First Edition: July 9, 2012
Today's headlines include reports this week's planned House vote to repeal the health law -- the 31st such attempt.
Kaiser Health News: Q & A: Concierge Care And Choosing A Doctor (Video)
Kaiser Health News "Insuring Your Health" columnist Michelle Andrews answers a reader question about doctors who charge extra fees for more personalized care (7/9). Watch the video.
Kaiser Health News tracked weekend health policy headlines, including reports on how Republicans are handling Medicare funding cuts as a campaign issue.
NPR: GOP To Make 31st Attempt To Repeal Obamacare Act
The House Rules Committee takes up a bill Monday called the "Repeal of Obamacare Act." And just like it says, the bill would wipe away the president's Affordable Care Act. A vote of the full House is planned for Wednesday (Keith, 7/9).
Los Angeles Times: Obama Says 'More To Do' On Jobs As GOP Vows Healthcare Repeal
President Obama touted the newly-signed highway bill as a potential economic booster, while a Republican congresswoman called for the repeal of the healthcare reform law in dueling addresses on the economy Saturday (Memoli, 7/7).
Politico: Health Care Reform: 5 Ways To Kill 'Obamacare' Without Repealing
Even conservatives admit Mitt Romney's promise to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law with an executive order might not work — but that doesn't mean he's out of luck. Romney could still begin to gut the law immediately by taking some more passive-aggressive steps — a jumbo-sized version of a strategy Obama has embraced on issues ranging from immigration to education (Feder, 7/7).
The New York Times: Brawling Over Health Care Moves To Rules On Exchanges
Critics of the new health care law, having lost one battle in the Supreme Court, are mounting a challenge to President Obama's interpretation of another important provision, under which the federal government will subsidize health insurance for millions of low- and middle-income people. ... At issue is whether the subsidies will be available in exchanges set up and run by the federal government in states that fail or refuse to establish their own exchanges. Critics say the law allows subsidies only for people who obtain coverage through state-run exchanges. The White House says the law can be read to allow subsidies for people who get coverage in federal exchanges as well (Pear, 7/7).
The Associated Press: The Tax Man Cometh To Police You On Health Care
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2½ years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance. That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government (Ohlemacher, 7/8).
Politico: Health Care Ruling Could Tip Races
Former Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei lost in 2010 after facing heat over his health care vote and he'd like to just move on as he tries to regain his seat in 2012. GOP Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle beat Maffei by running on an anti "Obamacare" platform and she's more than happy to keep talking about the Supreme Court ruling from last week. ... It's a theme that's sure to play out in swing districts across the country. Democrats will argue that the Supreme Court has spoken on the health care law, and try turn the conversation toward improving the economy. Republicans will say the law — even though parts of it are popular — tramples on individual freedoms and is a burdensome regulatory juggernaut (Nocera, 7/7).
Politico: Health Care Remarks Haunt Tommy Thompson
Those 2009 comments have come back to bite Thompson in his Wisconsin Republican Senate primary in which his conservative opponents are trying to make him the first real political victim of the landmark Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. The Wisconsin attacks will test the continued potency of the issue among GOP base voters and may offer a measure of whether the tea party still has the power in Republican primaries to purge more moderate candidates in swing states (Raju, 7/8).
The Wall Street Journal: States Interpret Ruling To Cut Medicaid Now
Some cash-strapped states have seized on a section of the Supreme Court's health-law decision to pare their existing Medicaid programs, saying the ruling lifts the March 2010 law's ban on such cuts. The court, which upheld most of the law, struck down penalties for states choosing not to expand Medicaid. A few states are also trying to go farther, arguing that the ruling justifies cuts to their existing programs. Within hours of the Supreme Court's ruling on June 28, lawyers in the Maine attorney general's office began preparing a legal argument to allow health officials to strike more than 20,000 Medicaid recipients from the state's rolls—including 19- and 20-year-olds—beginning in October to save $10 million by next July. ... Other states, including Wisconsin and Alabama, are expected to follow Maine's lead, though there is disagreement over whether the high court gave the states such leeway (Weaver and Radnofsky, 7/6).
Politico: Insurance Rules Might Stay Even If ACA Repealed
GOP Hill aides are still working through the details of what they can rip out of the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation — the same complex process used more than two years ago to usher through final passage of the health law. There's broad agreement Republicans could use the legislative maneuver to go after the law's individual mandate. … Health policy analysts are split on what else can stay under reconciliation and what can go. There's uncertainty, in particular, on what would happen to the new insurance rules. … The Senate parliamentarian — Congress's rule maker — will be at the center of any decision (Millman and Dobias, 7/8).
Los Angeles Times: Health Insurers To Reduce Rate Hikes For California Small Firms
Tens of thousands of small businesses in California collectively will save $48 million on their health insurance bills starting this month now that three insurers have agreed to reduce pending rate hikes (Lifsher, 7/7).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Medicaid Official Says Ind. Law Denying Funding To Planned Parenthood Violates Women's Rights
Indiana's decision to deny Planned Parenthood Medicaid funds because it performs abortions denies women the freedom to choose their health care providers, a federal hearing officer said (7/8).
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