KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate Sends FDA User Fee Bill To Obama; House GOP Putting Pressure On AARP

In rare show of bipartisanship, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the FDA measure. On the other side of the Capitol, top Republicans delved into whether AARP represented its members' interests when the lobby group for seniors supported the health law.

The Washington Post: Measure To Increase FDA Funds Through New Company Fees Goes To Obama
A measure that would generate $6 billion in fees over five years for the Food and Drug Administration is headed to President Obama for his signature after passing the Senate on Tuesday, a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation in a divided Congress (ElBoghdady, 6/26).

Politico: FDA User Fee Bill Passes Senate, 92-4
The Senate voted Tuesday to send the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act to President Barack Obama, in what's almost certain to be the last major health care legislation before the fall elections. The vote was 92-4 (Norman, 6/27).

The Associated Press: Congress Passes Bill Increasing Drug Inspections
A Food and Drug Administration bill designed to increase inspections of foreign drug factories, while also speeding approvals of new drugs at home, is headed to the president's desk after an overwhelming approval in the U.S. Senate. The Senate approved the must-pass piece of the legislation by a vote of 92-4, and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law within days (Perrone, 6/26).

Medscape: Senate Bill Uses ACA Savings To Block Medicare Pay Cut
Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, introduced legislation today to eliminate the 27% cut in payments for physicians who treat Medicare patients that is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013.  (The bill) would give doctors an annual cost-of-living pay raise of up to 3%. ... The Paul bill's estimated $440 billion cost over 10 years to eliminate the pay cut and increase Medicare reimbursement would be paid with approximately $1.7 trillion in savings over 10 years from repealing the Medicaid expansion and subsidy payments required by the Affordable Care Act, according to his spokeswoman (Jaffe, 6/26).

Meanwhile, Republicans in the House are focusing on AARP's role during the health care debate.

The Seattle Times: Dave Reichert Accuses AARP Of Misleading Congress On Health-Care Law
Did AARP executives mislead Congress when it said it supported the 2010 health-care law solely out of its members' best interest? Dave Reichert suspects so, and he's demanding answers. With the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act just days away, Reichert has accused the nation's leading advocacy group for older Americans of working with the Obama administration to pass the law despite opposition from a majority of its members (Song, 6/26).

CQ HealthBeat: Ways And Means Republicans Join In Pressing AARP On Health Care Law Support
Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee are joining their colleagues on Energy and Commerce in asking for answers from AARP about the seniors' group's actions during the debate over the health care law. In a letter sent Monday to AARP Chief Executive Barry Rand, Wally Herger of California and Dave Reichert of Washington said that in the past, Republicans have "engaged in an energetic and detailed discussion" with AARP about the group's support of proposals in the overhaul that would cut Medicare spending on providers. "When pressed about AARP's incongruous position, AARP argued that it was solely representing the interests of its members," said Herger, chairman of the Health Subcommittee, and Reichert (Norman, 6/26).

And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid objects to an effort by Sen. Paul to introduce an anti-abortion bill.

The Hill: Reid Vows To Block Vote On Paul's 'Life At Conception' Amendment To Flood Bill
An exasperated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that he would not allow a vote on an amendment clarifying that life begins at conception, which Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered to a flood insurance bill. Paul has been known to offer unrelated amendments to Senate bills throughout the 112th Congress, often frustrating Reid. On Tuesday morning, Reid indicated he has had enough, and said Republicans need to control Paul or run the risk that the flood bill might not go through as planned (Kasperowicz, 6/26).

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