Healthcare News April 12, 2012

  • Kentucky Democrat challenges McConnell over health law claims

    Democratic Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth offered a rare and detailed point-by-point rebuttal to a newspaper column Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) penned for the congressman’s hometown newspaper.

    The March 22 op-ed in the Louisville Courier-Journal blames Democrats’ healthcare reform law for increasing premiums for the “average family” by $2,100, among other claims. Yarmuth, who voted for the law, offers detailed criticism of McConnell’s figures and conclusions and goes on to say Republican “distortions and misinformation” about the law have put people and businesses at a disadvantage.

    “Unfortunately,” Yarmuth writes, “misrepresentations like those in your editorial have prevented some Americans from taking advantage of the important benefits already available under the Affordable Care Act. For example, 4.4 million small-business owners are now eligible for health care tax credits, yet only 360,000 have used them.”

  • Obama administration proposes new effort to curb antibiotic use on US farms

    The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced new voluntary steps to limit antibiotic use in animal agriculture in order to safeguard their effectiveness in protecting human health.

    The agency released three documents as part of an effort FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg called “critical” to protect public health.

    “The new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians can care for animals while ensuring the medicines people need remain safe and effective,” Hamburg said. “We are also reaching out to animal producers who operate on a smaller scale or in remote locations to help ensure the drugs they need to protect the health of their animals are still available.”

  • Survey: Growth in health costs is slowing

    Healthcare costs aren’t growing quite as rapidly as they have in the past, according to new research from Buck Consultants.

    The study predicts that health insurance costs will rise this year by less than 10 percent — the first time growth has been that low in more than a decade. The findings could undermine Republicans’ argument that President Obama’s healthcare law is driving costs higher.

    According to Buck’s research, the cost of employer-based health insurance will rise by 9.9 percent this year. That’s a full percentage point lower than last year’s increases, but it still outpaces inflation and average wage increases.

  • Planned Parenthood sues over Texas policy cutting off Medicaid funds

    Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday that would block Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s efforts to cut off access to the group’s clinics.

    The Perry administration recently adopted a new policy that excludes Planned Parenthood clinics from Texas’s Women’s Health Program — and, as a result, makes Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas ineligible for Medicaid funding.

    It’s just one in a series of state-level efforts to defund Planned Parenthood clinics because the organization provides abortions in addition to its other healthcare services.

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