OVERNIGHT HEALTH: After delay, repeal vote coming next week

Welcome to The Hill's evening roundup of the day's health policy news and advance look at tomorrow's schedule.

Thursday’s health news:

Repeal vote next week: A vote on repealing the healthcare reform law will be held next week, a spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirmed Thursday afternoon. A detailed schedule will be released Friday. http://bit.ly/fYOlN7

A vote on the repeal bill, a priority of the House’s new Republican majority, had been scheduled for Wednesday of this week until leaders delayed its consideration following Saturday’s shooting tragedy in Arizona. When Congress returns to debate the repeal bill, it will be interesting to take the temperature of the rhetoric. Some lawmakers have called for toned-down language in light of the Arizona shooting, which left six people dead and their colleague, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), critically wounded.

Appropriations cardinal ready to take on 1099: The new chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee's Financial Services subcommittee told The Hill she is ready to use the appropriations process to eliminate the healthcare reform law’s 1099 provision requiring businesses to report payments over $600 to vendors for the purchase of goods. http://bit.ly/gDLipm

Meanwhile, fast action expected on 1099: House Republicans signaled that repealing the 1099 provision is one of their top priorities — after repeal of the entire healthcare reform law itself. Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) last week already introduced a 1099 repeal bill, which was numbered H.R. 144, but it was renumbered to H.R. 4 on Wednesday.

The White House and lawmakers agree the requirement should be removed, but not enough lawmakers have yet agreed on how to do it. H.R. 4 has 245 co-sponsors, including 12 Democrats. http://bit.ly/gU0W2r

Consumer advocates say new FDA guidelines not enough: The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen is criticizing federal regulators for not extending new limits on acetaminophen to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Thursday it is restricting the amount of acetaminophen in combination prescription painkillers to 325 milligrams because of acetaminophen's link to liver damager. However, the FDA left OTC drugs, which make up 80 percent of the acetaminophen market, untouched. http://bit.ly/gtfe9k

For more on acetaminophen: http://bit.ly/DEgxP

More data needed on disparities: There is insufficient evidence regarding the effectiveness of certain interventions in reducing healthcare disparities based on income level, race/ethnicity, gender and other attributes, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. The report also said more national healthcare data is needed on disability status and sexual orientation. http://bit.ly/fuq6mn

Insurers warn against exchange requirements: America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) urged federal advisers against recommending specific "essential" items or services that must be included in health plans offered on new exchanges starting up in 2014. The health insurance lobby said the requirements set by the reform law are already specific enough. http://bit.ly/gCVcEt

New surveys show interest in EHR incentives: About 80 percent of hospitals and 40 percent of physicians are planning to apply for Medicare and Medicaid incentives for using electronic health record (EHR) technology, according to new surveys announced by President Obama’s health information technology czar. About two-thirds (65 percent) of hospitals and 32 percent of office-based physicians plan to enroll in meaningful use programs by the end of 2012 in order to receive the maximum incentives available under the 2009 stimulus package. http://bit.ly/giQTJ7

Nutrition groups praise school meals proposal: Child nutrition advocates are hailing a proposed rule that would tighten school lunch nutrition standards as part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce childhood obesity. The proposed rule would require that by the 2012-2013 school year, schools increase the availability of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free and low-fat milk in school meals while reducing their sodium and saturated-fat levels. The standards also set age-based calorie requirements. http://bit.ly/emL2GO

Miller applauds: Rep. George Miller (Calif.), the Education and Workforce Committee's ranking Democrat, said the proposed rule follows through on the child nutrition reauthorization signed by President Obama earlier this year.

"The proposed rule today follows the spirit of the law by overhauling and improving the foods served to our nation's children," Miller said. "These sweeping changes will make a huge difference in our schools, for our children and for the future of our country."

Pharma’s top 11 for ’11: Tompkins Associates lists the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical products industries’ top 11 priorities for the new year. http://bit.ly/hbihsa

Health insurers boost Medicaid changes: With a number of states considering Medicaid cuts to balance their budgets, AHIP is circulating three Medicaid reports: one on Medicaid managed care cost savings, one on adding value to states and beneficiaries and another on innovations in Medicaid managed care.

Tobacco penalties might pose risk: States’ tobacco taxes may encourage individuals to use more harmful tobacco products, according to a new report from the free-market National Center for Policy Analysis.

On the agenda for Friday:

RNC chairman vote: The Republican National Committee (RNC) is scheduled to vote on a chairman Friday. The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, has been campaigning hard for the committee to elect a chairman with likeminded views. Current RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who is facing an uphill battle for reelection, angered anti-abortion-rights advocates two years ago when he called abortion “an individual choice,” but he recently backtracked from those remarks.

Abortion-rights advocate's outlook: NARAL Pro-Choice America on Friday will release its 20th edition of a report grading states on women’s reproductive rights.

MedPAC meeting wraps: The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) will finish up its two-day meeting with a focus on assessing payment adequacy for long-term care hospital services and hospice care, as well as an update on quality in the Medicare Advantage program. http://bit.ly/eqaIUM

Around the Web:

MedPAC recommended that Medicare beneficiaries make a copayment for home health visits, The Associated Press reports. http://wapo.st/euK1QB

A Massachusetts requirement for individuals to purchase health insurance was pivotal to the success of the state’s universal healthcare system, The Boston Globe reports. http://bit.ly/ga5CoO

Kaiser Health News provides a guide on accountable care organizations, which are encouraged by the reform law. http://bit.ly/gswTKy

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a rumored 2012 Republican presidential candidate, said healthcare costs will “bankrupt” the state unless workers chip in more for medical coverage, Bloomberg reports. http://bit.ly/gtGUNi

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) formed a state healthcare commission to implement the federal reform law, The Associated Press reports. http://bit.ly/feMjHm

A Health Affairs blog recommends a more permanent fix to the Medicare physician payment formula. http://bit.ly/fMHKbe


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Jason Millman: jmillman@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

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