First Edition: April 27, 2011
In today's headlines, political push-back continues regarding the Paul Ryan budget plan and the Supreme Court seems skeptical that prescription drug data laws don't violate free speech.
Kaiser Health News: Insurers Clash With Providers As States Expand Medicaid Managed Care
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "About half of the nation's 50 million Medicaid recipients are in private managed care plans, which the states typically pay a set amount each month per patient. These plans limit patients' choice of doctors and hospitals. The other half has more freedom to choose where to go for medical care, with the Medicaid program paying a fee for each visit and procedure" (Galewitz, 4/26).
Kaiser Health News: Illinois Insurance Chief Sees Market Becoming More Concentrated The KHN Interview
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, J. Duncan Moore talks with Michael T. McRaith, the Illinois director of insurance since 2005, was named last month by the Obama administration to become the country's first director of the Federal Insurance Office. He used his tenure with the state to beef up consumer safeguards in Illinois and to prepare the way for the health care overhaul (Moore, 4/27).
Kaiser Health News Guest Opinion: GOP Budget: Time Travel Back To When Seniors Couldn't Afford Health Care
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Jonathan Cohn writes: "The idea of high medical bills forcing the elderly to give up their dignity, or more, is hardly far-fetched. And if you don't want to take my word for it, perhaps you should listen to John Barclay and a little bit of history" (4/26).
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Boehner: 'Not Wedded' To Ryan Plan For Medicare
Rep. Paul Ryan acknowledged he was handing Democrats a political weapon when he unveiled his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, including a controversial overhaul of Medicare. Congressional leaders in both parties now seem to agree with him. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said he is "not wedded" to Mr. Ryan's plan to redo Medicare (Yadron, 4/26).
Politico: John Boehner Says He's Not 'Wedded To' Paul Ryan Plan
Democrats and liberal groups said Boehner's comments to ABC News, in an interview posted Tuesday afternoon, make it sound like he's backpedaling from the House vote two weeks ago in which all but four Republicans voted for Ryan's budget plan - including the Medicare overhaul that's raising so many questions at their town hall meetings (Nather, 4/26).
The New York Times: House GOP Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget
In central Florida, a Congressional town meeting erupted into near chaos on Tuesday as attendees accused a Republican lawmaker of trying to dismantle Medicare while providing tax cuts to corporations and affluent Americans (Steinhauer and Hulse, 4/26).
Politico: Poll Shows Even Split Over Budget Plans
That the Ryan plan does better with seniors is a bit unexpected, since analysts see the Republican vision for deep cuts to Medicare as likely to benefit Obama, who has traditionally struggled to gain the support of older Americans. Overall, 66 percent of those surveyed said they worry that Ryan's plan cuts Medicare too much and 65 percent say the same about his vision for trimming Social Security spending (Epstein, 4/27).
Politico: Paul Ryan's Plan Puts 2012 Elderly Vote In Play
Democrats still smarting from their 2010 mid-term defeat see Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial plan to overhaul Medicare as political aspirin, a cure for just about everything that ails them. But for Barack Obama it's more like Geritol - a targeted treatment for his chronic aches and pains with older voters (Thrush and Phillip, 4/27).
Orlando Sentinel/Los Angeles Times: Florida Congressman Confronted By Angry Town Hall Crowd
Boos and shouts of "liar" were mixed with angry accusations that Ryan's plan to change Medicare would leave those now under 55 without health insurance in their retirement, calls to eliminate the tax cuts first put in place by former President Bush and the need to raise corporate taxes rather than cut entitlement programs (Schlueb, 4/26).
The Washington Post: Supreme Court Skeptical That Prescription Data Laws Don't Violate Free Speech
Several Supreme Court justices strongly suggested during oral arguments Tuesday that Vermont's attempt to restrict the use of drug prescription records for marketing purposes violates corporate free-speech rights (Barnes, 4/26).
The Wall Street Journal: Justices Question Drug-Sales Law
Supreme Court justices Tuesday sharply questioned Vermont's effort to restrict pharmaceutical marketers from obtaining data on doctors' prescribing habits. The 2007 state law, passed at the Vermont Medical Society's behest, aims to blunt a powerful marketing tool and a pharmacy revenue stream made possible through computer data-mining (Bravin, 4/27).
The New York Times: Justices' Debate Turns To Privacy For Doctors
A somewhat esoteric Supreme Court case on Tuesday about data mining by drug companies turned into a debate over a fundamental First Amendment principle that has much engaged the justices lately: What role may the government play in regulating the marketplace of ideas? (Liptak, 4/26).
Los Angeles Times: Justices Weigh Privacy And Drug Marketing
Government lawyers defending limits on the marketing of new drugs ran into sharply skeptical questions Tuesday at the Supreme Court from conservative justices who said the 1st Amendment protected the free-speech rights of drug makers to market their products directly to doctors (Savage, 4/27).
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