Healthcare News April 17, 2013

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: GOP fast-tracks bill to fund ObamaCare program

    House Republicans are fast-tracking an ObamaCare bill that doesn’t involve the word “repeal.” A new measure from Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and others would strengthen healthcare reform’s troubled Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), a short-term program designed to offer coverage to vulnerable patients before the law’s major provisions take effect in 2014.

    The Obama administration suspended enrollment in the PCIP earlier this year, citing cost concerns. Republicans want to take money from the Affordable Care Act’s public and preventive health efforts to keep the plan open through the end of the year.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) assured colleagues this month that shoring up the PCIP does not eliminate the GOP’s goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

    “Full repeal of ObamaCare remains our goal but we can take this specific action to help Americans with pre-existing conditions receive insurance coverage now,” Cantor wrote in a memo April 5. 

  • FDA acts quickly on blocking OxyContin generics

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday blocked drug manufacturers from making a generic version of the addictive drug OxyContin.

  • Study: Hospital profits soar when surgeries go wrong

    Hospitals profit heavily from their own mistakes, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    Hospitals make roughly $30,000 more from patients who suffer at least one complication than they do from patients whose procedures go smoothly, the research found.

    Both Medicare and private insurers foot the bill for longer hospital stays and additional procedures when patients suffer a surgical complication. Those extra payments are lucrative for hospitals, the JAMA study found.

    “Policy makers talk about pay-for-performance, but instead Medicare and private payers are rewarding hospitals for complications,” said Barry Rosenberg, one of the study’s co-authors. “The U.S. healthcare system is paying for harm.”

  • Abortion-rights groups challenge Ark.’s 12-week ban

    Abortion-rights supporters filed suit Tuesday to block Arkansas’s law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights are hoping that a federal judge will block the statute, one of the country’s strictest on abortion, before it takes effect this summer.

    The groups said the law is unconstitutional because women have a guaranteed right to end pregnancies before they are viable at around 24 weeks of gestation. 

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