmates. The spending bill was approved along party lines Thursday and has little chance of surviving in the Senate (Viebeck, 6/8).

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