Healthcare News March 12, 2013

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  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Both parties gird for fight over Ryan budget

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is set to release his latest budget proposal on Wednesday, but the political battle over his Medicare proposals has already begun. 

    As it has in previous years, Ryan’s budget will call for repealing most of the Affordable Care Act and partially privatizing the Medicare program. And Democrats are already planning to make the budget a centerpiece of their 2014 campaign ads.

    “In terms of this indictment of the Republicans of being very much out of step with voters, Medicare is indeed central to that,” pollster Geoff Garin said on a Monday call organized by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. “Congressman Ryan’s approach to Medicare is out of sync with the electorate.”

    Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party, could also take heat from some of his wonkier critics over his approach to the ACA. His budget will call for repealing sections of the law that provide new healthcare benefits to the uninsured, but leave in place its Medicare cuts — the same Medicare cuts Ryan and Mitt Romney criticized so intently during the presidential campaign. 

    Democrats are already attacking the Medicare plan, and the partisan warfare is sure to escalate Tuesday. Ryan will hold a news conference on his proposal at 10:30 a.m.

  • Pharmacies push back on call for regulations after ’60 Minutes’ report

    A trade group for pharmacies is pushing back on calls for more federal regulations after a “60 Minutes” report on a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

    The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) on Monday said there are already “adequate” regulations in place to protect consumers who visit small-batch pharmacies that mix custom prescriptions.

    The group said the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which manufactured hundreds of injectable pain medications contaminated with fungal meningitis, is a “rogue entity.” B. Douglas Hoey, the chief executive of the NCPA, said the company passed itself off as a compound pharmacy while producing drugs en masse.

    “As a country, we must strike the right balance to go after rogue entities like NECC while preserving patients’ access to the safe and essential compounded medications that their physicians prescribe,” Hoey said, pledging that the organization would “continue to work with health officials” on the issue.

  • Pharmacies push back on call for regulations after ’60 Minutes’ report By Megan R. Wilson

    A trade group for pharmacies is pushing back on calls for more federal regulations after a “60 Minutes” report on a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

    The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) on Monday said there are already “adequate” regulations in place to protect consumers who visit small-batch pharmacies that mix custom prescriptions.

    The group said the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which manufactured hundreds of injectable pain medications contaminated with fungal meningitis, is a “rogue entity.” B. Douglas Hoey, the chief executive of the NCPA, said the company passed itself off as a compound pharmacy while producing drugs en masse.

    “As a country, we must strike the right balance to go after rogue entities like NECC while preserving patients’ access to the safe and essential compounded medications that their physicians prescribe,” Hoey said, pledging that the organization would “continue to work with health officials” on the issue.

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