Money slated for health law gets detoured – Washington Times

November 26, 2011

In cash-strapped Washington, President Obama’s $1 trillion health care law is presenting a tempting target for lawmakers seeking funds for other projects, as Congress last week raided the health care piggy bank for the third time in less than a year.

Congress last week axed a part of Democrats’ signature domestic achievement to find $11 billion to cover the cost of repealing a withholding tax that otherwise would have hit government contractors in 2013. Mr. Obama signed that bill into law on Monday.

via Money slated for health law gets detoured – Washington Times.


Analysis: Health care’s “sleeper issue” : SCOTUSblog

November 24, 2011

If Section 7421 has been given short shrift by the lawyers, it has drawn even less attention in the media: it is a provision of the federal tax code, and questions of tax law are not the stuff of popular conversation or routine news interest.  As one federal judge remarked in discussing this very provision: “The Tax Code is never a walk in the park.”   Section 7421, indeed, does take a bit of explaining.  What is it, what does it actually do, how did it get into the legal and constitutional dispute over the Affordable Care Act, and why might it shut down the constitutional review of the insurance mandate until 2015 at the earliest?

via Analysis: Health care’s “sleeper issue” : SCOTUSblog.


Update on Retrospective Review of FDA Regulations « FDA Transparency Blog

November 24, 2011

On June 3, 2011, we announced, as part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) retrospective review plan, that the first of our regulations to be reviewed under this EO would be the “Bar Code Rule.” You can see the HHS plan in its entirety at http://www.hhs.gov/open/execorders/13563/index.html.   The Bar Code regulation, which was finalized in 2004, requires certain human drugs and biological products to have a linear bar code on the label so health care professionals can use bar code scanning equipment to verify that the right drug (in the right dose and route of administration) is being given to the right patient at the right time.

In the seven years since this regulation was issued, there have been advances in alternative technologies.  In addition, it has become increasingly clear from industry, health care providers, and other FDA initiatives, that certain FDA-regulated products present unique bar coding concerns.  For example, the Agency has since learned that certain vaccines present unique challenges in the bar coding context, particularly with respect to compliance with recordkeeping and mandatory adverse event reporting requirements that are specific to the administration of childhood vaccines.

via Update on Retrospective Review of FDA Regulations « FDA Transparency Blog.


RealClearPolitics – The Bell Tolls for Obamacare

November 24, 2011

On November 14, the Supreme Court granted the Writ of Certiorari to hear the appeal of the cases testing the constitutionality of Obamacare. The resulting decision will mark an historic watershed not only in the restoration of constitutional jurisprudence, but in fundamental, market reform of the entire entitlement state.

via RealClearPolitics – The Bell Tolls for Obamacare.


RealClearPolitics – Obama’s Catholic Friends and Enemies

November 24, 2011

Any time the Obama administration touches issues related to the Roman Catholic Church, it seems to get itself caught in a rhetorical and moral crossfire that leaves all involved wounded and angry. This is what’s happening in the battle over how contraception should be covered under the new health care law.

Partly because it mishandled the issue at the outset, the Obama team seems destined either to leave supporters in the reproductive rights community irate, or to put the president’s Catholic sympathizers in a much weakened position.

via RealClearPolitics – Obama’s Catholic Friends and Enemies.


PJ Media » What Else Is Wrong with Obamacare?

November 24, 2011

Moreover, the news from the Court comes hot on the heels of the passage of an anti-individual-mandate measure in Ohio. The measure was approved by voters in all 88 counties of that crucial swing state — and by at least 20-point margins in 81 of those counties.

via PJ Media » What Else Is Wrong with Obamacare?.


Medicare administrator Donald Berwick resigns in the face of Republican opposition – The Washington Post

November 23, 2011

President Obama’s top Medicare official has resigned in the face of Republican pledges to block his confirmation in the Senate.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald M. Berwick notified colleagues Wednesday that he will step down Dec. 2, nearly a month before the expiration of his recess appointment.

The White House will nominate Marilyn Tavenner, Medicare’s deputy administrator, as his replacement.

via Medicare administrator Donald Berwick resigns in the face of Republican opposition – The Washington Post.


New International Health Survey of Sicker Adults Finds Those With a Medical Home Fare Better – The Commonwealth Fund

November 23, 2011

Chronically and seriously ill adults who received care from a medical home—an accessible primary care practice that helps coordinate care—were less likely to report medical errors, test duplication, and other care coordination failures, according to a new Commonwealth Fund international survey of patients’ experiences in the U.S. and 10 other high-income countries. Published as a Health Affairs “Web First” article, the study also found that patients connected with medical homes had better relationships with their doctors and rated their care more highly.

via New International Health Survey of Sicker Adults Finds Those With a Medical Home Fare Better – The Commonwealth Fund.


New State-By-State Report: Employer Health Insurance Premiums Increased 50 Percent From 2003 to 2010; Employees’ Share of Premiums Increased 63 Percent – The Commonwealth Fund

November 23, 2011

Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased by 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, and the annual amount that employees pay toward their insurance increased by 63 percent as businesses required employees to contribute a greater share, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report that examines state trends in health insurance costs. The report finds that health insurance costs are outpacing income growth in every state in the country. At the same time, premiums are buying less protective coverage: per-person deductibles doubled for employees working for large as well as small firms over the same time period.

According to the report, State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2010: The Need for Action to Address Rising Costs, by 2010, 62 percent of the U.S. population lived in a state where health insurance premiums equaled 20 percent or more of earnings for a middle-income individual under age 65. Today there are virtually no states where premiums are relatively low compared to income. In 2003, there were 13 states where annual premiums constituted less than 14 percent of the median (middle) income; by 2010, there were none.

via New State-By-State Report: Employer Health Insurance Premiums Increased 50 Percent From 2003 to 2010; Employees’ Share of Premiums Increased 63 Percent – The Commonwealth Fund.


Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis to Step Down at End of 2012 – The Commonwealth Fund

November 23, 2011

Karen Davis, who since 1995 has led The Commonwealth Fund in its drive to improve the performance of the nation’s health care system, plans to step down as the Fund’s president on December 31, 2012.

via Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis to Step Down at End of 2012 – The Commonwealth Fund.


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