Healthcare News April 18, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: House panels take another whack at Obama healthcare law

    House GOP lawmakers are seeking to meet their deficit reduction target by attacking the Obama healthcare law’s insurance subsidies.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield quits conservative legislative organization ALEC

    The giant insurance firm Blue Cross Blue Shield isn’t renewing its ties with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, the company said Tuesday.

    Liberal groups say the decision comes in the wake of a massive campaign to link the group to controversial “stand your ground” legislation, but the company said the decision was made earlier.

    “The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s decision not to renew our membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was made in February 2012 as part of our budgeting process, and was independent of any outreach or campaign by another organization,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

    BCBSA’s decision brings to 11 the number of companies that have quit ties with ALEC over the past few months. ALEC helps craft business-friendly legislation for state lawmakers across the country, such as legislation outlawing penalties for failing to obey the federal health law’s individual mandate.

    “We applaud BCBS for ending its relationship with this shadowy D.C. organization that would rather have our lawmakers work for corporations than the people,” ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson said in a statement.

  • GOP slams federal jobs created to implement Obama’s health law

    Republicans argued Tuesday that the Obama administration has hired droves of new bureaucrats to implement the administration’s healthcare reform law.

    The Joint Economic Committee, led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), said Tuesday that the Health and Human Services Department has swelled because of “ObamaCare.” Employment at HHS has grown by 11 percent under President Obama, the JEC said.

    That figure, however, includes data from well before Obama signed the healthcare law, and even a few months during which he was not president.

    From March 2010, when Obama signed the legislation, until the end of last year, the HHS workforce grew by 6 percent, or about 4,600 new jobs.

  • House panel to save $43.9 billion on health law subsidies

    The tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee will mark up legislation on Wednesday that saves $43.9 billion over a decade by requiring people to pay back any excess insurance subsidies they receive under President Obama’s healthcare reform law, the panel announced Tuesday.

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