Healthcare News January 4, 2012

  • GOP hits new fee on health plans

    Republicans on Tuesday attacked a new fee under the healthcare reform law that is set to take effect this week for many consumers.

    The healthcare law tacks on a fee of $1 per year to private insurance plans. The money will fund comparative effectiveness research — studies into which treatments work best for particular conditions.

    The Senate Republican Policy Committee contrasted the fee with Obama’s opposition, during the 2008 campaign, to taxing employer-based health benefits. That debate centered around the tax exclusion for healthcare coverage, but the committee said the comparative effectiveness fee is still a tax on insurance.

    The RPC also argued that comparative effectiveness research “could be used to justify placing limits on costly medical treatments.” The healthcare law prohibits Medicare from setting reimbursement rates based solely on comparative effectiveness research and includes other restrictions designed to prevent rationing. Some health groups, however, say effectiveness should ultimately become part of how the government decides what it will pay.

  • HHS names 73 ‘innovation advisors’

    The Health and Human Services Department on Tuesday named 73 innovation advisors who will help with efforts to improve healthcare quality and lower costs.

    The advisers will ultimately work with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was created by the healthcare reform law to help improve the healthcare delivery system.

    The advisers represent 27 states and the District of Columbia. Part of their mission is to work with local healthcare systems and coordinate those delivery-system efforts with the Innovation Center.

    HHS selected the 73 advisers from more than 900 applications, according to a news release.

  • Santorum: Romney, Obama ‘the same’ on healthcare

    Hours before the Iowa caucuses, surging GOP candidate Rick Santorum attacked former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as “basically the same” as President Obama on the issue of healthcare.

    “This has been a debate about healthcare — that’s what the behemoth of government — the signature issue is ObamaCare,” Santorum said Tuesday in an interview with ABC News. “We cannot put up a presidential candidate who is in basically in the same place as Obama on government-run health care.”

  • VitaPortal Company Adds Three US Healthcare Companies to Their Advisory Council

    Moscow, December 23 2011 – VitaPortal Company, a leading provider of multi-channel information exchange for consumers and healthcare professionals in Russia, has announced the addition of three US healthcare luminaries to the company’s Advisory Council.

    The VitaPortal Advisory Council will be led by Esther Dyson, a leading angel investor focused on innovative yet practical start-ups. Esther is Chairman of EDventure Holdings and a Director of Yandex, as well as an Investor in AlterGeo, Ostrovok, TerraLink and ZIngaya.  She is also a member of the Advisory Boards of IBS Group and SUP.

    The Advisory Board will also be joined by Peter Frishauf, Founder of Medscape (now owned by WebMD), and by Milena Adamian, MD, a  Cardiologist and Founder of the Life Sciences Angel Network and Managing Director of Easton Capital.

    Peter Frishauf is the Founder of, a leading website that educates doctors with more than 16 million visits per quarter. He is also Chairman of Crossix Solutions, Inc., and serves on the Board of Directors for, Oakstone Medical Publishing, Context Matters, New York City Health Business Leaders, and the nonprofit Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.  He is an advisor to EveryDay Health, Apixio, TrialX, Milestone Venture Partners, Greycroft Partners and the medical journalism masters program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

    On joining the VitaPortal Advisory Council, Esther Dyson said: “I’m very excited about this opportunity. People in Russia need better information not just about health care, but also on how to maintain their health. VitaPortal aims to provide that information in a way that is easy to understand and provide expert advice that is specific and easy to follow.”

    VitaPortal Company operates two sites, for patients and for physicians. is the first portal on Russian internet market providing access to peer-reviewed information on healthcare for both consumers and physicians. All published materials undergo rigorous medical review process conducted by certified physicians. The quality of the information is confirmed by HONcode certification, the oldest and the most used ethical and trustworthy standard for medical and health related information available on the internet (the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) promotes and guides the deployment of useful and reliable online health information, and it’s appropriate and efficient use. Created in 1995, HON is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, accredited to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations). Most recently, has been announced as a finalist for the RuNet prize in the Healthcare and Wellness category.

    Azamat Ulbashev, CEO and founder of VitaPortal commented: “We are very excited and honored to have Esther, Milena and Peter join our team. We are sure that this all-star multi-disciplinary Council, with Esther’s experience in start-ups development, Peter’s expertise in medical publishing and Milena’s cross-over knowledge in the fields of medicine, investments and innovation,  will help VitaPortal in our major effort – to make the Russian people healthier.”

    The first meeting of the VitaPortal Advisory Council took place on December 19 2011.

    About VitaPortal Company:

    VitaPortal Company is one of Fast Lane Venture’s portfolio companies and was launched in June 2011. VitaPortal is a provider of healthcare information services for consumers, physicians and other healthcare professionals. It is the first project on Russian internet market where the content undergoes a rigorous review process conducted by certified physicians. VitaPortal Company includes two sites: launched on May 1, 2011 and oriented to patients’ information needs, and, launched on September 1, 2011 and serving physicians’ needs with professional medical information. VitaPortal Company’s goal is to become number 1 in traffic and brand awareness in healthcare sites in Russia by the end of 2012.

    Related posts:

    1. Merge Healthcare Adds Two Healthcare Veterans to the Company’s Senior Leadership Team
    2. Lincor Solutions strengthens Advisory Board with key appointments
    3. Diversinet Strengthens Military Healthcare IT Expertise with Two Executive Advisory Board Appointments

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