OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House Dems reject Medicare cuts

Healthwatch has the story.

The more things change: Committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over healthcare will stay in familiar hands for the next two years. House Republicans hammered out committee leaders Wednesday, and the big healthcare panels saw few changes. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) will still lead the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) will remain atop the panel's Healthcare subcommittee.

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Of note: Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a doctor who has aggressively investigated the White House's 2009 deal with pharmaceutical companies, is the new vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Oversight subcommittee. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) will chair the subcommittee, taking over for the defeated Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).

And Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is, unsurprisingly, back for another two years as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare.

Rights and privileges: Mississippi's sole abortion clinic is back in the headlines as it seeks to block a state law requiring its physicians to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Groups that support abortion rights call the law a thinly veiled attempt to shut the Jackson Women's Health Organization, since local hospitals have denied admitting privileges or refused to consider them for the clinic's doctors. Advocates of the policy say it is meant to protect women's health. Several have also expressed a desire to shut down the clinic. Reuters has more about the court motion filed Wednesday.

Insure yourself: Self-insured health plans are on the rise among private-sector employers, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) said Wednesday. The firm called the trend a sign that employers are increasingly sensitive to cost concerns, and said it might continue as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, noting that Massachusetts has seen an increase in the share of workers covered by self-insured plans since implementing its own healthcare reform bill in 2006. With self-insured health plans, companies assume the financial risk associated with covering workers rather than transferring that risk to an insurer. Read more about the EBRI study at Healthwatch.


Thursday's agenda

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will commemorate World AIDS Day 2012 and unveil a roadmap for "achieving an AIDS-free generation."

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons is holding a fly-in to lobby Congress on payment cuts under Medicare's sustainable growth rate and as a result of the so-called "fiscal cliff."

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing on the rising rate of autism.


State by state

DEA probes Walgreens pharmacies on prescription drugs in Florida

Michigan studies Medicaid expansion

Mississippi West Nile cases up to 244 for year


Reading list

Simple measures cut infections caught in hospitals

Judge allows civil suits in meningitis outbreak to proceed

Study questions benefits of many double mastectomies


What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Study finds potential toxins in most US couches

GOP lawmaker calls for tougher fight against Medicare fraud

Poll: Voters support taxing rich, skeptical of raising Medicare age


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Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Elise Viebeck: eviebeck@thehill.com / 202-628-8523

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