Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday's News

And here we go, folks. It's not enough to defund health reform. The GOP says they will include "entitlement reform" in their budget. In case you don't know, that means Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block. President Obama says that the reason he did not include entitlement cuts in his budget it because that will take months of bipartisan conversation; he is not saying he won't agree to the cuts. Is this a strategy to make the GOP come out with politically unpopular proposals?

Meanwhile, President Obama's budget is not without its pain. For example, here's what it means for the Centers for Disease Control. But the GOP budget -- even aside from entitlements -- is pretty harsh, and the President has threatened to veto it. Among other things, they want to cut funding for Community Health Centers. And they've already proposed 400 amendments to the President's budget. There's still talk of a government shut-down if the parties can't agree on at least a continuing resolution in the next couple of weeks. The IRS is asking for $119 million for health reform implementation. And here's a preview of the Health and Human Services budget, which focuses on medical innovation.

And Congress is still trying to work out the details on omitting the one thing everybody agrees should come out of the health reform bill, the 1099 bookkeeping requirement.

As you know, health reform will mean the construction of Exchanges or marketplaces where people can shop for insurance. But there are different ways to run an Exchange. Here's a piece on what Utah is doing. Basically, Utah lets any plan into the Exchange, whereas the Massachusetts model only lets plans that qualify under a set of criteria into the Exchange. States are debating which model is best for them. This is an example of the flexibility the federal plan gives to the States, says Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary.

Next time I get a cold, I'm going to try zinc. They say it's better than chicken soup.

There are new heart health guidelines for women.

And that's today's early news. Have a great day! Jennifer

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