First Edition: May 30, 2012
Today's headlines include reports about the slow uptake on the health law's small-business health care tax credit and about how some conservatives are working against health insurance exchanges.
Kaiser Health News: Some Patients Can Choose To Be Hospitalized At Home
Judith Graham, reporting for Kaiser Health News and working in collaboration with USA Today, reports: "'Hospital at home' programs fundamentally refashion care for chronically ill patients who have acute medical problems -- testing traditional notions of how services should be delivered when people become seriously ill. Only a handful of such initiatives exist, including the Albuquerque program, run by Presbyterian Healthcare Services, and programs in Portland, Ore., Honolulu, Boise, Idaho, and New Orleans offered through the Veterans Health Administration"(Graham, 5/29). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Psychiatric Manual May Soon Include 'Gambling Disorder'
Now on Kaiser Health News’ blog, consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "The proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, would add 'gambling disorder' to alcohol and drug problems as a 'substance use and addictive disorder' that insurers and others would use to make decisions about treatment and coverage" (5/29). Check out what else is on the blog.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Few Takers For Obama's Small-Business Health Care Tax Credit; Congress Unlikely To Fix Flaws
Time-consuming to apply for and lacking enough financial reward to make it attractive, the credit was claimed by only 170,300 businesses out of a pool of as many as 4 potentially eligible million companies in 2010. That’s put the Obama administration in the awkward position of asking Congress to help fix the problems by allowing more businesses to qualify and making it simpler to apply (5/30).
USA Today: Conservatives Campaign Against Insurance Exchanges
Without state exchanges, the federal government will be unable to implement the 2010 health care law, ALEC, the Cato Institute and other conservatives say. Exchanges are websites where consumers can compare costs and benefits of available insurance plans in the state, as well as buy insurance (Kennedy, 5/30).
Politico: IT Could End Up Being Health Reform's Highest Hurdle
If state health care exchanges survive the Supreme Court challenge to health care reform, the election and state tea party activists, health policy experts are worried they could still be brought down by a much more mundane problem: information technology (Feder, 5/29).
The New York Times: Nomination His, Romney Steps Up Attack On Obama
For his part, Mr. Romney is trying to get voters to envision him as president. His debut television advertisements present what a "President Romney"” would do on "Day 1," with an announcer saying: "President Romney issues order to begin replacing Obamacare with common-sense health care reform — that's what a Romney presidency would be like" (Zeleny and Rutenberg, 5/29).
Reuters/The Chicago Tribune: Romney Clinches Republican 2012 Nomination In Texas
Romney in weeks ahead will turn to Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul. The U.S. Supreme Court is to decide in late June on the constitutionality of the law's requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance. Romney has vowed to repeal the law if elected, citing it as an example of too much government under Obama. He has faced criticism from Republicans for the healthcare overhaul he developed for Massachusetts that Obama has called a model for revamping the U.S. system (Holland, 5/30).
The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Romney Economic Adviser: Details Coming Soon On Regulatory and Health Care Proposals
Glenn Hubbard, a top economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said the former Massachusetts governor will soon detail proposals for health care and financial regulation. The remarks, made in a wide-ranging interview with Wall Street Journal reporters and editors, could give voters a clearer distinction between President Barack Obama's health care and financial regulatory laws and the changes Mr. Romney would like to make to them (Paletta, 5/29).
Politico: Medical Device Tax Is Questioned
A controversial health care reform tax due to go into effect next year has become a prominent issue in a number of House and Senate races throughout the country (Haberkorn, 5/30).
The New York Times: Drug Maker Seeks Protection Within Bill Favoring Generics
One of the few bills moving through Congress with bipartisan support this spring would speed government approval of lower-cost generic copies of brand-name drugs. But one company, with help from an influential former congressman, is lobbying to protect its most lucrative brand-name product against generic competition and appears to have had some success in the House, potentially altering the bill to make it more favorable for the company (Pear, 5/29).
The Wall Street Journal: Union Urges Caterpillar Rebuff
The basic pay and benefit elements of the Caterpillar offer are unchanged. The six-year contract would allow Caterpillar to freeze wages for workers hired before May 2005. For those hired since then, the company could adjust wages based on its assessment of the labor market. Workers would pay more for health insurance and transition from a defined-benefit pension plan to a standard 401(k) retirement-savings program. Caterpillar would have more flexibility to require workers to switch to different shifts (Hagerty, 5/29).
NPR: Counterfeiters Exploit Shortage To Market Fake Adderall Pills
A shortage of Adderall began last year, sending millions of people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy on perpetual wild goose chases to find drugstores with the pills they need to stay alert and focused. So it's not surprising that Adderall counterfeiters have seized a big marketing opportunity. What is surprising is their clumsiness (Knox, 5/29).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: $1-A-Pack Tax Increase For Cigarettes Passes Illinois Senate Committee Along Party Lines
Democrats argue the increase will help close a hole in the state Medicaid budget and also help prevent smoking. Republicans object to any tax increase. Officials face a $2.7 million budget problem for Medicaid. They've already approved spending cuts of roughly $1.6 billion (5/29).
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