First Edition: September 7, 2011
Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations includes reports on Mitt Romney's announdement Tuesday about his plans for jobs and the health law and a new analysis of the donations made by the health care industry to members of the congressional "super committee" on the deficit.
Kaiser Health News: Sweating The Details: Health Reform Supporters Fret Over HHS Rules
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini write: "Publicly, consumer and patient advocates continue to cheer wildly for last year’s health care law. Behind the scenes, however, some worry that they are losing a few key battles to the insurance and business communities. They point to a long-sought provision in the law that entitles patients to an external review if an insurer won’t pay for a medical service, but charge that recent regulations limit its effectiveness. One of their biggest gripes? It allows insurers to choose their own 'external' reviewers" (Carey and Serafini, 9/7).
Kaiser Health News: Back-Up Plans For The Individual Mandate?
Kaiser Health News Web Editor Stephanie Stapleton writes: "What happens if the health law's individual mandate -- the provision that requires almost all Americans to obtain health insurance or face a penalty -- is overturned by the Supreme Court?" She asks six experts to discuss alternative policy approaches.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Deficit Hawk Or Dove? Enzi’s Autism Stance
On Capsules, KHN's news blog, Phil Galewitz examines Sen. Mike Enzi's efforts to provide federal funds for autism research, even as the Wyoming Republican calls for major budget cuts. Also on the blog, Shefali S. Kulkarni reports that new polling data shows that "27.2 percent of Texans reported being uninsured in the first half of 2011 — the highest percentage of any state in the U.S. But that's nothing new for the Lone Star State." Check out what else is on the blog.
Los Angeles Times: Mitt Romney Releases Jobs Plan As He Faces A Surging Rick Perry
Facing new trouble in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney released a detailed plan Tuesday to revive the nation's stumbling economy, proposing tax cuts and rollbacks in environmental, health and banking rules. ... He proposed a 10% cut in the federal workforce and a $200-billion-per-year reduction in the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor. Romney would convert Medicaid into a block grant for states (Finnegan, 9/6).
The Washington Post: Romney Unveils Sweeping Plan For Jobs, Economy
If elected, the former Massachusetts governor said he would issue five executive orders on Inauguration Day. They would roll back Obama’s health-care overhaul; eliminate Obama-era regulations; issue new oil-drilling permits; reverse a number of policies that favor organized labor; and sanction China for currency manipulation (Rucker and Tumulty, 9/6).
The New York Times: Romney Lays Out His Economic Plan
Mitt Romney unveiled his plan to rejuvenate the American economy here Tuesday, offering a detailed outline that includes repealing President Obama’s health care law (Parker and Rich, 9/7).
The Associated Press: Debt Commission Members Rake In Health Money
Doctors, drugmakers, hospitals and health insurers have spent millions over the years wooing lawmakers who now are on the powerful congressional panel charged with finding a formula to control deficits and debt, a new analysis finds. Those very same industries would get hit hard if the supercommittee succeeds (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/7).
The Seattle Times: Liberal Groups Push Sen. Murray To Avoid Social-Program Cuts
(A)s the congressional deficit-reduction committee (Sen. Patty) Murray co-chairs gears up for its first hearing Thursday, progressive advocates are fretting over just how much zeal she will show in defending Social Security, Medicare and other safety-net programs. Liberal activists seeking to pressure Murray have been parsing her words and actions for clues — and finding little solace in her steadfast refusal to declare specific cuts in benefits or higher costs for beneficiaries off-limits (Song, 9/7).
Chicago Tribune: A Lesson In Government
Mundelein High School students obliged when U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh encouraged them to ask him questions during a visit to their Advanced Placement government class Tuesday. Why, Emily Colon asked, did he plan to boycott a jobs plan speech by President Barack Obama on Thursday night? The tea party-backed Republican freshman from McHenry told students that he plans to read the president's speech. ... But he spent the most time talking about the need to cut spending on federal health programs, including Medicare. Medicare should be used only as a "safety net" for those who cannot get health care anywhere else, he said. "We have got to begin to pay for and be more responsible for our own health care costs," he said (Black, 9/7).
The Associated Press/Chicago Tribune: Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses Generic Drugmakers Of Scheme That Overcharged Medicaid
Three generic drugmakers are being accused in a whistleblower lawsuit of scheming to overcharge the government by tens of millions of dollars for medicines. The U.S. Attorney's office on Tuesday joined in the lawsuit, brought by Chicago pharmacist Bernard Lisitza. His attorneys alleged in a 162-page complaint unsealed Tuesday afternoon that Par Pharmaceuticals Companies Inc. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., and two foreign generic drugmakers overcharged the Medicaid program by getting pharmacies to dispense different, more-expensive, dosage forms than what was prescribed (Johnson, 9/6).
NPR: Conservatives Step Up Attacks On Public Funding For Birth Control
It used to be that opposition to publicly funded birth control was linked to abortion. Either the birth control in question allegedly caused abortion, or the organization providing the birth control (read: Planned Parenthood) also performed abortions. But that's changing. These days, more and more voices are opposing the provision of birth control for its own sake (Rovner, 9/7).
Chicago Tribune: HPV Vaccination Rates Low Nationwide
A nationwide survey of 13- to 17-year-old girls by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 found that only about half had received at least one dose of the three-part HPV vaccination series. Illinois was at the low end, according to the CDC results released in August, with only 39.7 percent of female adolescents receiving at least one dose of the series and only 26 percent receiving the full three doses (Neumann, 9/7).
NPR: Haggle, Don't Settle, When It Comes To Health Costs
Seems like forever that Consumer Reports has been telling people to haggle over the price of a microwave or a car. Now the folks behind the magazine want you to haggle with your doctor — or at least let her know that you can't afford that bypass (Shute, 9/6).
The Washington Post: Author Geralyn Lucas Puts A Fresh Face On Cancer Survival
Geralyn Lucas thought she would be dead by 30. Instead, 16 years after her breast cancer diagnosis, the author and activist is a huge fan of hair dye and Botox. Ironic, she acknowledges, because all she ever wanted was to grow old. ... Before such celebrities as Christina Applegate and Sheryl Crow helped take the edge off the C-word, Lucas was speaking out irreverently about the disease. Her 2004 memoir, “Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy,” became an international hit, as did the ensuing Emmy-nominated 2006 movie. Now Lucas leads a growing number of Gen-X and younger cancer survivors who are changing attitudes toward a disease that was once a death sentence but now has more young survivors than at any point in history (Wax, 9/7).
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