OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House prepares to repeal device tax

“In sum, H.R. 436 would fund tax breaks for industry by raising taxes on middle-class and low-income families. Instead of working together to reduce health care costs, H.R. 436 chooses to refight old political battles over health care. If the President were presented with H.R. 436, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy.

The Hill has more.

Romney takes it up a notch: Mitt Romney said Wednesday that President Obama and his advisers “knowingly slowed down our recovery in order to put in place ObamaCare.” The White House, according to Romney, figured that no one would notice if recovery moved slowly. He was paraphrasing a book by journalist Noam Scheiber about the political trade-offs Obama made early in his administration, including the decision to pursue healthcare reform.

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Romney said the book shows that “they knew ... before they passed it” that the Affordable Care Act would slow the recovery, referring to a quote in which former economic adviser Larry Summers says healthcare was worth it even if it did slow the recovery, “which was unlikely in my view.”

Read the Healthwatch story.

Deadlines are for suckers:
The Health and Human Services Department has missed nearly half of its legal deadlines while implementing President Obama’s healthcare law, according to an analysis by the American Action Forum. By the AAF’s count, HHS has faced 42 statutory deadlines in the roughly two years since the Affordable Care Act became law — and missed 20 of them.

The missed deadlines are mostly small-bore policies, and some proposals were only late by a matter of days. Healthwatch has more details.

Next AMA chief calm on ruling: The American Medical Association's (AMA) incoming president says he doesn't expect chaos if the Supreme Court rules against all or part of the administration's healthcare law, according to a report. Jeremy Lazarus, a Denver psychiatrist, sat down with The Associated Press to discuss the upcoming decision and the anticipated fallout. He said that he doesn't "see doctors just throwing up their hands" if the decision isn't favorable to healthcare reform, but also acknowledged that all the uncertainty is "unsettling." The AMA has backed the Affordable Cart Act over objections from some members.

Read more here.

Wednesday's agenda

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will speak at a women's health event at 10 a.m. The event will be broadcast online at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) will hold a press conference on a new dental-coverage bill at 11:30 a.m.

H.R. 436, a Republican bill to repeal the medical device excise tax, will be on the House floor.


State by state

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Richmond, Va., Tuesday to discuss healthcare with a group of women, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Doctors in Virginia, meanwhile, are suing over a provision of a state health law they see as onerous. The Washington Times has the story.

Officials in New York have reached a deal on tighter online oversight for prescription drugs, The Associated Press reports.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a dermatologist, is pushing a constitutional amendment for the state that would help fund Medicaid. The Birmingham News has more.

Kansas will resubmit a request to overhaul its $2.9 billion-a-year Medicaid program, The Associated Press reports.


Reading list

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted initiatives to encourage health IT breakthroughs, Modern Healthcare reports (registration required).

California's Medicaid program got high marks from enrollees in a recent survey. The Washington Post has more.

The Wall Street Journal has an update on federal efforts to regulate "bath salts," a range of dangerous designer drugs tied to violent behavior.

Telemedicine is helping to address shortages of child psychiatrists, KY3 News in Springfield, Mo., reports.

Is sunscreen flammable? The New York Times wonders.

A study found that autism could be tied to less folic acid in pregnancy, Reuters reports.


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