Healthcare News May 15, 2012

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Healthcare a major focus in 2012 campaigns

    Healthcare is back in the political spotlight, a full six months before the November elections. In a sign of just how dangerous the issue can be, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is pushing back aggressively against ads that attack his support for healthcare reform. Nelson is in a tight race this fall, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending millions of dollars on ads criticizing his vote for the Affordable Care Act.

    Nelson’s lawyers asked Florida TV stations on Monday to pull the Chamber’s ads, saying they’re misleading. The lawyers specifically cited the ad’s claim that “seniors will see $500 billion in Medicare cuts to fund Obamacare.” The website has said that claim is false.

    Healthwatch has more on Nelson’s request.

    That other healthcare program: Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and his Democratic challenger, Tammy Duckworth, traded barbs over Medicare in a debate Friday night. The competitive race represents one of Democrats’ best chances to knock off a Tea Party freshman who voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plans to privatize Medicare.

  • Sen. Leahy hopeful that John Roberts will vote to uphold health law

    Leahy said there are signs that the chief justice might rule in favor of President Obama’s healthcare law.

  • Dem lawmaker: ‘Pizza is not a vegetable’ in school lunches

    Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced a bill Monday to stop the amount of tomato paste used on a children’s slice of pizza from counting as a serving of vegetables in school lunches, arguing that the standard effectively qualifies pizza as a vegetable.

    He said he hopes the measure can be included in this year’s farm bill.

    “Pizza has a place in school meals but equating it with broccoli,
    carrots and celery seriously undermines this nation’s efforts to support
    children’s health,” a fact sheet from Polis’s office stated.

    Legislative language passed last year blocked stricter school nutrition standards proposed by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and allowed an eighth of a cup of tomato paste — roughly the amount used on a children’s slice of pizza — to count as one serving of vegetables.

    Polis called the decision “absurd” and blamed both Congress and the frozen food lobby. 

  • Nurse practitioners push for bigger role as coverage expands

    Nurse practitioners are planning a major campaign to boost their profile as they look for a bigger role in the healthcare system.

    The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) says nurse practitioners should be an increasingly important resource as President Obama’s healthcare law begins to take effect.

    The law will provide coverage to more than 30 million people, but the country is already suffering from a shortage of primary-care doctors, and the new demand for healthcare services could make that problem worse.

    Nurse practitioners can hep fill that gap in access, AANP said Monday.

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