Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday Themes

And so it's Thursday, which means almost Friday, which is good. Here's today's news:

The GOP is nothing if not consistent. They won't agree to raise the debt limit without corresponding cuts in spending -- and they are against raising revenue by raising taxes on the rich, or cutting oil subsidies, or cutting defense spending. There was no progress made at a meeting yesterday of the GOP and the President. The Tea Party is urging the GOP to oppose any increase in the debt limit, with or without spending cuts. Meanwhile, Dems are trying hard to prevent gutting social programs. And opposition to the GOP plan to destroy Medicare is resulting in higher approval ratings of the health reform law.

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard argument on the health reform law yesterday. It was a less friendly (less Democratic) panel than the Fourth Circuit and the 11th Circuit, which hears the case next week. One of the plaintiffs in the Sixth Circuit case went ahead and bought insurance, undermining her argument that insurance is unaffordable, so there's some question whether that suit can still go forward at all. It's all somewhat academic; everyone agrees this is going to the Supremes.

A new report finds that Medicare payment formulas are deeply flawed, so payments to doctors and hospitals should be revised. And a 5 year experiment to pay doctors in Medicare based on outcomes rather than services performed did not result in lower costs, as had been hoped.

House Republicans are pushing back over a number of public health measures that would affect school lunches and the FDA. There is a philosophical debate going on here over the role of the federal government. They seem to forget that the federal government stepped into these roles over time out of necessity.

California Medicaid enrollees are being put into managed care plans. Expect chaos, coverage denials, and higher costs if it's anything like what happened here in Connecticut.

Will generic versions of biologics like Humira bring down costs? The health reform law paves the way.

Michelle Obama will introduce a new nutrition symbol to replace the old food pyramid today -- and it's a plate! No photo available just yet, but it should be out today.

And that's the morning's news. Have a great day! Jennifer

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