By Elise Viebeck and Sam Baker - 05/08/13 10:30 PM EDT
The House will vote yet again next week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as GOP leaders try to help their freshmen stake out a firmly anti-ObamaCare voting record. Some conservatives balked at a bill last month that they saw as a "fix" to the healthcare law, saying freshmen shouldn't be asked to vote on smaller measures until they've had a chance to cast a purely symbolic vote for full repeal. That chance will come next week, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.
Although conservatives are getting the repeal vote they wanted, some of them said they still won't back the "fix" bill Cantor pulled from the floor last month. The bill would cut the healthcare law's prevention fund and use the money to beef up high-risk insurance pools. Some Republican lawmakers say they just can't live with that, repeal vote or not.
Healthwatch has the story on next week's vote.
Picking apart prices: Medicare released stunning figures Wednesday on how much hospitals around the country charge for routine procedures. The findings weren't surprising — it turns out that even in the same metro area, the price of basic healthcare can vary by tens of thousands of dollars. Take Los Angeles, Calif., for example, where the cost of treating pneumonia varies by $100,000, or Dallas, where a joint replacement can run from $43,000 to $161,000.
The Obama administration and healthcare advocates touted the new report as a major step toward transparency in U.S. healthcare pricing. The American Hospital Association (AHA) emphasized that it backs price transparency legislation and that members provided $41 billion in charity care in 2011.
"Variation in charges ... is a byproduct of the marketplace so all parties must be involved in a solution, including the government," said AHA President Rich Umbdenstock. Read more on the Medicare figures at Healthwatch.
Tracking drugs: A bipartisan bill to allow federal regulators to
track individual medication advanced in the House Energy and Commerce
Committee Wednesday. Supporters touted the measure as a boon for the
integrity of the U.S. drug supply, while others criticized the bill for
setting a 2027 deadline for regulators to propose rules on unit-level
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has urged Congress to enact more rigorous standards, citing rising sophistication among criminals that profit from counterfeit medications.
“If we don't know the chain of custody of a product,” she continued, “if we have to reconstruct that later, through questioning people, that could cause great delays” in recalling the product or finding out where the problems occurred, said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Read more about the vote at RegWatch.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on pharmacy compounding.
The House Small Business subcommittee on Health and Technology will hold a hearing on the healthcare law's insurance fee.
State by state
Colorado launches ad campaign for new online marketplace
Brewer's Medicaid push still facing opposition
San Francisco surrenders in fight over cellphone warnings
All-Circo / North Shore University Health System
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / University of Houston
Dems say there's a reason they're not selling ObamaCare yet
Understanding premium changes under ObamaCare
Sun's blood pressure benefits 'may outdo cancer risks'
Wrigley halts caffeinated gum
What you might have missed on Healthwatch
GOP lawmaker: I was almost aborted
Bill would enhance FDA's antibiotics reporting
Dems push regulators on arsenic in fruit juice
GOP questions stimulant use in dietary supplements
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