It’s The Health Law’s Birthday And Not Everyone Is Celebrating
The health overhaul's first anniversary - just about a week away - is already being marked on Capitol Hill with a number of hearings and other events related to exploring, complimenting and criticizing the law's implementation. Meanwhile, Politico reports on what might be the sweeping measure's "next 1099" issue, The Hill reports that some Democrats are putting pressure on Republican lawmakers who accept federal health benefits to disclose that they accept this government-subsidized coverage, and Modern Healthcare reports on how Democrats are "hailing" new drug price information as a positive response to the health law.
The Hill: This Week: Reform Anniversary Approaches
The one-year anniversary of the health care reform law is fast approaching, giving both supporters and critics a high-profile opportunity to debate the impact of the overhaul. The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday holds a hearing on lessons learned during the first year of the law's implementation. That hearing will feature testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will explore how states have moved forward on implementing health insurance exchanges and other parts of the reform law. Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative groups is hosting a pizza party in the Capitol Visitor Center Monday to hash out their opposition to the law (Millman, 3/14).
The New York Times Prescriptions Blog: This Week's Health Industry News
Expect the talk in Washington about the federal health care law to intensify as we approach the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act next week. Congress is holding several hearings, including the Senate Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss "Health Reform: Lessons Learned During the First Year" (Abelson, 3/14).
National Journal: Senate Budget Panel To Eye Medicare Vouchers, Medicaid Reform
The Senate Budget Committee will take a look at some policies to save money on Tuesday, including proposals that would turn part of Medicare into a voucher program and redefine Washington's relationship with the states under Medicaid. The panel will hear testimony from its former chairman, retired Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and former Clinton White House budget chief Alice Rivlin, both now at the Bipartisan Policy Center, who say they have found $756 billion in savings from health care as part of their budget-cutting proposal released in November (DoBias, 3/14).
National Journal: House Oversight Panel Tackles Health Law Waivers
The House Oversight and Government Reform Health Subcommittee will take a closer look at waivers under the health care reform law on Tuesday, examining how the Obama administration has used them for some employers. The waivers - temporary changes for states, employers, or companies in the year-old law - have become a political flash point, with Republicans using them to argue that the law is not working and should be repealed (McCarthy, 3/14).
Modern Healthcare: Dems Hail Reform's Impact On Drug Costs
The price index for a group of 100 commonly used prescription drugs increased at an average annual rate of 6.6 percent from 2006 through the first quarter of 2010, compared with an average increase of 3.8 percent in the medical consumer price index, which measures the costs of medical goods and services, according to a new Government Accountability Office audit. Prescription drug spending in 2009 was about $250 billion, of which $78 billion, or 31 percent, was spent by the federal government, the GAO found. The report also noted that "some media reports suggested that prescription drug prices may have increased more during the debate leading up to passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" compared with recent years, but the report's findings showed that the increase in the price index from the first quarter of 2009 through the first quarter of 2010 - before the bill passed - was 5.9 percent, which was less than the increase in the two prior years, but still higher than in 2006 (Zigmond, 3/14).
Politico: Health Broker Bill Is Looming As The Next 1099
Legislators and lobbyists are eyeing a bill supporting health insurance brokers as the next health reform tweak that, after the 1099 repeal, has a fighting shot at passing (Kliff, 3/15).
The Hill: Dems Put More Pressure On GOP Lawmakers With Federal Health Care
Supporters of the Democrats' health care reform law are calling on all lawmakers to disclose whether they receive congressional health benefits, part of an ongoing effort to portray Republican opponents as hypocrites for receiving government-subsidized care. A handful of House Democrats are backing a resolution that would require all members of Congress to disclose whether they receive health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. A number of high-profile Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, and progressive groups have routinely hammered House Republicans for accepting government health benefits while opposing the reform law (Millman, 3/14).