Health Roundup: GOP leader renews call to defund health reform

Gov. Pawlenty calls for repeal: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a possible presidential candidate in 2012, called for repeal of healthcare legislation during a television interview Sunday morning. "I think ObamaCare is one of the worst pieces of legislation passed in the modern history of the country," Pawlenty said on CNN’s 'State of the Union'. "I’m doing everything I can in Minnesota to stop, delay or avoid implementation in my state, including signing an executive order saying we’re not going to participate unless required by law or approved by me," he said. http://bit.ly/csRXXz

McConnell renews calls for defunding health reform: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) says he is looking for ways to defund the implementation of the sweeping healthcare reform Congress passed earlier this year.

"What we’re doing in my office is looking for the various parts of it that are subject to funding. And we will be revising this issue time after time. The American people expect us to."

But McConnell and other Republicans acknowledge it will be difficult to repeal the bill with new legislation before 2013.

"It will be difficult with him in the White House," McConnell said, referring to President Obama, during an interview on CBS’s 'Face the Nation'. "But if we can put a full repeal on his desk and replace it with the kind of commonsense forms that we were advocating during the debate to reduce spending, we owe it to the American people to do that." http://bit.ly/8XMypw


Planned Parenthood says pro-choice message worked: While anti-abortion rights groups have been crowing that about 90 percent of the incumbents they targeted in the midterms won't be back next year, Planned Parenthood says its candidates fared well, too — when they made abortion rights an issue.

"Overlooked amid all the postmortems about the 2010 election is the fact that women voters provided the margin of victory where Democratic candidates were able to win close races, and they did that because Democratic candidates campaigned on an issue women care about deeply:  protecting abortion rights," the group said Friday. "In a tough year dominated by the economy, Democratic candidates in winning races widened the gender gap by highlighting their pro-choice credentials, as well as their opponent’s extreme anti-choice positions."

Planned Parenthood says that:

  • In the Colorado Senate race, Michael Bennet won the women’s vote by 17 points;
  • In the Washington Senate race, Patty Murray won the women’s vote by 12 points;
  • In the California Senate race, Barbara Boxer won the women’s vote by 16 points;
  • In the Oregon governor’s race, John Kitzhaber won the women’s vote by 26 points; and
  • In the Vermont governor’s race, Peter Shumlin won the women’s vote by 7 points.

Academic expert blasts Medicare competitive bidding: Peter Crampton, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, sent a scathing letter to the Medicare agency Friday after federal regulators boasted that the 92 percent of durable medical equipment companies who accepted government contracts was proof the program works. Crampton is among 166 auction experts who have asked the agency to redesign the program, which begins Jan. 1 in nine metropolitan statistical areas across the country.

"The high acceptance rate likely is nothing more than a statement that among the winners there is a high frequency of 1) small suppliers, 2) desperate suppliers, or 3) fraudulent suppliers."

Medicare sets rates: The Medicare agency has set the premiums, deductibles and coinsurance amounts beneficiaries will pay next year. For hospital care (Part A), the deductible paid by the beneficiary when admitted as a hospital inpatient will be $1,132 in 2011, an increase of $32 over 2010.

Happening today: Sebelius makes remarks this afternoon at the Association of American Medical College in D.C.'s Marriot Wardman Park.