Disputes Over ACO Rule, IPAB, MLR, Health Law Continue
Some hot topics -- the IPAB, the medical-loss ratio rule and the health law's impact on employer-sponsored health care -- also claim headlines today. Meanwhile, MinnPost analyzes executive orders - including a controversial one on health care - by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, now a GOP presidential candidate.
PBS NewsHour: Political Debate Over Accountable Care Organizations Heats Up
Ever since the federal government rolled out its proposed rules for setting up Accountable Care Organizations in March, it's been one piece of bad news after another for the Obama administration. Now comes another blow on the political front. Seven influential Republican senators wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Medicare Chief Dr. Don Berwick on Tuesday demanding that the proposed ACO rules be withdrawn (Bowser, 5/24).
CQ HealthBeat: Senate Republicans Echo Criticism of ACO Rule
"We have been struck by the increasingly diverse chorus of concerns many of our nation's leading health care institutions have raised in recent days about the proposed ACO regulation," wrote the senators - Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas, Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Pat Roberts of Kansas (Adams, 5/24).
Modern Healthcare: GOP Senators Want ACO Rules Rewritten
"An ACO model that can increase provider coordination and patient accountability would be a step in the right direction compared to today's fragmented delivery system," wrote the senators, including Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick (Daly, 5/24).
The Fiscal Times: Ryan Accuses Medicare Board of Intent to "Ration"
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Meet the Press last Sunday took a potshot at the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is the key cost control component of President Obama's health care reform law. ... But a group of more than 100 academic and think tank health care experts has rallied to the defense of the board, which won't swing into action until 2015. Their ranks include liberal economists like Brookings scholar Henry Aaron and Harvard's David Cutler, who was one of the architect's of the health care reform law. But they also include former Congressional Budget Office chief Alice Rivlin, who has her own version of a premium support plan, and Harvard's Joseph Newhouse, who has been a big booster of private insurance plans over the years (Goozner, 4/24).
Politico: Experts Defend Medicare Board
The economists and health care experts who signed the letter argued that the board will encourage providers to deliver health care more efficiently. "The IPAB is a tool designed to help the Congress slow the rapid projected increases in health care costs in the federal budget and to improve the delivery of health care," the group wrote in its May 20 letter (Kliff, 5/25).
CQ HealthBeat: Rockefeller Study Touts Benefits of Medical Loss Ratio Regulation
A provision on medical payouts in the health care overhaul is proving somewhat problematic given that it's prompted a parade of state officials to ask for waivers, arguing that their insurance markets would crumble if the new standards were imposed right away. ... Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV remains one of the fiercest defenders of the section of the law that requires health insurance companies to meet new medical loss ratios (MLRs) as of Jan. 1. And the West Virginia Democrat issued a study Tuesday emphasizing how much the provision will save consumers (Norman, 5/24).
Fox News: Will You Lose Your Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance In 2014?
Since Congress passed the federal health care reform package, debate has buzzed over whether employers will stop offering health insurance benefits in 2014, pushing their workers into the new health insurance exchanges. ... A recent study by the Urban Institute on employer-sponsored coverage under health reform concludes "reports of its demise are premature" (Marquand, 5/24).
MinnPost: What Do Pawlenty's Executive Orders Tell Us About His Executive Tendencies?
In contrast with many of his more routine orders, EO 10-12 relies largely upon Pawlenty's own assertions of executive authority. EO 10-12 orders state agencies to refrain from seeking grants for demonstration projects related to the implementation of President Barack Obama's health-care reform legislation. ... Written in strident prose, EO 10-12 states that Obama's health care plan " represents a dramatic attempt to assert federal command and control over this country's health care system thereby reducing individual freedom for health care decisions" (Ehling, 5/24).