First Edition: February 18, 2014

Published on February 18, 2014 at 7:58 AM · No Comments

The Washington Post: Congressional Republicans Are Focused On Calming Their Divided Ranks
After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within the GOP and shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year. Comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, tweaks to the federal health-care law -; bipartisan deals on each are probably dead in the water for the rest of this Congress (Costa, 2/17). 

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Issa Rails Against Obama's 'Imperial Presidency'
As chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa is probing some of the Obama administration's most provocative controversies: the troubled rollout of the health care website, the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of politically active groups, the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records and the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed three Americans (2/18).

The Associated Press/Los Angeles Times: Starr Leads Purchase Of Healthcare Services Firm MultiPlan
A group led by Starr Investment Holdings said Monday that it is buying MultiPlan Inc., which helps manage claims for large health insurers. The price was $4.4 billion, according to a person close to the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the companies did not disclose terms (2/17).

The New York Times' DealBook: C.V. Starr And Partner Buy Health Care Concern In A $4.4 Billion Deal
MultiPlan was purchased by the private equity firms BC Partners and Silver Lake Partners in 2010 for about $3 billion, with the private equity firms each investing about $600 million. Founded in 1980, MultiPlan manages the claims process for insurers, corporate self-funded health plans and health maintenance organizations. The company processes about 40 million insurance claims annually (Bray and De La Merced, 2/17).

Los Angeles Times: Generic Drug Makers Fight Rule On Health Risk Warnings 
Companies that make generic drugs, the medications most Americans buy, are fighting to kill a proposed federal regulation that would require them for the first time to warn patients of all the known health risks of each drug they sell. The proposed rule change by the Food and Drug Administration "would be nothing short of catastrophic," said Ralph G. Neas, president of the Generic Pharmaceutical Assn., an industry trade group. It could raise healthcare costs and "create dangerous confusion" for doctors and patients, he said (Savage, 2/16).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Style, Stances Of Ohio's GOP Governor Evolving
Kasich stirred up opponents of tax increases by pushing hikes on oil and gas drillers whose companies are fueling an economic boom in eastern Ohio's shale country. He has riled Republicans opposed to President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul by first advocating a Medicaid expansion allowed under the law, then forcing the program change through a legislative panel against GOP lawmakers' wishes (2/16).

Politico: Push Continues For 20-Week Abortion Bans
New attempts to ban abortion after 20 weeks are gaining traction in the South, where Republican-led Legislatures have repeatedly adopted restrictions in recent years. Such bans, which supporters often call "fetal pain" laws, are already advancing in South Carolina and Mississippi. And a bill to prohibit abortion at a pregnancy's midpoint is about to be introduced in Florida. It's a repeat effort from a 2011 package of regulations in Tallahassee, and proponents say the measure has an improved chance of passage (Cunningham, 2/14).

The New York Times: Writers Guild Plans Forum On Affordable Care Act
On Tuesday night, an expected crowd of 100 or so screenwriters and others will gather in Lower Manhattan at the headquarters of the Writers Guild of America East to hear thoughts about the Affordable Care Act and its place in comedy and drama. But whether any movie and television scripts that happen to be affected will have audiences laughing or crying about Obamacare still is not clear (Cieply, 2/16).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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