First Edition: June 3, 2010
Today's headlines reflect news regarding health reform and the budget deficit as well as a new ad campaign by the AMA to press Senators to approve a freeze on scheduled Medicare payment cuts.
New Health-Care Rules Multiply Man-Hours For Policymakers, Bureaucrats
At the Department of Health and Human Services, the team charged with writing new health insurance rules has ditched the fridge and microwave in their break room so they can have more work space (The Washington Post).
Data Used To Justify Health Savings Can Be Shaky
In selling the health care overhaul to Congress, the Obama administration cited a once obscure research group at Dartmouth College to claim that it could not only cut billions in wasteful health care spending but make people healthier by doing so (The New York Times).
White House Defends Healthcare Law As Reducing Budget Deficit
The White House on Wednesday rushed to defend the healthcare reform law after conservatives seized on Congressional Budget Office comments warning about unsustainable health spending (The Hill).
Democrats In Congress Fail The Sales Pitch
Congress is shattering its longstanding reputation for being a gridlocked, lethargic, "do-nothing" institution, instead compiling a record of landmark policy changes in healthcare, financial industry regulation, economic policy and more. But at the same time, Congress is suffering sky-high levels of public disapproval, signaling a big problem for Democrats as they head into the closing months of the midterm election campaign (Los Angeles Times).
AMA Will Target Senators With New Ad Campaign
The American Medical Association will unveil Thursday a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at pressuring waffling senators to approve a $23 billion freeze on scheduled Medicare cuts to physicians (The Hill).
Congress Pulls Back State Aid Package, Leaving A $2-Billion Hole In California Budget
With the federal deficit a growing political liability, lawmakers in Congress are backing off plans to send more aid to financially strapped states, putting in jeopardy billions of dollars that California and others were counting on to balance their budgets. The money was to be California's share of $24 billion in proposed assistance, mostly to cover healthcare spending, spread among all states (Los Angeles Times).
Obama Extends Benefits Of Gay Federal Workers
President Obama extended Wednesday a wider range of benefits to the same-sex partners of eligible federal workers, including access to medical treatment, relocation assistance, credit unions and fitness centers (The Washington Post).
Abortion Foes Advance Cause At State Level
At least 11 states have passed laws this year regulating or restricting abortion, giving opponents of abortion what partisans on both sides of the issue say is an unusually high number of victories. In four additional states, bills have passed at least one house of the legislature (The New York Times).
Europe Targets Drug Price Cuts
European governments grappling to reduce large budget deficits are focusing their cost-cutting on a large spending item-pharmaceuticals (The Wall Street Journal).
Two Insurers Again Seek Double-Digit Increases
The state's two largest health insurers again are seeking double-digit increases in the rates charged to small businesses and individuals, setting up another test of wills with regulators in the Patrick administration (The Boston Globe).
The Mississippi Delta's Healthcare Blues
Ann Brooks, 71, is a physician with a wry sensibility and a profane streak. Brooks earned a medical degree at age 44 before coming to the Mississippi Delta to open the Tutwiler Clinic. She sees the nation's new healthcare law as a potentially happy turn in a long, hard journey. The measure provides hundreds of billions of dollars to help states expand medical insurance for the poor and pay doctors like Brooks, nearly half of whose patients have no coverage. But there's a good chance this story will end with another difficult twist in the road for Brooks and for Tutwiler (Los Angeles Times).
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