OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Medicare to unveil new ACO efforts

Dems keep up the pressure: Meanwhile, Democrats took their offensive on the Medicare plan up a notch with automated calls that say Republicans will “end Medicare.” As The Hill’s Erik Wasson notes, the calls are rather specific: They tell the listener that “you have paid into Medicare for 25 years” and give a precise figure for how much more his or her healthcare would cost.

So does the anti-tax crowd: The National Taxpayers Union on Monday sent a letter to Congress demanding the repeal of President Obama’s healthcare reform as a condition for raising the debt ceiling. Read The Hill's story

HHS details cuts: The Health and Human Services Department released details on Monday about where it will make the roughly $2.5 billion in cuts that Congress passed in its last spending bill. The continuing resolution made across-the-board cuts and left it up to each department to figure out where it would find the money.

HHS plans to cut a program that funds residency slots for pediatricians, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthwatch’s Julian Pecquet has the story.

Praise for Kohl: The Eldercare Workforce Alliance praised Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) for his attention to seniors’ issues on Monday, following his announcement last week that he won’t seek reelection in 2012. Kohl chairs the Senate Aging Committee and has been active on a range of healthcare issues, including the administering of drugs in nursing homes.

"Senator Kohl’s commitment to improving the lives of older adults is measurable and inspiring,” the alliance said in a statement.

Kohl is also the Senate’s leading advocate for a ban on certain settlements in lawsuits between brand-name and generic drugmakers. 

ACO costs: Medicare estimated that the cost of establishing and running an accountable care organization would be about $1.8 million in the first year. The total might end up being as high as $26 million, the American Hospital Association said in a letter to Berwick. Healthwatch has the story.

What you might have missed on Healthwatch:

Researcher Joe Selby was tapped as the first executive director for the new comparative effectiveness institute created by healthcare reform.

HHS on Friday granted two more adjustments to new rules that govern how insurers spend their money. The department also announced that it granted 200 more waivers from the new law's restrictions on annual benefit limits.

HHS announced $100 million in grants to help bolster preventive health programs.

Recent lobbying registrations:

Alston & Bird / Almost Family (home health nursing, rehabilitation and personal care services)

Dumbarton Group / National Association of Portable X-Ray Providers

Dumbarton Group / New Century Health (oncology management)

Ikaria (pharmaceutical and medical device research, development and marketing)

Loper Consulting / Consumer Healthcare Products Association (trade association for over-the-counter products and dietary supplements)

Reading list:

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) urged state lawmakers to move quickly on a bill that would change the way the state pays for healthcare, The Boston Globe reports.

The Charleston, W.Va., Gazette notes that the state's two Democratic senators are on opposite sides of a spending plan that could lead to major Medicare and Medicaid cuts.

The Baltimore Sun takes a look at programs that offer STD screenings to seniors.

Comments / complaints / suggestions? Please let us know:

Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com / 202-628-8527
Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch