First Edition: November 28, 2011
In today's headlines, reports about President Barack Obama's pick to succeed Donald Berwick as chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as news about the Supreme Court's consideration of the health law and more on the nation's budget.
Kaiser Health News: Q &A (Video): My Daughter Is No Longer A Full-Time Student, Is She Still Covered?
KHN's "Insuring Your Health" columnist Michelle Andrews answers a question from a mother about a provision in the health law about extending coverage to children under the age of 26 (11/27).
Kaiser Health News: Tavenner To Replace Berwick At CMS Helm
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz report: "Marilyn Tavenner, who has an extensive health background as a nurse, a health care official at both the state and federal level and a hospital chain executive, was tapped by President Barack Obama Wednesday to succeed Dr. Donald M. Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services" (Carey and Galewitz, 11/23).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: The Other Shopping Spree: Medicare Deadline Looms
Now on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Capsules, Christian Torres reports: "Seniors have only two weeks left to choose a new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan, if they want to change from their current ones. Medicare's open enrollment deadline was pushed up this year, from Dec. 31 to Dec. 7, as part of the 2010 federal health law. The earlier deadline is meant to ensure that beneficiaries are properly enrolled and get their new membership cards by the start of the plan year Jan. 1" (updated 11/24). Check out what else is on the blog.
Kaiser Health News also tracked health policy headlines over the holiday weekend, including reports about the person tapped to be CMS' new leader, how super committee fallout could impact Medicare beneficiaries, the latest lobbying activity surrounding the health law and coverage of Medicare's doughnut hole.
The Washington Post: Health-Care Case Brings Fight Over Which Supreme Court Justices Should Decide It
Just a little more than an hour after some House Democrats recently demanded an inquiry into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's ethics, Senate Republicans stepped up the pressure on Justice Elena Kagan to take herself out of the court's decision on the health-care reform act (Barnes, 11/27).
Los Angeles Times: Decade-Old Tax Breaks Continue To Loom Over Budget
The battle over the Bush-era breaks will determine what happens to almost every part of the federal budget, including the spending cuts that are now mandated as a result of the "super committee's" failure and the long-term outlook for Medicare and other entitlement programs (Mascaro, 11/27).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Back On The Brink: Doctors Again Face Steep Medicare Cuts Unless Congress Acts Before Jan. 1
It's become a symbol of sorts for the federal government's budget dysfunction: Unless Congress acts before Jan. 1, doctors will again face steep Medicare cuts that threaten to undermine health care for millions of seniors and disabled people. This time it's a 27.4 percent cut (11/28).
The Washington Post: Nominee To Head Medicare Viewed As A Pragmatist
It is unclear what reception she will get in confirmation hearings. Republicans have reacted cautiously to her nomination. "This is a name that should be sent up to the Senate," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a vocal Berwick critic, said in an interview. "She should appear and answer our questions on her views on Medicare, Medi¬caid and the president's health-care law. Then people can make a reasoned judgment" (Kliff, 11/27).
Los Angeles Times: Taking Healthcare To Students
In California, there are 183 school health centers, up from 121 in 2004. Twelve more are expected to open by next summer, according to the California School Health Centers Assn. The centers have become a small but important part of the nation's healthcare safety net, experts say, treating low-income patients who might otherwise not have regular medical care. Now, they add, campus clinics are serving as a model for health officials trying to reduce costs (Gorman, 11/28).
Los Angeles Times: Consumer Advocate Harvey Rosenfield Takes On Health Insurers
Harvey Rosenfield, the combative attorney and consumer advocate who wrote California's landmark Proposition 103 more than two decades ago, is preparing a ballot initiative that would force health insurers to get state government approval before they could raise premiums (Lifsher, 11/26).
The Washington Post: New Jersey Nurses Charge Religious Discrimination Over Hospital Abortion Policy
In a lawsuit filed in federal court Oct. 31, 12 nurses charge that the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey violated state and federal laws by abruptly announcing in September that nurses would have to help with abortion patients before and after the procedure, reversing a long-standing policy exempting employees who refuse based on religious or moral objections (Stein, 11/27).
Los Angeles Times: Push For Hospitals To Buy New Defibrillators Criticized
Hospitals around the country have been spending millions of dollars to buy automated defibrillators to save the lives of more patients who go into sudden cardiac arrest. The purchases were spurred by a 2000 recommendation from an American Heart Assn. committee that said the equipment would bring patients speedier emergency medical help (Fowler, 11/28).
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