Healthcare Tuesday

IN THE NEWS

• Hoping to rally skeptical seniors behind its landmark health reforms, the White House on Monday released a "new" report indicating that the law will save Medicare $575 billion over a decade and extend the life of the program by 12 years. If those figures sound familiar, it's because Medicare's chief actuary arrived at them in April.

• A federal judge ruled Monday that Virginia's constitutional challenge of the Democrats' healthcare reform law is worth taking a closer look at.

• Researchers at UCLA found that fructose, a sugar common in Americans' diets, helps cancer cells multiply.

• For the second time in as many days, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gets attention for his plan to eliminate the national debt by, among other things, privatizing Medicare and hiking the program's eligibility age. 

"Advocates praise the plan as a realistic way to take on the nation’s out-of-control debt and prevent the utter collapse of a Medicare and Social Security program," The New York Times writes, "while critics say it guts those programs and would leave old, vulnerable people fending for themselves."

Worth noting: GOP leaders, in this election year, are hardly lining up to support Ryan's plan.

• Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants Kellogg's (yes, the cereal giant) to turn over internal documents surrounding the company's recent recall of 28 million boxes of Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks. Kellogg's said the recall was based on an "off-flavor and smell" caused by the chemical 2-methylnaphthalene, which is used in the cereal packaging. 

"At least one study has shown that 2-methylnaphthalene may cause lung injuries in adults," Waxman wrote Monday requesting more information. "There are no studies indicating whether children are more susceptible to this chemical."

The controversy was first reported last month by Greenwire.

• A California-based HIV/AIDS group will stage a mock funeral procession through the streets of San Francisco on Wednesday, ending at the Pacific Heights home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D). The activists are protesting what they claim is a failure of Democratic leaders to provide sufficient funds for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which provides AIDS drugs to those who can't afford them. 

While the HHS appropriations bill moving through the House would increase ADAP funding by $50 million next year, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is urging passage of a Republican bill that would provide $126 million for ADAP. Democrats oppose that proposal because it would pay the tab using unspent stimulus funds. 

CALENDAR

• The Senate Environment and Public Works Children's Health subcommittee meets Tuesday morning to examine the potential effects of environmental changes on kids with autism and other neurodevelopment disorders.

• The Pew Prescription Project teams up with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to host an audio news conference urging Congress to take steps ensuring the safety of the nation's drugs.

• The Association for Community Affiliated Plans hosts a Web event examining the quality of primary care services under Medicaid — a timely issue considering that more than half of the 34 million uninsured folks estimated to get health coverage under the new reform law will enter into Medicaid plans. 

• Students for Sensible Drug Policy will host an afternoon conference call promoting the legalization of marijuana.