Healthcare Monday

“I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular,” Axelrod said. “But people are focused on this economy right now — they’ve got anxiety about this economy. That’s what’s driving the vote right now.”

Republicans disagree: The trickle of mixed news has rekindled calls from some Republicans to defund the law if the GOP takes over in November, with Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price of Georgia taking up the mantra over the weekend, reports Politico.

Meanwhile, in the states... Health reform foe Arizona is launching a new task force to study the law's impact on the state, reports the White Mountain Independent. The Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Impacts of Federal Health Care Reform Implementation, headed by state Sen. Sylvia Allen, meets for the first time Wednesday.

The move comes as states across the country are reporting lower than expected enrollments in their high-risk pools from skeptical — or uninformed — residents.

The Don Berwick show: Donald Berwick has mostly stuck to brief appearances at public events and disappeared without taking questions since his controversial recess appointment as head of CMS. But he'll be running the show Monday morning when he addresses America's Health Insurance Plans' annual conference on Medicare and Medicaid. Titled "Implementing Health Care Reform: The Administration's Priorities," Berwick's presentation is expected to broach looming changes in the Medicare program and the agency's plans for meeting the challenges of the post-reform healthcare system in 2011 and beyond.

More Medicare nitty-gritty:  On Monday begins the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's (MedPAC) two-day September meeting.

Industry experts and regulators meet: The Food and Drug Administration and the Parenteral Drug Association host a four-day Joint Regulatory Conference paring FDA representatives and industry experts to discuss "The New Paradigm: Quality and Compliance in Merging and Emerging Cultures." The conference focuses on challenges facing the medical products industry as it tries to comply with new rules and regulations.

Hispanic Heritage Month tackles healthcare: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute tackles mental health issues on Monday as part of its three-day public policy conference. Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, leads expert panelists in an discussion on mental health in the latino community.

The healthcare theme continues Tuesday when Sebelius gives the keynote address at the Morning Plenary on "America's Promise: The Impact of Healthcare Reform."

High school athlete injuries under review: The House Education and Labor Committee's Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Carolyn McCarthyCarolyn McCarthyWhy Congress needs an openly atheist member, now Lobbying World Lobbying world MORE (D-N.Y.), holds a field hearing in Long Island, N.Y., to explore how schools and communities can help raise awareness of the risks of concussions and improve concussion management for students.

In May, the full committee held a hearing that looked at the effect of concussions on student achievement. Witnesses testified that student athletes' academic performance in school suffers when concussions are not properly managed. Each year, about 140,000 high school athletes suffer concussions.