First Edition: June 14, 2012
Today's headlines include reports about how the pending Supreme Court decision is being viewed by investors, and the latest from the campaign trail.
Kaiser Health News: AdvaMed's Nexon: Expect More Health Cost Reduction Pressure (Video)
In this Kaiser Health News video, David Nexon, a top health care advisor to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, says that no matter what, tremendous pressure to reduce spending will continue to push lawmakers to find ways to control health care costs (6/14). 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. Watch the video.
Kaiser Health News: Team USA Goes For The Gold – And For Electronic Records
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christian Torres reports: "The U.S. Olympic Committee is digitizing health records this month for the athletes who will be competing in London, as well as for about 3,000 other athletes who have been seen by USOC doctors in recent years. Some say this step is a sign that electronic medical records have made it to the big time" (Torres, 6/13). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Q & A: How Are Retired Military Personnel Affected By The Health Law? (Video)
Kaiser Health News' "Insuring Your Health" columnist Michelle Andrews answers that question from a reader, noting that the Affordable Care Act does affect some retired members of the military over age 65 (6/14). Watch the video.
Kaiser Health News: Romney Outlines How He Would 'Replace Obamacare'
This Kaiser Health News video clip offers highlights of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's Tuesday speech. Romney doesn't usually talk about health care in his campaign stump speeches. But at Con-Air Industries in Orlando, Florida, he blasted the 2010 federal health law and outlined what he would do if elected president (6/13). Watch the video or read the transcript.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Doctors Admit To Unprofessional Behavior In Study At 3 Chicago Hospitals
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jordan Rau reports: "Working in a real hospital isn't usually as dramatic as is portrayed in TV shows like Grey's Anatomy or House, MD, but a new study has identified unprofessional behaviors to which hospital-based doctors most frequently admit, including badmouthing fellow doctors and finding medical excuses to get out of having to care for patients" (Rau, 6/13). Check out what else is on the blog.
The Wall Street Journal: Republicans See Advantages In Go-Slow Approach On Bills
Democrats accuse GOP leaders of deliberately dragging their feet on legislation that might help the economy, as it might also boost President Barack Obama's re-election prospects. Republican leaders deny that. They blame Democrats for blocking GOP efforts to extend tax cuts and avert scheduled military spending cuts. Indeed, senior Democrats have political reasons of their own to avoid compromise on major budget issues before the election: They don't want to undercut their ability to make a campaign issue of Republicans' support for curbing the growth of Medicare and other popular entitlement programs (Hook, 6/13).
Reuters/Chicago Tribune: Analysis: Investors Plot Hedges For Healthcare Law Ruling
Investors could be excused for avoiding health insurance and hospital stocks as a U.S. Supreme Court decision nears on President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul law - an outcome that could send the companies' shares down 10 percent or more. Aside from an educated guess, little real analysis can predict a ruling that has at least a half-dozen possible results for a law that affects wide swathes of the healthcare industry (Krauskopf, 6/13).
The New York Times: How Broccoli Landed On Supreme Court Menu
Since then broccoli has captured the public imagination and become the defining symbol for what may be the most important Supreme Court ruling in decades, one that is expected any day and could narrow the established limits of federal power and even overturn the legal underpinnings of the New Deal. If the court strikes down the health care law — which many constitutional experts on both the right and left long doubted it would do — many lawyers say they believe one reason may be the role of broccoli in shaping the debate (Stewart, 6/13).
The New York Times' Caucus Blog: Budget Office Director Says Health Law Hasn't Hit Economy
As a Supreme Court ruling on the health care law nears, theories abound as to what the economic effects of the court's decision will be. On Wednesday, Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, wasn't eager to enter that fray – but he disputed the view pushed mostly by Republicans that the health care law has, to this point, hurt employment (Berg, 6/13).
The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Dueling Speeches, Big Day: Obama, Romney In Ohio
Obama will probably pound on the second-term economic vision he began laying out months ago. He will lay out a jobs plan of spending tax money on education, energy, science and innovation and transportation; cutting the debt by reducing spending elsewhere and raising taxes on the wealthy; and taking on the nation's loophole-loaded tax code to make it fairer. Romney will talk about cutting regulation and spending, overhauling the tax system, doing away with Obama's health care overhaul and supporting a major oil pipeline known as Keystone XL. Setting his own expectations for Obama, Romney told donors in Cincinnati: "He'll speak with great rhetoric and eloquence. But actions and records speak a heck of a lot louder than words" (6/14).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Barber's Win In Arizona Cheers Dems; GOP Says It Shows Obama's Weaknesses
Based on recent precedent, Democrat Ron Barber's special election triumph in a Republican-heavy Arizona congressional district portends little or nothing about the outcome of this fall's battle for control of the House. That didn't stop either party from posting rival claims: Democrats cast the race as a referendum on Republican proposals for Social Security and Medicare. Republicans stressed that Barber's victory came after he emphasized his differences with President Barack Obama on health care and other issues (6/13).
The Wall Street Journal: GOP Scrambles After Aide To Giffords Wins Special Vote
Late Tuesday night, Democratic leaders issued a memo saying the Barber win holds "important lessons" for other elections. The "election was a referendum on Republicans' policy of cutting Medicare and privatizing Social Security to give tax breaks to millionaires," the memo said. Republicans countered that the outcome was heavily influenced by Ms. Giffords' popularity after she survived a bullet wound to her head during a mass-shooting last year. Mr. Barber was also injured in the shooting, in which six people died (Audi, 6/13).
Los Angeles Times: Are Catholic Bishops Abandoning Nonpartisanship In Contraception Battle?
Now, some Catholics are beginning to wonder out loud whether the bishops have abandoned their historic nonpartisanship — or, at least, are at risk of being seen that way — as they press forward with a vigorous campaign against contraception provisions in President Obama's healthcare plan (Landsberg, 6/13).
Politico: Debate Over Government's Role Fizzes Around Soda Ban
Many Americans are having a hard time swallowing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on the sale of big sodas – but it's not just about the sugar. The micro public health policy issue of restricting the sizes of some drinks — and the strong public reaction to it on both sides — has become a touchstone for the polarized and passionate debate over the proper role of government (Mak, 6/13).
Los Angeles Times: CalPERS Approves 9.6% Increase In Health Premiums In 2013
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the third-largest purchaser of health benefits in the country, approved a 9.6% increase in health premiums next year for its nearly 1.3 million members (Terhune, 6/14).
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