KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: August 17, 2010

Today's headlines include news about new federal funding to help states regulate rising health insurance premiums and more information about the costs of cancer.

Insurer Mounts Offensive And Defensive Strategies On Health Law
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Arlene Weintraub writes: "In the increasingly tense wrangling between the insurance industry and state regulators over the definition of what spending can qualify as medical care under the new health law, one of the loudest lobbying voices is a relatively small player: Cigna Corp" (Kaiser Health News).

Health On The Hill – August 16, 2010
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Bloomberg News' Drew Armstrong and KFF's Jackie Judd about recent developments, including the latest on the medical loss ratio calculation and how much power states have to enforce provisions of the health law (Kaiser Health News). 

Economy Led To Cuts In Use Of Health Care
The economic crisis in the United States has reduced the use of routine medical care, and the cutbacks here are much deeper than in countries with universal health care systems, researchers say in a new report (The New York Times).

States Get Funds To Boost Oversight Of Health Insurance Premiums
The Obama administration is sending $1-million grants to state insurance regulators to help increase oversight of rising health insurance premiums, a key step in implementing the new healthcare law (Los Angeles Times).

States Get Grants To Help Regulate Increases In Health Insurance Rates
The Obama administration has awarded 45 states $1 million each to help them improve their oversight of health insurance premium increases (The Washington Post).

Poll: 83 Percent Say Healthcare Very Important In Midterms
Healthcare remains a key concern for voters ahead of the November midterms, a new CNN poll says, even if the issue is less potent than jobs and the economy (The Hill).

Catholic Groups Protest SBA List Tour
The vitriolic abortion debate sparked by President Barack Obama's health reform plan is playing out again on the campaign trail (Politico).

Report: Cancer Is The World's Costliest Disease
Cancer is the world's top "economic killer" as well as its likely leading cause of death, the American Cancer Society contends in a new report it will present at a global cancer conference in China this week (The Associated Press).

Breast Cancer: How Politics Is Driving Up Costs
Late last week, the Food and Drug Administration received a letter from Susan B. Komen for the Cure, the pink ribbon-bedecked juggernaut among breast cancer treatment advocacy groups, demanding the agency maintain its approval of Genentech's Avastin for women with life-threatening metastatic breast cancer. "We recognize the benefits of Avastin overall are modest for women with metastatic breast cancer," Komen chief Nancy G. Brinker said in the letter. "However, we do know that for some women, Avastin offers a greater than modest benefit" (The Fiscal Times).

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