By Healthwatch staff - 01/06/11 10:41 PM EST
GOP on attack: Even before the House votes on a measure to repeal the entire reform law next week, Republican members have introduced a slew of bills to weaken the law. These include a repeal of the individual mandate and a measure to block congressional authorization to appropriate funds carrying out the law. Meanwhile, a liberal Democrat reintroduced a public option bill. http://bit.ly/fn592K
GOP senator will bring back 1099 plan: Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) will reintroduce a bill that would remove a 1099 reporting mandate in the healthcare reform law. His proposal, which failed to garner enough support in the recent lame-duck session, would offset the cost of repealing the $19 billion provision with unobligated federal dollars. The bill will drop on Jan. 25, the first day that senators can file legislation.
'Job-killing' report: House Republican leaders released a report Thursday morning outlining how the reform law is a "job-killer." The report says provisions penalizing employers for failing to provide coverage and new mandates on small businesses, mixed with economic uncertainty, can result in at least 1.6 million jobs lost.
The left disputes: The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) acknowledged that the CBO said the reform law could have some negative effects on the labor market. However, CBPP said, the CBO found “nothing that justifies the inflammatory 'job-killing' rhetoric invoked in House Republicans' efforts to repeal the legislation." http://bit.ly/dX4Efy
Sebelius corrects record: Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Blue Shield of California’s proposed massive hike on individual policyholders is not a result of the reform law. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Sebelius said. The insurer proposed Thursday morning increases of up to 59 percent for the individual market.
HELP Committee to defend reform: As Republicans in the House look to expose flaws in the reform law, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold hearings on the law’s benefits. The first one, scheduled for Jan. 27, will examine the law’s protections against health insurers. http://bit.ly/fCdmZF
Ryan to join health subcommittee: Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will join eight other Republicans on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), who was the subcommittee’s ranking member last Congress, is the new chairman. http://bit.ly/hPZsTd
One for repeal: An anti-reform group called on the 13 surviving House Democrats who voted against the reform law to support repeal next week. So far, five Democratic “no” votes told The Hill they will vote against repeal, while one said on Fox News this week he is likely to support repeal. http://bit.ly/efrYu2
One against repeal: A pro-reform doctors group submitted petitions to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) urging them to strengthen — and not repeal — the reform law. http://bit.ly/g52dlV
Rendell says Dems lacked courage: Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) said Democrats lost big at the polls in November because they lacked the courage to defend the reform law. http://bit.ly/exy7U4
HHS-HUD team up: The housing and health departments announced a partnership aimed at helping 1,000 non-elderly people with disabilities leave nursing homes and other institutions through a combination of rental assistance vouchers and healthcare and related support services. http://bit.ly/h1E2MS
Researchers question benefits of early access to generics: Giving drug makers longer exclusivity periods would increase costs in the short term but lead to more than 200 extra drug approvals and to greater life expectancy in the next several decades, according to a study in this month's Health Affairs. http://bit.ly/hcytsu
Report raises issues with reimbursement for novel diagnostics: The Biotechnology Industry Organization's report raises issues with the reimbursement system for complex and molecular diagnostics and catalogs potential reforms. http://bit.ly/eXrToI
FDA launches website for industry: The Food and Drug Administration has launched a website to help regulated companies interact with the agency. http://bit.ly/hAvuRH
Device industry issues code of ethics: The Advanced Medical Technology Association guidance focuses on business meals; items that can help educate professionals or benefit their patients; and conferences. http://bit.ly/eH5uci
On the agenda for Friday:
House to advance repeal bill: The full House is expected to take a procedural vote Friday that would clear the way for a vote on repealing the reform law on Wednesday. Democrats will likely continue to hammer the GOP for not letting them propose amendments to the two-page repeal bill.
Food-safety review: The Institute of Food Technologists will hold a forum examining the food-safety overhaul signed into law earlier this week.
Around the Web:
Zeke Emanuel left his job as White House health policy adviser this week, Kaiser Health News reports. http://bit.ly/fRL04N
Republicans who want medical malpractice reform should be concerned about violating the 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury, the tort lawyers lobby writes in the Huffington Post. http://huff.to/gGDQwz
Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.), who had been pressured by a liberal group to reject government-run insurance because of his opposition to the reform law, will accept congressional health benefits, the Las Vegas Sun reports. http://bit.ly/gjUQtC
Michigan’s new attorney general will continue the state’s lawsuit against the reform law, the Associated Press reports. http://bit.ly/h7ZnAh
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