By Healthwatch staff - 07/12/11 11:15 PM EDT
IPAB, Round 2: Wednesday is Day Two of House Republicans' assault on the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an expert cost-control panel created under healthcare reform. The Energy and Commerce Committee has a major hearing planned, with four witness panels and testimony from several members of Congress as well as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
During Tuesday's IPAB hearing in the Budget Committee, Sebelius defended the IPAB in part by contrasting it with Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's Medicare plan. And she'll likely continue that line of defense even when Ryan isn't asking the questions. Healthwatch's Sam Baker has the story from Tuesday's hearing.
Ryan's budget also appears to be the way out for Democrats who oppose the IPAB. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) has co-sponsored a bill to repeal the IPAB, but she didn't even mention the panel during the Budget Committee hearing. And her prepared testimony for Wednesday's Energy and Commerce meeting is also heavy with attacks on the GOP plan.
"We cannot conceal fundamental flaws in our health care system by simply cutting reimbursements to hospitals and physicians or, even worse, ending Medicare as we know it, as Republicans have proposed," Schwartz' remarks state.
All of the prepared testimony is here.
One more lawsuit: A pharmacy trade group has sued the Department of Health and Human Services in Texas district court to stop the implementation of preferred pharmacy networks. The regulation steering Medicare beneficiaries to preferred in-network pharmacies was adopted in 2006, according to American Pharmacies, but the Medicare agency has just recently entered into the first agreement, the Humana Wal-Mart Preferred RX Plan.
Costly cuts: Teaching hospitals continue their campaign to preserve Medicare funding with the release of a new report that concludes that proposed cuts would result in a loss of nearly 73,000 full-time jobs in 44 states and $654 million in local and state revenue. Meanwhile, Wednesday's Senate HELP Committee's mark-up of legislation to reauthorize Graduate Medical Education for Children's Hospitals has been postponed until next week.
Campus crusade: More than 50 members of both parties have signed on to legislation that would increase the incentive payments for multicampus hospitals that adopt health information technology systems.
Angry AARP: The seniors' lobby launches new ads decrying proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits that are on the table as part of debt-ceiling negotiations. Simultaneously, more than 100 AARP leaders will meet with members of Congress to make their stance clear.
Sustaining Medicare: The House Budget Committee hears from Medicare actuary Rick Foster about the sustainability of the federal health program. Social Security actuary Stephen Goss testifies about the retirement program's solvency.
Holland & Knight / Daley Policy Group (treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Capitol Hill Partners / Senior Service America (reauthorization of the Older Americans Act)
Ms. Catherine McCullough / Alliance Surgical Distributors (physician-owned medical device distribution advancement)
The systems in place to catch Medicaid fraud are inadequate, reports the Associated Press. The AP's review of a recent Government Accountability Office report comes as the Senate federal financial management subcommittee took up the issue Tuesday and explored other ways to combat Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Time explains why July is the most dangerous time to go to the hospital.
What you might have missed on Healthwatch:
Hospitals short on prescription drugs
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