Still, he said, the House would have done things differently than the Senate, which created the board.
"I think the House would have worked on the IPAB had we had that opportunity, but, you know, we didn't have that opportunity because we couldn't do that in the reconciliation process," he said. "So I think that ... it is fair to say that there is a desire by Democrats to look at the IPAB, but I think it is also obvious that there is some division as to whether or not the IPAB serves a positive purpose in trying to contain costs in health care."
"We have not given any direction as to what people ought to do, even on the committee or on the floor at this point in time. We will see what they mark up and see what they do. I tend to be sympathetic with the President's view that the IPAB is an important provision which does seek to contain costs, which, of course, is one of the objectives of the Affordable Care Act."
Remember this? The birth-control/religious-freedom debate will never die. Ever. Or at least it won’t happen this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there will be a vote Thursday on Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) amendment to let employers opt out of the mandate, and House Republicans grilled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the issue Tuesday.
Reid said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “insisted” on the vote before allowing the Senate to proceed to its transportation bill, and cast the debate as a distraction from job creation.
Republicans, meanwhile, continued to push back aggressively against the idea that the contraception debate is about women’s health. They say the measure would simply codify longstanding religious freedoms and wouldn’t roll back any healthcare benefits that women received before President Obama’s reform law was set in motion.
Healthwatch has more on the back-and-forth over the Blunt amendment.
What it costs: In the House, Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee pressed Sebelius on the mandate during a hearing about the HHS budget request. And the Energy and Commerce Committee released a Congressional Research Service report outlining the fines that religious-affiliated employers could face if they don’t comply with the mandate.
Some health insurance plans that don’t comply with federal requirements could face fines of up to $100 per day, according to CRS, and might also be subject to lawsuits. Religious employers that opt to quit offering healthcare coverage altogether could also face stiff fines because of the healthcare law’s employer mandate. The CRS report is here.
Talking in circles: House Republicans also convened another hearing Tuesday asking whether the mandate violates religious freedoms, hoping to recover from the bad press that followed an all-male witness panel at a similar hearing earlier this month. Lawmakers again talked past one another about what they’re debating — Democrats emphasized women’s health, while Republicans talked about religion — and a balanced panel of witnesses, including three women, also sounded mostly familiar themes.
The panel included William Lori, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as Sarah Rosenstock, who chaired the expert panel that recommended including contraception as one of the preventive benefits that insurers must cover without charging a co-pay or deductible. You can read their testimony here.
Grassroots push: A coalition of pro-choice and women’s-health groups is looking for grassroots opposition to the Blunt amendment, similar to the outpouring that recently helped push the Susan G. Komen foundation away from its decision to cut off grants to Planned Parenthood. The Coalition to Protect Women’s Health Care is asking women to record YouTube videos about the importance of contraception. A few big names have already joined in, including Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D). The videos can be found online here.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg testifies before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies about the agency’s $4.5 billion budget request. The FDA's assistant commissioner for budget, Patrick McGarey, is also invited, along with the deputy assistant for budget, Norris Cochran.
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions primary care subcommittee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) holds a hearing on the "Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Expand Access."
State by state
The Virginia Senate killed a bill that would have prevented poor women whose fetuses have "gross mental and physical abnormalities" from using state funds for abortions.
Alabama wants federal permission to dis-enroll thousands of children from its children's health program.
Hawaii is the healthiest state in the nation, according to data from The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced legislation creating grants to coordinate the provision of free, medically recommended dental care to eligible low-income individuals by volunteer dentists (H.R. 4091).
Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) have legislation that would help consumers protect themselves against illegitimate online drug sellers (H.R. 4095).
The Food and Drug Administration is adding warning about diabetes and memory loss to statins.
JM Environmental Health Consulting / Children's Environmental Health Network
Juliet K. Choi has been appointed chief of staff and senior adviser to HHS's Office for Civil Rights, which investigates complaints filed by the public and provides technical assistance and public education.
Slate runs quite possibly the longest news article in the history of the world to explain Mitt Romney's stance on abortion.
The AIDS virus probably originated in Cameroon around 1908 and spread because of colonial exploitation, The Washington Post reports.
A Dartmouth professor of medicine asks in a New York Times op-ed whether "looking hard for things to be wrong" — aka preventive health — is a good way to promote health.
The use of sleeping pills was associated with a three- to five-fold higher mortality risk compared with the risk for nonusers in a new study, MedPage reports.
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