Healthcare News April 17, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Medical malpractice redux in the House

    The House Judiciary Committee will mark up medical malpractice legislation on Tuesday, even though the full House passed identical legislation just last month.

    Huh, you ask?

    That’s right. After passing legislation capping non-economic damages at $250,000 as part of their effort to repeal the healthcare reform law’s cost-cutting Independent Payment Advisory Board, House Republicans are at it again — this time without the IPAB.

    The reason: money. Marking up the tort reform bill would allow the committee to claim $41 billion in savings to the deficit over the next 10 years — more than enough to meet the the committee’s $39 billion savings requirement under the House Republican budget.

    The move is raising some hackles, even on the right. 

    “Here we go again,” Judson Phillips writes over on the Tea Party Nation Web forum. “The guys we put into office to stop government from playing games are playing more games in Washington.”

  • Kucinich: Single-payer the only ‘obviously constitutional’ healthcare plan

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is continuing to argue for a single-payer healthcare system, saying it would not raise the same constitutional questions that have dogged President Obama’s healthcare law.

    Kucinich on Monday highlighted a recent report that said a single-payer system would save the state of Minnesota nearly $190 billion over 10 years.

    “Single-payer health care is inevitable in the U.S. and the states are the first to recognize it,” Kucinich said in a statement.

  • Teenage prescription drug deaths skyrocketing, CDC warns

    The rate of fatal poisonings among 15- to 19-year-olds surged 91 percent between 2000 and 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Monday, a result of the nation’s epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

    The report is likely to rekindle congressional efforts to fight teenage abuse of painkillers and other medications, one of the few arrays of bipartisan cooperation on health policy in this election year.

    The startling statistic is contained in an otherwise positive report on fatal childhood injuries, which found an almost 30 percent decrease in accidental childhood deaths over a decade. Still, more than 9,000 children lost their lives due to accidents in 2009, with automobile crashes still the leading cause of death despite a 41 percent drop.

  • OIG report: Post-Katrina, nursing homes still ill-prepared for disasters

    The nation’s nursing homes remain ill-prepared to deal with a major disaster such as a hurricane, a federal report concluded seven years after 35 New Orleans nursing home residents drowned during Hurricane Katrina.

    Most nursing homes meet federal requirements for written emergency plans and preparedness training, the Health and Human Services inspector general report found. However, many of the nursing homes still had many of the same “gaps” first identified in a previous 2006 report.

    “Nursing homes faced challenges with unreliable transportation contracts, lack of collaboration with local emergency management, and residents who developed health problems,” according to a summary of the report.

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