Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

I am looking forward to meeting with my wonderful colleagues to talk about how we think the new Exchanges ought to operate. Here's a primer on Exchanges courtesy of WaPo.

But first, the news:

Again, more evidence that the budget battle in Congress isn't really about the budget at all; it's about defunding health reform and Planned Parenthood -- and throw in gutting environmental regulations, as well. Speaker Boehner says "it's not just about funding." Is it legit to refuse to pass a budget because of items that have nothing to do with the budget? Then again, WaPo reports that the House GOP is looking for moderate Dems to form a consensus view so a budget can be passed without the conservative Tea Partiers in the House, who will defect if the social programs are not cut. This deal would involve about $30 billion in cuts -- something the Senate could live with. Speaker Boehner is in a bind; if he sticks with the Tea Partiers, he's leading us to a shut-down, but if he compromises with Dems, the Tea Partiers will revolt. Majority Leader Eric Cantor is moving right as Boehner moves towards a deal. But there's real fear of a government shut-down. So much so that Senate leader Reid has said he'll look at the social policy riders. And GOP Senator Lindsey Graham urges Speaker Boehner to compromise. Meanwhile, some conservatives are calling it a slow down rather than a shut down, as if that makes it better.

And in other news, the Senate will vote on 3 versions of 1099 (bookkeeping requirement) repeal today. This is one of the pieces of health reform that needs fixing, and it's taking way too long.

Trade groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, want to halt health reform implementation until the Supreme Court rules. Not gonna happen. Oh - and by the way, these groups oppose health reform generally, so it's not just about a time frame.

A new report shows disparities in health care in the DC metro area, with the poor, less educated, and single-parent households struggle to get care.

As you know, Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts when universal, mandatory health care coverage became law. He's being criticized for that now, as he readies for a Presidential bid. Well, yesterday, the architect of the Massachusetts law said "RomneyCare" not only was a great step forward, and not only did it pave the way for the federal health reform law, but Romney was a full participant and supporter. MIT's Jonathan Gruber says Romney's opposition to health reform now is entirely political.

Do teens have special health care needs that should be addressed by specialists in adolescent care?

And that's it for this Wednesday morning. Have a great day! Jennifer

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