First Edition: December 6, 2012

Published on December 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM · No Comments

Today's headlines include a report that some in the GOP are urging lawmakers to support the idea of trading tax breaks for changes in safety-net programs.  

Kaiser Health News: Huge Experiment Aims To Save On Care For Poorest, Sickest Patients
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Sarah Varney, working in collaboration with USA Today, reports: "Patient advocates around the country, and some lawmakers in Congress, warn that managed care plans – some run by for-profit, publicly traded companies – are ill-equipped to deal with the complex health needs of those who are elderly, mentally ill or disabled. Advocates are looking closely at the experiences of patients like Saavedra in California to see what the pitfalls of the national program may be" (Carey and Varney, 12/6). Read the story or watch the video.

Kaiser Health News: Medicare Changes Loom As 'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations Pick Up
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Congress and possible cuts in federal spending on health care programs (12/5). Listen to the interview or read the transcript.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: KHN Changes How It Describes Medicaid Eligibility Level Under Health Law
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Phil Galewitz writes: "Since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, most news organizations including Kaiser Health News have reported that in 2014 the law would expand Medicaid coverage to nearly everyone with a household income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which this year is nearly $31,000 for a family of four. But that doesn't describe the full picture for those newly eligible for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor" (Galewitz, 12/5). Check out what else is on the blog.

The Washington Post: Some In GOP Urge Lawmakers To Back Tax Hikes For Changes In Safety-Net Programs
A growing chorus of Republicans is urging House leaders to abandon their staunch opposition to higher tax rates for the wealthy with the aim of clearing the way for a broad deal that would also rein in the cost of federal health and retirement programs (Montgomery and Helderman, 12/5).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: AP-GfK Poll: Support For Boosting Taxes On Rich; Fewer Now Back Cutting Government Services
Americans prefer letting tax cuts expire for the country's top earners, as President Barack Obama insists, while support has declined for cutting government services to curb budget deficits, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows. Fewer than half the Republicans polled favor continuing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. There's also a reluctance to trim Social Security, Medicare or defense programs, three of the biggest drivers of federal spending, the survey released Wednesday found (12/6).

Los Angeles Times: Public Wary Of Cutting Hospital Payments To Reduce Deficit
American voters may be concerned about government spending, but they don't want federal budget negotiators to cut payments to hospitals, a new poll indicates. Nearly seven in 10 registered voters said they oppose reductions in what the government Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs pay hospitals, the survey found. Two-thirds believe that such cuts would harm access to healthcare (Levey, 12/5).

The New York Times: Interest Groups Push To Fill Margins Of Health Coverage
The chiropractors were out in force, lobbying for months to get their services included in every state's package of essential health benefits that will be guaranteed under the new health care law. … The acupuncturists were modest by comparison, ultimately focusing on a few states, like California, where they had the best odds of being included. … Both efforts seem to have shown results. Most of the roughly two dozen states that have chosen their essential benefits -; services that insurance will have to cover under the law -; have decided to include chiropractic care in their package (Goodnough, 12/5).

Politico: Medical Device Tax Set But Industry Still Fighting
The IRS has finalized details on the new medical device tax -; as the medical device industry has redoubled its efforts to get it repealed. The 2.3 percent excise tax on many medical devices, which is part of the 2010 health care law, takes effect Jan. 1. On Wednesday, an Internal Revenue Service final rule detailed plans to levy the tax. It was originally projected to raise up to $20 billion in revenues over 10 years, but the Joint Committee on Taxation later estimated it would be around $29 billion (Millman, 12/6).

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