First Edition: June 7, 2012
Today's headlines include a report that some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are meeting to attempt to find ways to deal with an upcoming deadline -- Jan. 1 -- which is also known as the "fiscal cliff."
Kaiser Health News: Migrant Health Clinics Caught In Crossfire Of Immigration Debate
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in collaboration with USA Today, reports: "Such clinics, part of a 50-year-old federally funded program to treat migrant and seasonal farmworkers, have become the latest flash points in the national immigration debate. Health center officials across the country describe how local, state and national law enforcement authorities have staked out migrant clinics, detained staff members transporting patients to medical appointments and set up roadblocks near their facilities and health fairs as part of immigration crackdowns" (Galewitz, 6/6). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Medicaid Director Association Head: Uncertainty, Legislative Politics Have Slowed State Implementation (Video)
Kaiser Health News' Mary Agnes Carey talks to Andy Allison, Arkansas Medicaid director and president of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, who is adamant that cash-strapped states won't be able to do much to expand coverage to the uninsured if the Supreme Court strikes down the law. This interview is part of KHN's video series "Supreme Uncertainty: What's Next After The Court Rules," which solicits views from public officials and policy experts about the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on the health law and its implications for the future of health care (6/6). Watch the video or read the transcript.
Politico: Secret Talks Under Way About 'Fiscal Cliff'
The uptick in back-channel talks reflects a growing recognition that the differences over the intractable tax, deficit and entitlement issues must be narrowed ahead of November if there's any chance to meet a critical Jan. 1 deadline — the so-called fiscal cliff — when $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts take effect and Bush-era tax cuts expire on individual tax rates, capital gains and dividends. … Above all else, they say, these summer talks must be done secretly and never be made public for fear that any new proposals could get swept into the highly toxic partisan atmosphere ahead of a historic presidential election. The secret talks might allow Democrats to entertain deeper cuts to entitlements than they usually would, and Republicans could talk more candidly about increasing tax revenues (Raju, 6/6).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: June Cruel To Obama, Democrats, And It Could Get Worse With Health Care Ruling, Arizona Race
The political blows from Tuesday's bitter loss in Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall and from last week's abysmal unemployment numbers, bad as they were, could multiply before the month is out. The Supreme Court will pass judgment shortly on the president's signature legislative achievement — the 2010 law overhauling the nation's health care system — and also will decide on his administration's challenge to Arizona's tough immigration law. If Chief Justice John Roberts and the court strike down all or part of the health care law, it could demoralize Democrats who invested more than a year — and quite a few political careers — to secure the bill's passage (6/6).
USA Today: Groups Benefit From Campaigns' Focus On Women's Issues
Debates this year over contraception, federal funding for abortion services and Tuesday's Senate vote on equal pay for women have invigorated women's groups on the right and the left to try to sway the female vote (Kucinich, 6/6).
The Washington Post: House Panel Reviews VA Pharmaceutical Contracting Reforms
Reforms put in place by the Department of Veterans Affairs to prevent the routine purchase of pharmaceuticals in violation of federal contracting laws have improved the VA procurement system but failed to eliminate improper practices, according to congressional testimony Wednesday (Vogel, 6/7).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Insurer United Health's Board Approves More Than 30 Percent Increase In Quarterly Dividend
The largest U.S. health insurer authorized a quarterly payout of 21.25 cents per share on June 22 to shareholders of record as of June 15. That's up from the previous dividend of 16.25 cents per share for the Minnetonka, Minn., company (6/6).
The Associated Press/Chicago Tribune: AMA's Incoming President Predicts No Chaos If Supreme Court Rejects All Or Part Of Health Law
The incoming president of the American Medical Association says not to expect chaos if the U.S. Supreme Court rejects all or part of the sweeping federal health care law. Dr. Jeremy Lazarus takes over as AMA president later this month. He says he's not making any predictions on a high court decision, which also is expected this month (Tanner, 6/6).
The New York Times: New York Hospitals Look To Combine, Forming A Giant
Two of New York City's biggest hospital systems reached agreement on Wednesday to pursue a merger that would shake up the way medical care is delivered, especially in Manhattan, where hospitals compete to serve some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world (Hartocollis, 6/6).
The New York Times' City Room: At Belmont Clinic’s Doctor Gets Track Workers Back On Their Feet
As a general practitioner with a practice in Nassau County, Dr. Fredric Cogan was familiar with the usual flus, fevers and fractures his patients dealt with. But after taking over as the official doctor for backstretch workers at Belmont racetrack two years ago, he now specializes in a new list of ailments, like horse bites, rat bites and bedbug bites, not to mention the damage that can result from being hit by a thoroughbred swinging its head (Kilgannon, 6/6).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Idaho Doctor-Lawyer Granted Motion To Intervene In Lawsuit Over Abortion Laws
In a strategy legal experts say is unheard of, a southeastern Idaho lawyer who is also a physician will be allowed to intervene in a challenge to the state's so-called fetal pain abortion law in a case that could set national precedent (6/6).
The Wall Street Journal: Aid For Supportive Housing Boosted
The state has committed $75 million of funding for the first year to creating more supportive housing, which is expected to be paid for, in part, by Medicaid savings under an initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Kusisto, 6/6).
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