Healthcare News March 30, 2012

  • House Republican rips ‘drastic’ Medicare cuts in Ryan budget

    Rep. David McKinley (R-W. Va.) slammed the Medicare cuts in House Republicans’ budget resolution Thursday, saying he couldn’t support the plan because it cut Medicare but still would not balance the budget.

    McKinley was one of 10 Republicans to vote against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal, which passed the House 228-191.

    In a statement Thursday, McKinley emphasized that he has voted to cut more than $5 trillion in government spending, but said the House budget was unacceptable.

    “I can’t support a plan that cuts Medicare, removes widely-used tax credits for homeowners and health care, and still doesn’t balance the budget for 28 years,” McKinley said.

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Parties take stock after high court arguments

    A House leadership aide said Republicans will try to capitalize on arguments that didn’t go well
    for the White House.

  • Lawmakers: Prescription drug abuse fight needs federal hand

    States would have a standard system to share information about prescription drug trafficking for the first time under legislation introduced Thursday. 

    A bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers introduced the measure in response to calls from state lawmakers, many in the southeastern United States, who have cracked down on so-called “pill mills” during the past two years. 

    The federal bill would link states’ individual prescription drug monitoring programs, allowing doctors to see if a new patient has a history of abuse in another state before issuing a prescription.

  • Drug retailers file suit to block merger facing congressional objections

    Drug retailers sued Thursday to prevent a proposed merger between two giant pharmacy benefit managers that has prompted a groundswell of congressional opposition.

    The trade groups representing chain drug stores and community pharmacists joined nine retail pharmacy companies in challenging the merger between Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions. The Federal Trade Commission is currently reviewing the merger to make sure it doesn’t violate federal anti-trust law.

    “Community pharmacies have aggressively engaged in opposition to the merger — at the executive level through meetings and communications with the FTC and state attorneys general; and at the legislative level by testifying before the House and Senate,” the trade associations said in a joint statement. “Engaging with the courts is another component in that process.”

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