First Edition: January 12, 2011
Today's headlines feature news about the high court's consideration of how the medical leave law applies to state government workers and reports from the GOP presidential primary campaign trail.
Kaiser Health News: Do No Harm – And Keep An Eye On Costs
Kaiser Health News staff writers report that the American College of Physicians hit a nerve when it released an updated ethics manual calling for doctors to provide "parsimonious care" – in other words, "to practice effective and efficient health care and to use health care resources responsibly." … KHN talked with physicians and health policy experts about this notion of "parsimonious care." Their edited comments follow (1/11).
Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: United Against Health Law, Medicare Reforms Divide GOP Presidential Candidates (video)
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini talk with Jackie Judd about Tuesday's New Hampshire GOP primary. The GOP field is united in their opposition against Obama's Health Law, but differences remain in how they would reform Medicare (1/11). Watch the video or read the transcript.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Gym Memberships In Medicare Advantage Plans Cater To Health Seniors
Now on the blog, Shefali S. Kulkarni writes: "Despite federal regulations that prohibit health insurance plans from cherry-picking their beneficiaries, some Medicare Advantage plans may be doing just that, only indirectly. A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that when Medicare Advantage plans alter their benefits to include perks like gym memberships, they tend to attract healthier seniors" (Kulkarni, 1/11). Check out what else is on the blog.
The Hill's Healthwatch: Nearly 500 State Lawmakers To Press Supreme Court To Uphold Healthcare Mandate
More than 480 state lawmakers plan to file a brief Thursday urging the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama's healthcare law. The group includes at least one lawmaker from every state, including the 26 states whose attorneys general are suing to overturn the healthcare law's individual insurance mandate. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in March and will likely rule on the law this summer (Baker, 1/11).
The Hill's Healthwatch: Patient Groups Seek Delay On 'Essential Benefit' Rules
A group of 75 patient organizations asked the Health and Human Services Department to allow more time for public comment on its proposal for defining "essential health benefits." The healthcare law directs HHS to define a package of essential benefits that all insurance plans will have to cover beginning in 2014 (Baker, 1/11).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: High Court Wrestles With How Medical Leave Law Applies To Millions Of State Government Workers
The Supreme Court wrestled Wednesday with how a federal law that grants workers time off for family and medical reasons applies to state government workers in a case that could affect millions of them. The case argued before the high court was brought by a Maryland state employee who says he was wrongly fired for trying to take a 10-day medical leave to deal with hypertension and diabetes. But Daniel Coleman’s damage suit against state officials for a reported $1.1 million was thrown out (1/11).
NPR: Gingrich, Romney Go At It Over Abortion
The latest abortion battle doesn't pit those on opposite sides of the issue against each other. Rather, it features two of the leading GOP candidates for president, each charging the other is less than pure as the race heads to socially conservative South Carolina (Rovner, 1/12).
The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: New Gingrich's Claim That Romney Governed As A 'Pro-Abortion' Governor
Gingrich, still justifiably angry at a tough ad by a Romney-affiliated Super PAC that mischaracterized his position on abortion, has counterattacked with his own ad that calls into question Romney's support for restrictions on abortion. Romney, of course, has spoken openly about his conversion on the abortion issue, so Gingrich must prove that Romney was an inconsistent convert to the cause of fighting abortion. Romney's record was certainly inconsistent but was it indeed "pro-abortion"? Let's look at some of the claims in this ad (Kessler, 1/11).
The Wall Street Journal: Appellate Ruling Upholds Texas Abortion Law
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a Texas law that requires women seeking an abortion to have a sonogram exam and to listen to a physician's detailed description of the fetus, including whether it has developed limbs or internal organs. Supporters of the law, enacted last year, say it is designed to ensure that women are fully informed about abortions and, ultimately, to discourage them from undergoing the procedure (Koppel, 1/12).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: FDA Probing J&J Delays In Reporting Serious Injuries Among Users Of Its Animas Insulin Pump
The lapses are hard to reconcile with J&J's image: It’s the company that decades ago set the textbook standard for protecting public safety with a nationwide recall of Tylenol bottles that an outsider had poisoned. And its executives still cite the corporate credo, prominently displayed at headquarters, stressing the company's responsibility to the doctors, patients and parents who use its products (1/11).
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