Archive for the ‘First Edition’ Category

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 16, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports examining how mental health issues play a role in efforts to curb gun violence and expand gun control efforts.

The New York Times: For ‘Party Of Business,’ Allegiances Are Shifting
Big business is so fearful of economic peril if Congress does not allow the government to keep borrowing — to pay creditors, contractors, program beneficiaries and many others — that it is nearly united in skepticism of, or outright opposition to, House Republicans’ demand that Mr. Obama first agree to equal spending cuts in benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid (Calmes, 1/15).

Politico: AARP’s Barry Rand: Mend, Don’t End Entitlements
The head of the AARP on Tuesday acknowledged changes must be made to programs like Medicare and Social Security, but said cuts to those entitlements aren’t a solution to the nation’s fiscal woes (Glueck, 1/15).

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Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 15, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including the latest on how Medicare and other entitlement programs fit into the looming battle over raising the federal debt limit.

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Escalates Debt Fight
Mr. Obama said he was willing to work with the GOP on an agreement to cut spending—including “modest adjustments to programs like Medicare”—but not in the context of the debt ceiling. He said agreeing to link the two would be like a “negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people” in which Republicans would threaten to cut safety-net programs under a threat “to wreck the entire economy.” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) has acknowledged that delaying an increase in the debt limit could cause economic harm, but he said not reining in government spending also carried consequences (Lee and Hook, 1/14).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Americans Like Spending Cuts In Theory, Not In Detail, Complicating Deficit Talks In Capital
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking toward the March 1 start of major, across-the-board spending cuts that both parties call unwise. These are the postponed cuts — or “sequester,” in Congress-speak — lingering from the partial resolution of the “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 1. These cuts would hit military and domestic programs hard. But they would spare “entitlements,” the popular but costly programs that include Medicare and Social Security. Leaders in both parties say lawmakers soon must confront entitlements if they are to stem the nation’s long-term deficit-spending problem (1/15).

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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 14, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about the health care marketplace and about the issues being raised by this year’s intense flu epidemic.

The Wall Street Journal: Public-Private Fund Aims At Health Care, Housing Gap
Hoping to bridge the gap between low-income residents and health-care services, a $100 million fund will be unveiled this week to build community centers near affordable housing as demand for primary-care services is expected to rise. Supporters say it is a new kind of public-private partnership boosted by the philanthropic sector that was inspired by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which could expand Medicaid coverage by up to 16 million additional people. The act includes about $10 billion for the creation of new, federally qualified health centers. The fund’s backers say the financial need is greater still (Dolan, 1/13).

The Washington Post: Health Care Firms Attract Interest From Financial Backers
Two Washington area firms working to engage patients in their health care decisions and treatment have secured financial backing from investors looking to find companies that will play a leading role in the future of medicine (Overly, 1/13).

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Monday, January 14th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 11, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports on developments in the health care marketplace as well as state health policy and budget news

Politico: Insurers’ 2014 Hikes Already Taking Toll
If you work for a small business, your next health insurance premium may give you sticker shock. Many of the small-business and individual insurance policies are working the health reform law’s 2014 fees into their 2013 bills, contributing to double-digit premium increases for some people (Haberkorn, 1/11).

The Wall Street Journal’s MarketBeat: Big Health Insurers Aim Cautiously – For New Exchanges
Some of the biggest health insurers confirmed goals this week to offer plans over state-based exchanges set to launch late this year, but they’re moving cautiously while waiting to learn more about these new markets (Kamp, 1/10).

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Friday, January 11th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 10, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about Jack Lew, who is President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Treasury Department and has a record of protecting Medicaid and the safety net.

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Aide Is Treasury Pick
In 2011, as political leaders were designing the spending reductions that would begin this year if a larger deficit-reduction deal wasn’t reached, some Republicans wanted to cut Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. Mr. Lew bluntly interrupted to say Medicaid was off the table, prompting a GOP aide to hang up the phone, according to a person familiar with the exchange. Several months earlier, during a debate over government funding, the usually-even-tempered Mr. Lew stormed out over a dispute with Republicans about what numbers both sides should use as their “base line” for negotiations (Paletta and Hook, 1/10).

The Washington Post: Obama Selects White House Chief Of Staff Jack Lew To Head Treasury
Ideologically, Lew is a deficit hawk, and he thinks Obama should be pursuing an aggressive effort to slow the growth of the federal debt. But he has deep roots in Democratic politics, and in previous negotiations he has passionately resisted efforts to slice the social safety net, particularly Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor (Goldfarb, Tankersley and Cillizza, 1/9).

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Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 9, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including a number of health policy developments on the state level.

Politico: Berwick Eyeing Run For Massachusetts Governor
Former Obama administration Medicare chief Don Berwick — vilified by Senate Republicans who made his confirmation impossible — is considering a run for Massachusetts governor in 2014, he told POLITICO late Tuesday (Kenen, 1/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Whistleblowers At Center Of States’ Medicaid Fraud Action
Whistleblowers are becoming an increasingly important source of settlements from Medicaid fraud prosecutions as states try to raise revenue and eliminate waste and abuse (DePietro, 1/7).

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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 8, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including coverage of a government report concluding that U.S. health-care spending grew at a record low pace for a third consecutive year.

The New York Times: Growth Of Health Spending Stays Low
National health spending climbed to $2.7 trillion in 2011, or an average of $8,700 for every person in the country, but as a share of the economy, it remained stable for the third consecutive year, the Obama administration said Monday (Pear, 1/7).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Gov’t.: Respite From Surging Health Care Costs Continued For Third Straight Year. Will It Hold?
Americans kept health care spending in check for three years in a row, the government reported Monday, an unusual respite that could linger if the economy stays soft or fade like a mirage if job growth comes roaring back (1/7).

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Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 7, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including news about entitlement spending in the context of the debt debate, as well as reports regarding the health insurance industry.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: White House, GOP Draw Red Lines In Debate On US Debt Limit, Vow Not To Budge
Republicans say they are willing to raise the debt ceiling but insist any increase must be paired with significant savings from Medicare, Medicaid and other government benefit programs. President Barack Obama has said he’s willing to consider spending cuts separately but won’t bargain over the government’s borrowing authority (1/7).

The Wall Street Journal: Battle Lines Drawn On Budget
Many conservative House Republicans opposed last week’s fiscal-cliff measure, which raised income-tax rates for the first time in almost two decades and contained no long-term spending cuts of any significance. That bill would reduce the deficit by some $620 billion over 10 years, far short of the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that some leaders had hoped to negotiate. “Now, it’s time to pivot and turn to the real issue, which is our spending addiction,” Mr. McConnell said Sunday. He said any cuts should target entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which Democrats have been reluctant to cut (Gorman and Nicholas, 1/6).

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Monday, January 7th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – January 4, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports that the Department of Health and Human Services gave seven more states the thumbs up to run their own health exchanges.

NPR: Bargain Over Fiscal Cliff Brings Changes To Health Care
The bill that prevented the nation from plunging over the fiscal cliff did more than just stop income tax increases and delay across-the-board spending cuts. It also included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs (Rovner, 1/4).

Politico: Health Care Guide To Debt Limit Battle
Congress’s most recent spending battle left the health industry with some nicks and scratches, but it’s leery of having to hand over even bigger savings in the next battle looming two months from now. From hospitals to doctors to insurers to drug makers, industry players are expecting they’ll come up in the mix as lawmakers search for ways to pay for another deal to avert sequestration and increase the debt limit (Haberkorn and Cunningham, 1/3).

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Politico: Jack Kingston Has Bipartisan Goals For ACA Funding
Rep. Jack Kingston wants to repeal Obamacare, and his ascension to the top of an Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over health funding puts him in a powerful position to leave an imprint. But the affable Georgia Republican — set to chair the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services in the new Congress — wants it known he’s not a saber-rattling, repeal-at-any-cost zealot (Cheney, 1/4).

Los Angeles Times: More States Cleared To Run Own Health Insurance Exchanges
The Obama administration Thursday cleared what could be the final group of states to open their own health insurance exchanges this fall, advancing a key goal of the 2010 healthcare law to provide Americans with new options to shop for coverage (Levey, 1/3).

The Washington Post: Plans For Health Insurance Exchanges Approved By White House For Seven More States
The Obama administration on Thursday approved plans by seven states to create health insurance exchanges, the new marketplaces at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. With this final round of approvals, the White House has signed off on blueprints by 17 states and the District to operate their own exchanges in 2014, as long as they continue to meet certain benchmarks over the course of the next year (Kliff, 1/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Seven States Clear Health-Exchange Hurdle
The Obama administration on Thursday gave conditional approval to plans by seven states that want to run their own health-insurance exchanges under the health-overhaul law. Among them was Utah, which already runs its own insurance exchange but would have to make significant changes to comply fully with the law, raising questions over whether the state will end up operating its exchange in October when open enrollment begins (Radnofsky, 1/3).

USA Today: Feds Approve Eight State Health Insurance Exchanges
The newly approved states that will run their own exchanges are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Utah. Arkansas will partner with the federal government for its exchange. Although states with Republican governors have fought the law, such as Texas, four of them — Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah — have created the exchanges (Kennedy, 1/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Admin. Gives Initial Go-Ahead For State Insurance Markets; 4 GOP-Led States On List
With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans just nine months away — Oct. 1, 2013 — the four GOP-led states became part of a group totaling 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have gotten an initial go-ahead to build and run insurance exchanges. Seven were approved Thursday (1/3).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: House Call: Democratic Caucus Adds Two Doctors
House Democrats doubled the number of doctors in their caucus with the swearing-in of California freshmen Raul Ruiz and Ami Bera, both of whom have signaled their eagerness to weigh in on health-care issues (Radnofsky, 1/3).

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Today’s Headlines – Jan. 3, 2013

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including more analysis of how the “fiscal cliff” deal impacts health programs as well as what the upcoming deficit talks might have in store for entitlement spending.

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: The Fiscal Cliff Cuts $1.9 Billion From Obamacare. Here’s How.
The fiscal cliff deal is, obviously, mostly about preventing the fiscal cliff and stopping a wave of huge spending cuts. At the same time, legislators did find ways to make some relatively important health policy changes too. They include everything from raising Medicare doctor’s pay, repealing a part of the Obamacare and cutting over a billion from the law’s funding (Kliff, 1/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Deal Fails To Satisfy Liberal Democrats
A deal to avert the fiscal cliff and raise taxes on the wealthy left a sour aftertaste among some liberals who believe President Barack Obama wasted his political leverage by settling for a pared-down deal. … One of those showdowns is sure to include a debate over changes to entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Social Security. That has already bred tension in the Democratic ranks. Groups such as Health Care for America Now vow to oppose any cuts that would affect beneficiaries, whereas the president and other congressional Democrats have shown some willingness to make changes that would affect recipients (Murray, 1/2).

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Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

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