By Healthwatch staff - 03/14/11 09:45 PM EDT
Dems put more pressure on GOP lawmakers with federal healthcare: Supporters of the Democrats' healthcare reform law are calling on all lawmakers to disclose whether they receive congressional health benefits, part of an ongoing effort to portray Republican opponents as hypocrites for receiving government-subsidized care. Jason Millman has the story.
Aging advocates build CLASS support: With House Republicans set to hold a hearing this week on the much-maligned CLASS Act, Leading Age is launching a telephone campaign to build support for the healthcare reform program. The aging advocates are asking Congress to keep the long-term community support program intact after the president's fiscal commission recommended repealing or reforming the program over solvency concerns. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the department will work on reforming the program.
"We are committed to seeing that the program is put into effect because without CLASS, we are left with Medicaid as the primary source of public funding for the services we provide," Leading Age wrote. "This situation is not sustainable for consumers, for providers, or for the federal and state governments, for which Medicaid represents an ever larger budgetary burden."
Japan quake sparks nuclear health fears: Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Monday requested a hearing on the safety and preparedness of nuclear plants. On a related note, the House Homeland Security's subcommittee on emergency preparedness holds a hearing Thursday on “Ensuring effective preparedness, response, and recovery for events impacting health security.”
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association's Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal has a special issue on nuclear preparedness that's accessible to the public.
3 Dems vs. IPAB: Rep. Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) has joined fellow Democrats Shelley Berkley (Nev.) and Michael Capuano (Mass.) on Republican legislation to repeal healthcare reform's Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Sebelius woos pediatricians: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted healthcare reform's investments in care for children Monday while steering clear of her department's proposed cuts to graduate medical education. Speaking to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Legislative Conference, Sebelius drew attention to the law's ban on pre-existing condition exclusions for children; its investments in home visitation programs; and its coverage of preventive health.
"When you add all these changes up," she said in prepared remarks, "it’s one of the most ambitious children’s health agendas in our country’s history."
Gingrey's grilling: Rep. Phil Gingrey's past has been under a microscope since the Georgia Republican took the lead on medical malpractice reform. First, The New York Times reported that he's been involved in a $500,000 settlement of a malpractice lawsuit. Now, the consumer organization Public Citizen has discovered that the congressman sought damages for “mental pain” and punitive damages in a lawsuit over car-crash injuries he suffered in 2004.
Pre-order today: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is releasing his anti-Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act opus next Wednesday to mark the law's one-year anniversary. The book's title: "Doctor in the House: A physician-turned-congressman offers his prescription for scrapping Obamacare — and saving America's medical system."
Waivers under the spotlight: The House Oversight Committee's Health subpanel is looking into healthcare reform waivers granted by the Obama administration. The hearing comes a week after the administration announced that the number of waivers for the law's annual limit requirements climbed past 1,000, much to the criticism of Republican lawmakers. Scheduled to testify: Steve Larsen, director of the HHS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, and Edmund Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies.
In denial: One of the questions expected to come up: Why did the administration reject 79 applications covering 266,000 people? View the list of denied requests here.
Medicaid report due: The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission is scheduled to hand in its first-ever report to Congress on Tuesday. Things to watch out for: whether the commission will ask cash-strapped states to collect more data, and the creation of an early-warning system to identify provider shortage areas or another care problems.
Research heads come together: Research!America pulls together a star-studded cast of federal agency heads to discuss building the nation's economy through medical research. On tap for a panel discussion: Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health; Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
Aging focus on quality: The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging hosts a roundtable discussion on care and quality of life for assisted living community residents. The 1 p.m. hearing is in Hart 216.
As demand is soaring, state mental-health funding is taking a huge hit, The Associated Press reports.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota and Fairview Health Services are moving ahead with an accountable care organization, the Star Tribune reports.
The HHS Center for New Media checks in from the SXSWi conference in Austin.
The Government Accountability Office has a new report on drug prices between 2006 and 2010.
Lobbyist registrations (since Thursday):
• Manatt, Phelps & Phillips / American TeleCare (medical/health technology vendor)
• Peck, Madigan, Jones & Stewart / HealthSpring (coordinated care/Medicare Advantage)
• Podesta Group / Henry Schein, Inc. (dental, medical and veterinary care equipment)
• Viohl and Associates / Five Rivers Medical Center (general medical and surgical hospital)
• Viohl and Associates / IU Health Starke Hospital
Klein to H&K: Holland & Knight announced Monday that former Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) has joined the firm's Public Policy & Regulation Group as a partner, focusing on government regulation and compliance in healthcare and other sectors. Klein lost his reelection bid to Republican Allen West.
What you might have missed on Healthwatch:
The CDC has awarded $10 million for innovative solutions to combat hospital-acquired conditions.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to look into prescription drug counterfeiting.
The approaching anniversary of healthcare reform is driving this week's news.
The Obama administration is looking into annual limit waivers in 2012 and 2013.
Republicans and Democrats are upset over President Obama's proposal to slash graduate medical education.