Loophole In Senate Bill Would Let Insurers Cap Payments For Costly DiseasesThe Associated Press: "A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates." An earlier version of the bill in a Senate committee forbid the practice, but a tweak would allow limits so long as they aren't "unreasonable" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/11).
The Washington Post: The paper's Federal Diary columnist examines how the proposal to allow the government to allow uninsured people to buy similar packages as federal employees receive could affect the Office of Personnel Management. "[W]ould those new duties change the character of the agency and affect its primary mission of serving federal employees? Those are not the kinds of questions easily dealt with in legislation" (Davidson, 12/11).
NPR: Unions are continuing to protest the proposed tax on "Cadillac" health plans in the Senate bill. "There's five other ways in the Senate and House bills to pay for health care in a fair way. There's one way that's unfair, and that's this excise tax that will break the backs of the health care for 30 million Americans over the next five years," said Larry Cohen, president of Communications Workers of America (Rovner, 12/11).
Associated Press: "Drug companies would no longer be able to mine pharmacy records to track which doctors are prescribing their medications, under a proposal unveiled Thursday by two Senate Democrats. The amendment to the Senate health care bill would effectively ban pharmaceutical data mining, the drug company practice of buying prescription records to target sales pitches to doctors" (Perrone, 12/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.