Healthcare News February 11, 2012

  • Obama budget cuts health spending by $360 billion

    President Obama’s budget proposal will cut federal healthcare spending by $360 billion – including $300 billion from Medicare – over the next 10 years, according to a summary of the spending blueprint that will be fully unveiled Monday.

    The savings target for Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs is nearly identical to the $320 billion in healthcare savings included in the president’s $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan last September. Senior administration officials confirmed in a media call that the proposals would be not identical but very similar, with most of the savings coming from provider cuts and changes to drug reimbursements. September’s deficit-cutting proposal would have required wealthy seniors to pay more for their Medicare benefits, cut payments to doctors and hospitals and shifted Medicaid costs to the states.

    The new budget keeps funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health level at $30.7 billion for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The budget will propose “new grant management policies to increase the number of new research grants by 7 percent,” according to the budget summary.

  • Obama shifts on birth control mandate after heavy criticism

    Obama said he has sought to balance religious liberty with ensuring all women have access to affordable contraception under healthcare.

  • Decision could raise premiums

    Under Obama’s plan, the costs of contraception could be built into the premiums insurance companies charge

  • Women’s health advocates form coalition to protect birth control

    Twenty-eight health advocacy organizations banded together Friday to launch a coalition dedicated to preserving women’s access to birth control in the wake of strong pushback against the Obama administration’s coverage mandate.

    The Coalition to Protect Women’s Health Care launched a website and Facebook and Twitter accounts where advocates can pledge their support. 

    The group aims to turn critics’ religious freedom argument on its head by arguing that employers should not be allowed to impose their religious beliefs on their employees by restricting their healthcare coverage.

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