IPAB Claims A Friend Within The GOP
During a break in a Thursday House subcommittee hearing on elements of the health law, Mark McClellan offered positive views of the IPAB. Also during the hearing, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius commented on how the reform law assists entitlement reform and gave her views on the measure's pre-existing condition program.
Politico Pro: IPAB Has At Least One Republican Friend
The IPAB has always been a central component of Obama's health care plan, but his mid-April deficit reduction package tasked the board with cutting hundreds of billions from Medicare. Many lawmakers are skeptical, saying the board's decisions could lead to rationing of some tests and procedures. [Mark] McClellan, chatting with POLITICO during a break in the action at the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing, disagrees. "We need a lot of good ideas from experts about ways to reform care. I don't think we can sustain the Medicare program just by squeezing down prices and not doing other things too," he said (Couglin, 5/6).
The Hill: Sebelius Says Reform Law Takes Steps Toward Entitlement Reform
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius framed controversial pieces of the new healthcare law as first steps toward entitlement reform as Republicans asked why the administration hasn't put forward more aggressive cuts. ... Sebelius said the panel represents "a big step in terms of entitlement reform that actually doesn't potentially cause harm to our seniors." She also noted an HHS effort to create new systems for dealing with people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Those patients represent a disproportionate share of the programs' costs (Baker, 5/5).
Modern Healthcare: Sebelius Vows To Boost Pre-Existing Conditions Program
A slow-starting insurance program for people with pre-existing conditions who have struggled to find health insurance has more than doubled in size since February but still lags far below early estimates. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that more than 18,000 have enrolled in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Sebelius promised additional efforts to grow the program more quickly. "For many, these plans provide access to life-saving treatment, so it is vital that we continue to find those eligible and get them enrolled," Sebelius said (Daly, 5/5).
Meanwhile, the federal health law and the Massachusetts state overhaul were topics of discussion during Thursday night's first GOP presidential debate.
Minnesota Public Radio: Pawlenty Scores Some Points In First GOP Debate
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty offered President Obama a little praise before burying him in criticism for his handling of foreign policy as he and four other likely Republican candidates for president met for the first debate of the 2012 primary season in Greenville, S.C. ... Pawlenty declined to criticize the absent Romney for implementing a state-sponsored health care plan in Massachusetts as governor and then ripping the Democratic-led federal health care overhaul, often seen as a larger-scale version of what Massachusetts did (Zdechlik, 5/6).