Healthcare News January 25, 2012

  • Obama largely avoids healthcare in State of the Union

    President Obama made only glancing references to healthcare reform during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

    Although Democrats insist that Obama will be able to campaign on the healthcare law, it was almost entirely absent from a speech that helped establish the themes and frames of his reelection campaign.

    “I’m a Democrat.  But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed:  That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more … That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work.  That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a Government program,” Obama’s prepared remarks state.

    He also said he would not go back to the days when insurance companies could deny people coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    It’s by far the smallest amount of attention healthcare has gotten in Obama’s three State of the Union addresses, never mind the joint-session address he devoted entirely to trying to push healthcare across the finish line in 2009.

    Tuesday’s speech also made no reference to medical malpractice reform, an area where Obama said last year he would be willing to work with Republicans. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a video earlier Tuesday criticizing Obama for not coming to an agreement on tort reform.

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: State of the Union stokes clash over healthcare reform

    Guests tonight will include a cancer survivor able to stay
    on his parents’ health insurance thanks to healthcare reforms.

  • Vote to repeal part of healthcare reform law set for next week

    The House Rules Committee on Tuesday approved instructions for consideration of a bill to repeal the health law’s long-term-care CLASS Act, setting up a vote on the House floor next week.

    The repeal bill isn’t expected to pass in the Senate but Republicans hope to use it to paint Democrats as fiscal misfits who refuse to discard a program that the Obama administration itself has said is unworkable. The bill cleared the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce panels largely along party lines.

    The rule, adopted by voice vote, allows for three hours of debate on amendments. Members have until the end of the day Tuesday to file their amendments.

  • Report finds holes in government’s efforts to combat prescription drug abuse

    Federal agencies need to better track whether their efforts to educate painkiller prescribers about the risk of drug abuse are working, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.

    The report comes as the government seeks to crack down on prescription drug abuse, which now causes more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. 

    Several agencies have developed strategies that include “developing continuing medical education programs, requiring training and certification in order to prescribe certain drugs, and developing curriculum resources for future prescribers,” the report says. And the Office of National Drug Control Policy is developing legislation requiring education for prescribers registering with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to prescribe controlled substances.

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