First Edition: June 26, 2012
Today's headlines include reports setting the scene for Thursday's Supreme Court decision that will determine the health law's future.
Kaiser Health News: Dropping Legal Barriers Doesn't Guarantee Interstate Insurance Sales
Georgia Public Broadcasting's Jim Burress, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "Starting next week, any health insurer licensed in Georgia can sell policies it offers in other states to Georgians. That includes policies that don't meet minimum standards for coverage in Georgia. … While its cross-state insurance provision is scheduled to go into effect next week, not one insurance company has taken the state up on its offer to sell here" (Burress, 6/25). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Retail Health Clinics Expanding
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "In recent years, walk-in health clinics have become commonplace in groceries and drugstores as well as at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. The clinics regularly treat acute problems such as strep throat and ear infections, but many are also adding primary care and preventive services such as physical exams and chronic disease monitoring" (Andrews, 6/25). Read the column.
Kaiser Health News: Could Kaiser Permanente's Low-Cost Health Care Be Even Cheaper?
KQED's Sarah Varney, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "It's difficult to discern just how Kaiser fares against other companies since negotiations between health plans and employers are largely confidential. Kaiser says its costs increase by about 5 percent each year. But some of Kaiser's biggest customers say their premiums have jumped much higher, in some cases 20 percent" (Varney, 6/25). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: A View From Inside The Supreme Court; Preventive Services Task Force Endorses Obesity Screening, Counseling; Electronic Health Records Could Help Lower Malpractice Claims
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Stuart Taylor offers a view from inside the Supreme Court: "Inside the marble palace, as some justices have called it, the regulars in the Supreme Court bar, and in the news media, all knew that the odds of getting high drama today via health care — the decision, we mean, not the real thing — were maybe one in ten" (Taylor, 6/25).
In addition, Judith Graham reports on a new development regarding screening and counseling for obesity: "All adults should be screened for obesity, and those found to be obese should be offered at least 12 weeks of intensive counseling about lifestyle changes, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a statement published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine" (Graham, 6/25).
Also on Capsules, Matthew Fleming reports on research involving electronic health records and malpractice claims: "A research letter published Monday by Harvard scientists in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that doctors who adopt the use of electronic health records have a lower rate of malpractice claims" (Fleming, 6/25). Check out what else is on the blog.
Politico: John Roberts' Big Moment
Justices are expected to rule Thursday — during their final public sitting of the term — on the fate of President Barack Obama's signature health law. While much of the early attention focused on swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, many court watchers predict Roberts will be the architect of the ruling (Gerstein, 6/26).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Supreme Court: Thursday Will Be Last Day, With Health Care Among Undecided Cases
The Supreme Court will issue its last opinions on Thursday, with its decision on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul expected to come down that day. The court will begin its summer recess after announcing its decisions, with health care topping the list of undecided cases. The court also still has to decide cases on lying about military medals and real estate kickbacks (6/25).
The New York Times: Health Care Ruling Expected Thursday
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would issue the rest of its decisions for its current term on Thursday, making it very likely that a decision on the comprehensive law overhauling health care will come that day (6/25).
Politico: A Viewer's Guide to The SCOTUS Health Care Ruling
If you thought Monday's immigration decision was confusing, wait until the Supreme Court weighs in on health care Thursday. Court-watchers expect a flurry of opinions, dissents and concurring judgments — a confusing outcome for a complex law. When that happens, all of Washington — and the law's supporters and opponents throughout the country — will be scrambling for the quickest way to find out the law's fate (Haberkorn, 6/25).
The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Money In Limbo
Now that the Supreme Court has announced it will rule Thursday on President Barack Obama's 2010 health-care overhaul, one of the biggest questions that hangs over the decision is what happens to the billions of dollars already spent or pledged to carry out the law if parts or all of it are struck down (Radnofsky, 6/25).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Supreme Court Ruling Caps A Century Of American Debate Over How To Get Medical Care For All
The Supreme Court's upcoming ruling on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law comes after a century of debate over what role the government should play in helping people in the United States afford medical care. A look at the issue through the years (6/25).
The New York Times: A Look Back At Court's Arguments On Health Care, Laugh Count Included
The Supreme Court's momentous decision on the fate of President Obama's health care law is expected Thursday, and it is likely to be dry, sober, weighty and self-conscious about its place in constitutional history (Liptak, 6/25).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Four Scenarios For Thursday's Ruling On Health Care
The Supreme Court's eagerly awaited ruling on the 2010 federal health-care law is expected on Thursday, when the court will announce its final opinions of the term. … On the health care law, here are the most likely four scenarios on how the court could rule, as first laid out by Law Blog last week, shown in order of how much of the law would be struck down (Kendall and Landers, 6/25).
The Washington Post: What Small Business Owners Should Know About Each Possible Supreme Court Health-Care Ruling
The Supreme Court is set to release its ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama's controversial health reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as early as this week. In addition to the highly divisive individual insurance mandate, the ACA contains a variety of provisions designed to broaden access to health insurance coverage, end perceived unfair insurance practices, bend the cost curve and modernize payment methods. Some of these changes have already kicked in (Maruca, 6/25).
Los Angeles Times: Sarah Palin's 'Death Panel' Claim Rises From The Grave
It worked so well in 2009 as a way of marshaling opposition to President Obama's healthcare reform law that Sarah Palin has revived her widely debunked claim that the law will create "death panels" to determine which citizens are worthy of healthcare (Abcarian, 6/25).
Politico: FDA Bill No Model For Bipartisanship
The bipartisan treatment the FDA user fee bill has enjoyed did not fall like manna from heaven. It came at the insistence of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, the FDA and legislators on both sides of the aisle who agreed early on they would get a deal done. And then actually did it (Norman, 6/25).
Los Angeles Times: Obese Adults Should Get Counseling, Federal Task Force Says
In a move that could significantly expand insurance coverage of weight-loss treatments, a federal health advisory panel on Monday recommended that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in a growing health crisis in America (Healy, 6/25).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Doctors Urged To Screen Adults For Obesity, Send The Obese For High-Intensity Help
A government panel renewed a call Monday for every adult to be screened for obesity during checkups, suggesting more physicians should be routinely calculating their patients' BMIs. And when someone crosses the line into obesity, the doctor needs to do more than mention a diet (6/26).
The New York Times: Union Panel Urges Approval Of Lockheed Contract
A bargaining committee for the union machinists on strike at Lockheed Martin's fighter jet plant in Fort Worth has recommended that members vote for a new contract that would eliminate traditional pensions for newly hired employees, according to a summary posted Monday on the union’s Web site. … Lockheed agreed, in turn, to add a health insurance option that covers out-of-network services (Drew, 6/25).
The New York Times: City Hall Budget Deal, For Now, Includes Few Layoffs And No Tax Increases
The budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will be about $500 million more than the current one. That increase, the city said, resulted primarily from a $2 billion rise in costs that the city said it could not control, like those of pensions, health care, Medicaid and debt service (Chen, 6/25).
Los Angeles Times: San Diego Neighbors Oppose Veterans Treatment Center
A plan for a 40-bed treatment center for military veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury has run into opposition from neighborhood groups and a nearby charter school (Perry, 6/25).
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