Morning Health

VOTES HAVE CONSEQUENCES

So says the Susan B. Anthony List, whose seven-day, 23-city bus tour across Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania starts Tuesday. The anti-abortion group wants to send centrist Democratic Reps. Steve Driehaus (Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (Ohio), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) packing because of their support for the healthcare reform bill.

ABOUT THAT MEDICARE TRUST FUND

Solvency: It's all about cuts to doctors' payments, says the American Medical Association in its latest Advocacy Update. 

"For Medicare Part B, the most striking aspect of the Trustees Report is its confirmation of the precipitous declines in Medicare physician payment rates that will start in less than four months. Specifically, the Trustees forecast a 23% cut on December 1, 2010, another 6.5% cut one month later on January 1, 2011, and an additional 2.9% cut on January 1, 2012. With these cuts, 2011 payment rates would be 28% below November 2010 rates, and 2012 payment rates would be 30% below their November 2010 level."

AIDS FIGHT

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation continues its campaign to portray the Obama administration as soft on AIDS. The group's new ad slogan — “President Obama, The War on AIDS Has Not Been Won” — compares the amount spent fighting the global AIDS epidemic vs. the amount spent on the war in Afghanistan.

1099 POISON PILL?

For all the bipartisan talk about repealing the healthcare reform law's new 1099 tax reporting obligations, both parties are still miles apart according to The New York Times. Sen. Mike Johanns's (R-Neb.) bid to repeal the $19 billion measure would be paid for by reducing preventive health care services funding in the reform law. The Democrats' alternative pares down the filing requirement and pays the $10.1 billion price tag by eliminating an income deduction for the five largest oil companies.

METHANE SURGE BLAMED FOR MINE BLAST

Methane gas surged in the minutes before an April mine explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia, reports The Wall Street Journal. Massey Energy Co. says the surge is consistent with its theory that a sudden inundation of methane gas initiated the explosion.

ASTRAZENECA TO PAY $200B SETTLEMENT

The drug firm is close to finalizing a $198 billion settlement with 17,500 plaintiffs over its antipsychotic drug Seroquel, the Financial Times reports. The drug has been linked to diabetes and other side effects. The settlement comes as lawmakers are increasingly looking at ways to strengthen oversight of drug companies and their sales practices. AstraZeneca has been accused of promoting Seroquel for borderline personality disorder — a use for which it has not been authorized — but that allegation was dismissed Monday by a British self-regulator.

KNOW WHAT YOU'RE EATING

The Food and Drug Administration hosts a Web seminar at 1:30 p.m. on using food labels to make smart food choices. Information available here.