This week: Taking care of business

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Obama's new welfare policy has become a flashpoint in the presidential race, and Republicans have generated lots of attention with their opposition to the waivers. Democrats in Congress charge that the GOP's focus is a bid for the votes of white, working-class voters who associates welfare with African-Americans.
 
A range of healthcare issues will receive attention the rest of the week.
 
On Monday, the Institute of Medicine will release a report on substance-abuse disorders in the U.S. military. The review comes at the behest of members of Congress, who have expressed concern that service members are struggling to help when addicted to prescription drugs and other substances.
 
On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark up bills to reduce pre-term births, promote research on deadly cancers, adjust rules for laboratory certification and confirm nominations in the Public Health Service. Several of the bills have House companions that are stuck in committee.
 
The House Oversight subcommittee on Healthcare will hold a hearing on Medicaid overpayments and the Obama administration’s failure — in Republicans’ view — to “prevent and end” them. That event will take place Thursday.
 
Advocates with Research!America and United for Medical Research will release an opinion poll, also Thursday, on the automatic budget cuts set to hit on Jan. 1 and their impact on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the “entire innovation ecosystem.” The effort is one of several recent pushes to highlight what is at stake for the healthcare sector in the sequester's 2 percent cut to Medicare. If the current sustainable growth rate fix is also allowed to expire, Medicare providers would see an additional 27 percent to their reimbursements next year.
 
The groups will roll out the poll findings with a press conference at the National Press Club.
 
And on Friday, the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee will hold a hearing on Medicare Advantage (MA) and other health plans. In announcing the hearing, panel chairman Wally Herger (R-Calif.) attacked the healthcare law, saying that it cut MA funding by "more than $300 billion" — a charge likely to be the focus of the event.