By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 06/17/14 08:12 PM EDT
Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor, was grilled by senators at a hearing Tuesday over his claims that certain substances can cause “miracle” weight loss.
From The Hill’s report: “Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” took fire from lawmakers in a hearing that generated buzz on Capitol Hill.
“’I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true,’ Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told Oz in a comment typical of the hearing's tone.
“Lawmakers are taking an interest in diet fads after a string of actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against fraudulent players in the industry." Read more here: http://bit.ly/1pdUJBW
CBO STICKS TO O-CARE NUMBERS: The Congressional Budget Office says it is sticking to its original estimates for cost savings created by ObamaCare after it recently announced it could no longer score certain parts of the law. http://bit.ly/1smxfOA
The agency recently stated it was no longer able to measure economic impacts of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leading lawmakers to question if its original estimates were still valid.
CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation responded to a number of questions from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the Senate Budget Committee’s ranking member, about the economic impacts of the Affordable Care Act and said they are keeping their original numbers.
In 2010, CBO and JCT estimated ObamaCare would cut the federal budget deficit by $124 billion between 2010 and 2019.
HOSPICES SLAM CMS RULES: Hospice groups say rules are preventing patients from getting access to necessary medications.
From The Hill’s report: “During a lobby day on Capitol Hill, more than 240 advocates called on Medicare to withdraw a new ‘prior authorization’ process for drugs used for hospice patients.
“’We appreciate your agency's effort to protect taxpayer dollars by making sure that Medicare is not paying double for prescription drugs for beneficiaries who have elected hospice care,’ states a congressional letter to Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner.
“’However, any efforts to address this concern with hospice providers and the Medicare Part D plans cannot be done at the expense of vulnerable patients seeking end-of-life care.’” Read more here: http://bit.ly/1pdOADS
HOUSE CALLS HEARING ON MEDICAL INNOVATION: The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to hold a second roundtable meeting next Tuesday with stakeholders to talk about what Congress should and should not do to encourage medical innovation.
The committee said it plans to hold the hearing on June 24 and released a report outlining the kinds of questions it is looking to answer.
The report states medical innovation is moving very rapidly and offers potential in terms of aggregating large amounts of health records to look for disease trends.
It also says new technology to help detect certain genetic markers long before a patient becomes ill and new mobile applications can help cater treatments to individuals.
However, the committee notes these new technologies raise certain questions about how to legislate and regulate the medical industry. http://bit.ly/1kLwDZb
OBAMA, SEBELIUS PRAISE O-CARE RECRUITERS: President Obama and former Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius thanked recruiters with Enroll America for helping to launch ObamaCare on Tuesday.
Enroll America has close ties to the Obama administration, and campaigned around the country to sign people up for the new healthcare exchanges.
In a video message to attendees at the State of Enrollment conference, Obama praised the recruiters, community organizers, hospital leaders, navigators, faith leaders and elected officials who he said helped more than 8 million people sign up for health insurance.
Sebelius, who recently left HHS and was replaced by Sylvia Burwell, echoed many of Obama's sentiments and said even before the first enrollment period began, the Affordable Care Act was under attack from conservative media and Congress.
She noted opponents of the law outspent the government in getting their message out by 4 to 1. The government only spent $70 million to promote the law. http://bit.ly/1iF0K4S
BESHEAR KNOCKS KENTUCKY GOP SENATORS: Also speaking at the conference, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) jabbed Kentucky’s Republican senators, who he said are suddenly sounding like they support the state’s healthcare exchange.
Beshear noted that Sen. Rand Paul and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have both argued that Kentucky’s exchange could live on if ObamaCare was repealed.
“As you know, our two U.S. senators are among President Obama's most vehement critics and quite honestly voters in Kentucky don't support the president very strongly,” he said.
“Now that we have 421,000 potential voters in Kentucky signed up for healthcare, our senators and others seem to be looking at it a little differently and trying to talk about it a little differently,” he added.
Paul and McConnell have both made comments that if the Affordable Care Act was repealed the state’s own health exchange created under the law could survive. http://bit.ly/1yfMRUs
ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY:
The House Oversight subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs will hold a hearing on how insurance companies may be benefiting from ObamaCare at a cost to patients.
Testifying before the panel are Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and CMS Acting Deputy Administrator Mandy Cohen. Sessions along with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) recently questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell’s authority to pay some health insurance companies for offering insurance plans to sicker consumers under the Temporary Risk Corridors Program. http://bit.ly/1l2gxjx
The House Ways and Means Health subcommittee will hold a hearing to discuss the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s June report, released last week.
The report proposes several ways to improve Medicare payment systems, including synchronizing Medicare policy across payment models, improving risk adjustment in the program and improving quality of care measurements.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to examine the delivery of healthcare to veterans through private providers.
The hearing comes weeks after Senate Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) struck a deal to fix the VA system. Their bill includes giving veterans a "choice card" that would allow them to see a non-VA provider in some cases. http://bit.ly/1qadx4x
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing to discuss e-cigarette marketing and the potential effects on children.
E-cigarettes have come under fire from health advocates, state legislatures and Democrats who warn the products could carry serious health risks.
Lawmakers also say the industry is targeting children; the devices can now be purchased by people of any age in many states.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP/ Alliance for Connected Care
Forbes-Tate/ National Network of Abortion Funds
Forbes-Tate/ The National Football League Players Association
The Ickes and Enright Group, Inc./ The Research Foundation for the State University of New York
Van Scoyoc Associates/ HITRUST Services Corp.
STATE BY STATE:
Poll: Voters like guv’s ‘Healthy Utah Plan’: http://bit.ly/1r3BrP2
Report: W. Va. could lose more than $200M in federal Medicaid money: http://bit.ly/UJySas
Many New York health insurers could avoid sharp rate increases: http://bit.ly/1uBI1wh
Kansas hospitals crafting Medicaid expansion proposal: http://bit.ly/1i8VaNo
$1,000 a pill Sovaldi jolts US healthcare system: http://bit.ly/1nizagj
Insurers push back against growing cost of cancer treatments: http://bit.ly/UJyXuI
Novartis, Pfizer seek U.S. approval of meningitis vaccines: http://reut.rs/1lQkp6n
How to choose a hospice: http://nyti.ms/1jx3Acf
Lawmakers urge Medicare coverage for cancer test: http://abcn.ws/UJz0H2
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED AT THE HILL:
Are smartphones the best medicine?: http://bit.ly/1lwW3K4
Starbucks CEO: O-Care a 'net positive': http://bit.ly/1kLwUvh