First Edition: November 30, 2011
In today's headlines, reports that more states -- including some with Republican governors who oppose the health law -- are taking federal grants for health insurance exchanges.
Kaiser Health News: Study: Employers Could Dump Sickest Employees On Public Health Care
Elizabeth Stawicki, from Minnesota Public Radio News, filed the following story as part of a partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR: "A loophole in the federal health care overhaul could allow employers to game the system by getting their sicker employees to opt into buying coverage on the health insurance exchanges, according to two University of Minnesota law professors" (Stawicki, 11/30).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Support Of Health Law Rebounds A Bit
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jordan Rau reports: "It's up. It’s down. Americans' views about the health care law are, well, fluid. The latest Kaiser Family Foundation monthly poll shows that the law's popularity rose a bit after hitting a new low last month. (Kaiser Health News is a program of the foundation.) Still, more people don’t like the law than do: 44 percent to 37 percent. That was a small improvement from October, when 51 percent panned the law, but the law's popularity remains below where it has been (11/30).
Also on the blog, Christian Torres reports that more states are taking federal funds for insurance exchanges (11/29; Phil Galewitz reports on a new study that finds Florida leads the nation in getting more children insured (11/29); and WBUR's Martha Bebinger, reporting as part of a partnership with KHN and NPR, reports: "If Massachusetts residents chafe at the requirement that they have health insurance, they'll have to endure it longer. They won't have a chance to vote against it — not in the next election, anyway" (11/29). Check out what else is on Capsules.
Georgia Health News/Kaiser Health News: Unconventional Clinic Providing Safety Net For Women
Andy Miller, reporting for Kaiser Health News partner Georgia Health News, writes: "The free testing at the Women of W.O.R.T.H. (Women’s Organization for Reproductive and Total Healthcare ) clinic provided a complete exam, including the Pap smear to find cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer. Two women, part of the area’s growing Hispanic community, were referred immediately to a local emergency room — one with anemia and an abdominal mass, and the other with apparent congestive heart failure" (Miller, 11/30).
The Washington Post: Democrats To Attack Republicans For Pushing Medicare Cuts
The Democratic Party will begin a campaign on Wednesday to attack Republican lawmakers for pushing cuts to Medicare benefits during the latest round of failed federal deficit talks, a new turn in a drama that not long ago featured top Democrats expressing a willingness to tinker with the popular entitlement program (Wallsten, 11/29).
NPR: GOP Governors Hedge Bets On Insurance Exchanges
Obama administration officials have announced another round of grants to states to help build the insurance marketplaces, called "exchanges," that will help individuals and small businesses buy health insurances beginning in 2014 (Rovner, 11/29).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: 7 States Suing To Overturn Health Overhaul Receive Federal Grants To Carry Out Obama's Law
Federal officials announced Tuesday they are awarding more money to help states carry out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. So what’s the surprise? Seven states that are suing to overturn the landmark law are also on the list for funding (11/29).
The New York Times Prescriptions Blog: States Receive Health Care Grants
Hoping to alleviate concerns of states, the Obama administration on Tuesday said it would award nearly $220 million in new federal grants to states to set up exchanges where uninsured Americans may eventually be able to buy medical coverage as part of the federal health care law (Japsen, 11/29).
The Washington Post: Foes Of Health-Care Law Are Among States Receiving Federal Money To Implement It
The announcement by the Obama administration brings the number of states that have received such grants to 29. It also highlights the dual path that many Republican state leaders have been following when it comes to the law — petitioning the Supreme Court to strike it down, even as they ready their states for implementation in the event that the justices uphold the statute (Aizenman, 11/29).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Republican Leader Eric Cantor Says Obama's Medicare Nominee Is 'Eminently Qualified'
President Barack Obama's Medicare nominee Tuesday got unexpected support from one of Congress' Republican stars. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told The Associated Press that Marilyn Tavenner is "eminently qualified" to run Medicare (11/29).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: 12 States Make Progress On Health Insurance Exchanges
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that a dozen more states have crossed the first big threshold in setting up health insurance exchanges – including seven of the Republican states that are suing the administration to overturn the health care law passed last year (Radnofsky, 11/29).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Study: Even With More Kids In Poverty, Number Of Uninsured Children Fell 14% Over 3 Years
Even with more children living in poverty because of the rough economy, the number of children without health insurance in the U.S. has dropped by 1 million in the past three years, according to a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University (11/29).
The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Michele Bachmann's Claim That She Never Said 'Anything Inaccurate' During The GOP Debates
The Republican candidates for president have already held at least 10 full-fledged debates, and we have watched them all. Here are a few highlights of Bachmann's performance [includes various references to 'Obamacare'] during those sessions (Kessler, 11/29).
The Washington Post: GOP Hopeful Rick Santorum Campaigns With A Seriously Ill Daughter At Home
His is easily the most searing personal narrative offered by any candidate this season. And when he speaks of Bella publicly, it is almost always in conjunction with his top policy goal of dismantling the health-care reform legislation, which he sees as a threat to those like her, "on the margins of life" (Henneberger, 11/29).
Politico: Gingrich And Romney: Same Health Plan, Different Candidate
If Republicans are flocking to Newt Gingrich to get away from Mitt Romney's health care problems, they could end up with a nominee with … awfully similar health care problems. Or maybe worse: While Romney signed a state mandate into law, Gingrich once went a step further and advocated a federal one (Haberkorn, 11/30).
NPR: High Court To Hear HIV-Positive Pilot's Privacy Case
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case testing whether the federal government is liable for damages when it violates the Privacy Act by disclosing that an individual is HIV-positive. The government does not dispute that it broke the law, but it asserts that the Privacy Act authorizes damage suits only for violations that cause economic harm, not for emotional harm (Totenberg, 11/30).
USA Today: Rise In PTSD Cases From Two Wars Strains Military Resources
Ten thousand combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder flooded into VA hospitals every three months this year, pushing the number of patients ill from the disorder above 200,000 and straining resources, Department of Veterans Affairs data to be released today show (Zoroya, 11/29).
The New York Times: Facing Generic Lipitor Rivals, Pfizer Battles To Protect Its Cash Cow
For the last year, Pfizer has been laying the groundwork to combat the looming competition against Lipitor, forging deals with insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and patients to meet or beat the price of its generic replacements (Wilson, 11/29).
The Wall Street Journal: UnitedHealth Targets Long-Term Double-Digit Earnings Growth
Managed-care company UnitedHealth Group Inc. is targeting long-term earnings growth in a double-digit range, backed by high single-digit sales growth, as it aims to expand its Optum health-care-services business (Kamp, 11/29).
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