OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP hammers Medicare board with Dem's help

Focus: The Republican majority in the House has certainly attacked healthcare reform a lot, but the intensity around the IPAB has been particularly concentrated. As Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) put it, Republicans set aside their broader objections to focus on "this one section that … scares the s--- out of us."

Democrats, meanwhile, wanted to talk about the GOP's Medicare plan. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius brought her answers around to the Medicare proposal repeatedly, and committee Democrats made it the thrust of their questioning at Wednesday's hearing.

Healthwatch's Sam Baker has more.

Glitch fix: Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said she'll introduce legislation next week to amend language in the healthcare reform law that would allow up to three million middle-class Americans to become eligible for Medicaid. Medicare actuary Richard Foster points out that the change would also affect the law's health insurance subsidies, however. Healthwatch's Julian Pecquet has the story.

Ryan support: The blunt-spoken Foster made more news when he told the House Budget Committee that Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) Medicare overhaul has the potential to help the program transition to one that rewards quality rather than quantity, a key goal of Democrat's healthcare reform law. He stopped short, however, of endorsing the Ryan premium support proposal, which has been criticized as potentially leaving seniors to foot a much greater portion of their healthcare bills than they do now.

"Premium support ... could accommodate these kinds of more efficient delivery systems and payment mechanisms," Foster told reporters after the hearing. "That all depends on [its] design."


Thursday's agenda

School health: Education and Health and Human Services secretaries Arne Duncan and Kathleen Sebelius will make an announcement about school-based healthcare in the morning. The healthcare reform law set aside $200 million for construction and expansion of school-based health centers that serve students and their communities, but Republicans in the House voted to defund the provision.

Medical device spending: The medical device lobby — the Advanced Medical Technology Association — releases a new report estimating medical-device spending in the United States and how price changes compare to standard indexes such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Medical CPI. Introducing the report will be former Medicare actuary Roland King.


Lobbying registrations:

Viohl & Associates / Stamford Memorial Hospital (critical access hospital designation)

Viohl & Associates / Sayre Memorial Hospital (critical access hospital designation)

Viohl & Associates / Anson General Hospital (critical access hospital designation)

Washington2 Advocates / Regence Group (associated health plans)

Junto Solutions / PhRMA, on behalf of We Work For Health

Health Policy Source / Park Nicollet Health Services (nonprofit integrated healthcare delivery system)

Health Policy Source / Dean Clinic (integrated care)

Health Policy Source / Center for Improving Value in Health Care (Colorado healthcare system)

Dalrymple & Associates / Discovery Laboratories (biodefense & civilian drug development)

Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates / Tethys Bioscience (diagnostics)

Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates / Navigenics (personalized genomic analysis service provider)

Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates / Association for Molecular Pathology

Ben Barnes Group / Fair Laboratory Practices Association (Medicare reimbursements)

Cornerstone Government Affairs / Food Allergy Initiative (funding for food allergy research and clinical trials)


Reading list

Michelle Obama will be the first public figure to grace the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. She's touting "ideas and inspiration to help American families eat right."

The New York Times reviews employers' rationale for dropping workers into the healthcare law's insurance exchanges.


What you might have missed on Healthwatch:

Care coordination effort tops 2,000 doctors.

Officials unveil infection prevention guide for outpatient care.

Van Hollen to Ryan: How about a hearing on tax rates?


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