By Healthwatch staff - 02/07/11 10:30 PM EST
"We want to make sure that Americans get affordable support and care they need, at any age, without being financially prohibited from services," Greenlee writes. "Reforming the CLASS Program is one step in that direction."
Exchange flexibility: Twenty-one Republican governors asked the Obama Administration in a Monday letter to grant them significant flexibility to implement and run new health insurance exchanges. The governors, recommending six specific changes, compared the reform law to a trainwreck, but they said they would be willing to help implement the exchanges if the feds are "willing to reroute the train to a different, more productive track."
A boost for Daniels?: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) made the governors' case in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday morning. The op-ed gave Daniels, a potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate, an opportunity to raise his national profile.
McDonnell stands out: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) wrote his own letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to back flexibility for the states.
Senate Dems promise to block abortion: With House Republicans hosting two hearings on abortion legislation this week, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are accusing Republicans of abandoning promises to focus on the economy by pursing new abortion restrictions. The Democratic senators, staunch defenders of women's reproductive rights, say they are committed to blocking the House's legislation in the upper chamber.
Bill targets drug shortages: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) dropped a bill requiring prescription drug manufacturers to give early notification to the Food and Drug Administration of any incident that would likely result in a drug shortage.
ACOs on the horizon: A highly anticipated proposed regulation for new accountable care organizations will be out “very soon,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick told the National Health Policy Conference Monday morning.
Patient safety on tap: CMS and other federal agencies will roll out the “largest” national patient safety effort ever over the coming months, Berwick said.
Docs should implement: With new uncertainty over the future of the reform law after a federal judge struck it down last week, Berwick urged care providers to continue their efforts to implement the law.
“Stay with it,” Berwick told reporters. “We need implementation. We need a focus on the patient, quality of care, better care, better health, lower costs through improvements that I talked about – that’s going to remain true for the foreseeable future.”
Pharmacists blast Sebelius' Medicaid savings proposal: Members of the National Community Pharmacists Association "respectfully disagree" with the secretary's proposal that states shift to mail order pharmacies in order to cut Medicaid costs.
Regs wish list: Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Monday released industry responses he received about what government rules and regulations they consider burdensome. While gripes about the Environmental Protection Agency grabbed the most headlines, groups took the time to weigh in about healthcare. Here's some of the wishlist:
- Business Roundtable – eliminate employer insurance requirements and extend mini-med waivers past 2014.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce – provide more careful review of healthcare regs and provide better opportunity for public comment.
- American Hospital Association – create anti-trust safe harbor to protect clinical integration programs and clarify "meaningful use" rules for health IT incentives in the 2009 stimulus.
- Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council – repeal major components of healthcare reform, including individual and employer mandates.
- National Community Pharmacists Association – give a permanent exemption from competitive bidding for independent pharmacie.
Abortion legislation: The House Judiciary Committee hosts the first abortion hearing of the new Congress. The panel will take up H.R. 3, which is Rep. Chris Smith's (R-N.J.) No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The witness list includes: Richard Doerflinger of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Sara Rosenbaum, from George Washington University's public health school; and Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council.
House and Senate Dems are scheduled to hold separate press conferences before the Tuesday hearing.
Reform constitutionality: A week after a federal judge in Florida struck down the entire healthcare reform law, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is hosting a debate on the law's constitutionality.
Health conference wraps: The second and final day of the National Health Policy Conference kicks off with representatives from key House and Senate committees.
ACOs on the Hill: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), chair of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, hosts officials with the American Medical Group Association and Texas Health Resource to talk about accountable care organizations.
FDA news coming: The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health will make an announcement Tuesday.
Massachusetts granted waivers for the state's individual mandate to 63 percent of people who requested them in 2010, the Boston Globe reports.
Fox and The CW (CBS-Warner Brothers) are among the worst offenders when it comes to showing tobacco products on shows kids watch, says a new study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
U.S. News & World Report highlights 18 of the nation's best nursing homes.
Pennsylvania's Republican lawmakers are considering a bill to shield the state from the individual mandate, the Associated Press reports.
What you might have missed on Healthwatch:
Eight Democratic attorneys general defended the constitutionality of the reform law and pledge to implement it.
A bill designed to ensure that the healthcare reform law does not fund abortion services is reigniting a debate over a healthcare provider’s right to refuse abortion services.
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