Healthcare News May 26, 2012

  • House plans two votes to repeal healthcare law before Supreme Court ruling

    The House will keep voting on piecemeal bills to repeal parts of President Obama’s healthcare law before the Supreme Court decides whether the law is unconstitutional.

    Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a planning memo that the House will vote on two partial repeal bills as early as June 4. One would repeal the health law’s tax on medical devices, and the other would relax the law’s restrictions on the use of tax-preferred health savings accounts (HSAs).

    The medical-device industry has long opposed the new excise tax imposed under the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans have recently trained their focus on the HSAs policy. The law bans the use of HSAs to pay for nonprescription drugs unless a doctor writes a prescription anyway.

    Cantor also said the House is likely to vote Wednesday on a bipartisan Food and Drug Administration bill. The Senate has passed its version, and leaders want to get a final bill to Obama’s desk by July 4.

  • Medical specialists push back on initiative from healthcare law

    Medical specialists are urging regulators to slow implementation of an initiative funded by the 2010 healthcare law that aims to streamline care for some low-income elderly and disabled patients.

    In a letter, the Alliance of Speciality Medicine asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a one-year delay on the grounds that the current “direction and speed” of the project’s implementation would jeopardize payments to medical professionals as well as the care of so-called dual eligibles — people enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

    “While the goal of the program is to eliminate duplication of services for these patients,” the group wrote, “we are deeply concerned about unintended consequences.”

  • News bites: 2012 politics cast shadow over Mass. health reform, and more

    Healthcare cost containment will pose a challenge to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) this year as the state’s “RomneyCare” program continues to be seen as a bellwether for the national healthcare law. The Boston Globe has more.

    A new bill in Pennsylvania would defund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions in addition to women’s healthcare services. The Post-Gazette has more.

    Lawmakers in Illinois passed $1.6 billion in budget cuts, many of which will hit Medicaid, the Chicago Tribune reports.

    Budget cuts around the country mean fewer nurses in schools, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    Hotels and health clubs will have until early next year to comply with rules regarding pool access for disabled people, The Associated Press reports.

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