First Edition: July 3, 2012

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Today's headlines include reports that continue to delve into the policy-oriented and political repercussions of last week's high court decision on the health law.

Kaiser Health News: States Balk At Expanding Medicaid
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in collaboration with McClatchy, reports: "Hours after the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama's health law on Thursday, but made its Medicaid expansion optional, senior White House officials were asked by a reporter how they would entice states to participate" (Galewitz, 7/2). Read the story.

Kaiser Health News: Court Ruling Doesn't Quell Partisan Feelings On Health Law
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau reports: "The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act did not change the partisan public divide on the law, according to a new poll gauging initial reaction. People's views on Thursday's ruling were evenly split and generally reflected what they thought of the law in the first place" (Rau, 7/2). Read the story.

Kaiser Health News: States Already Taking Radically Different Approaches To Court Ruling
According to this story, which is part of a reporting partnership between Kaiser Health News, Mississippi Public Radio, Capital Public Radio, KUHF and NPR, the post-health-law decision landscape creates a lot of action on the state level. Three states – Mississippi, California and Texas -- illustrate the range of approaches emerging in the wake of the court's ruling. Here are the dispatches from NPR member station reporters (7/2). Read the story.

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Rating Doctors Is Tricky, But Consumer Reports Does It In Mass.
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "Physicians have long been prickly about Web sites that assign them points or letter grades or even smiley and frowning faces based on patient reviews of their experiences. Picking a physician is more complicated than buying a toaster, they say, and doctors can't be accurately evaluated solely on the basis of whether they're good communicators, for example, or keep appointments punctually" (Andrews, 7/2). Read the column.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Blogwatch: Implications Of Ruling On Medicaid Expansion; Wash. Insurer, Official Clash Over Coverage Cuts
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Andrew Villegas checks the blogosphere's reaction to the high court's Medicaid ruling: "Although the Supreme Court's validation of the health law's individual mandate dominated the reports on the decision, the court's ruling on the Medicaid expansion could have just as broad an impact" (Villegas, 7/2). 

Also on the blog, Harris Meyer reports on developments from Washington state: "A fight between the Washington State insurance commissioner and the state's largest seller of individual health insurance is spotlighting problems in that increasingly troubled market. The spat arose over insurers' efforts to curb soaring premiums by restricting or eliminating prescription drug benefits" (Meyer, 7/2). Check out what else is on the blog.

Los Angeles Times: Poll Shows Americans Want Battles Over Healthcare Law To Stop
In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to largely uphold President Obama's healthcare law, a majority of Americans now want to put the fight over the Affordable Care Act behind them, a new national survey indicates. Fifty-six percent of Americans believe opponents of the law should "stop trying to block its implementation and instead move on to other national problems," according to the poll by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation (Levey, 7/2).

Los Angeles Times: Poll: Americans Split On Supreme Court's Healthcare Decision
Americans remain sharply divided on President Obama's healthcare reform law following the affirmation of most of its provisions by the Supreme Court. But, a new CNN/ORC poll reveals that there have been some positive, if slight, gains for the Affordable Care Act since its contentious passage into law (Little, 7/2).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Polls: Modest Movement On Health Overhaul
Early polls taken right after the ruling showed a moderate uptick in support for the overhaul, as well as support overall for moving on to other concerns. Another raft of polling released Monday confirms that sentiment. A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that just six in 10 Americans were aware of the ruling. Of the 1,239 adults polled in the survey, 47% said they approved of the court's decision to uphold the law, while 43% disapproved (King, 7/2).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Mass. Health Care Law, 6 Years On, May Point To Successes And Challenges Ahead For Federal Law
Massachusetts has the nation's highest rate of residents with health insurance. Visits to emergency rooms are beginning to ease. More residents are getting cancer screenings and more women are making prenatal doctors' visits. Still, one of the biggest challenges for the state lies ahead: reining in spiraling costs (7/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Some States Balk At Medicaid Expansion
Opposition to expanding Medicaid under the health-care overhaul is hardening in some Republican-led states, as Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said over the weekend that he will opt out. His decision puts the former hospital executive at odds with state hospitals. Another half dozen Republican-led states-;Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin-;say they, too, may opt out of widening eligibility for the federal-state insurance program for the poor starting in 2014 (Radnofsky, Mathews and McWhirter, 7/2).

The New York Times: Republican Governor Of Florida Says State Won't Expand Medicaid
In another sign of resistance to President Obama's health care overhaul, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, said Monday that his state would not expand its Medicaid program (Pear, 7/2).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Fact Check: With Obama Rosy, Romney Foreboding, On Health Law, Beware The Claims
President Barack Obama promises nothing will change for people who like their health coverage except it'll become more affordable, but the facts don't back him up. Mitt Romney groundlessly calls the health care law a slayer of jobs certain to deepen the national debt. Welcome to the health care debate 2.0. As the claims fly, buyer beware (7/2).

The Washington Post: Romney Camp Sides With Obama That Health Insurance Mandate Is Not Tax
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign on Monday rejected a Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, repudiating a contention made in last week's Supreme Court decision that the law's requirement that individuals carry medical coverage amounts to a tax (Tumulty and Aizenman, 7/2).

Reuters/Chicago Tribune: Romney Agrees With Obama On Key Part Of Healthcare Law
But on Monday, Obama's rival for the White House, Republican Mitt Romney, took some of the air out of his party's assault on the president over healthcare. Campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom acknowledged that Romney does not see the healthcare penalty as a tax, and instead considers it a penalty. Fehrnstrom's comments to MSNBC, which were accompanied by a new push by the Romney campaign to focus on jobs, indicated that Romney's team does not want to linger on the healthcare ruling - a victory for Obama in court - and instead is keen to highlight Obama's weakness, the economy (7/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Romney, Obama Agree: Health-Mandate Penalty Isn't A Tax
Mitt Romney's campaign is aligning itself with President Barack Obama-;and breaking from Republican leaders-;by saying the government will be imposing a penalty, not a tax, on people who don't buy insurance as required by the new health-care law. The break from his Republican allies illustrates the difficulty the presumptive GOP presidential nominee faces in criticizing the president for a national health-care law that resembles the one Mr. Romney signed as Massachusetts governor. Both laws include a requirement that most individuals buy insurance coverage (O'Connor, 7/2).

NPR: Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Argument
There apparently isn't a unified Republican message on whether President Obama has introduced a big new tax through the Affordable Care Act. Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide to Mitt Romney, said Monday that the Republican presidential candidate's position is that the penalty under the new law -; the one for people who can afford to buy health insurance, but don't -; is not a tax (James, 7/2).

The New York Times: Romney Campaign And GOP At Odds On Health Care 'Tax'
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign threw cold water on a central Republican attack line on Monday, saying that President Obama's health care mandate should be thought of as a penalty and not a tax (Shear, 7/2).

The New York Times: Supreme Court Memo: After Ruling, Roberts Makes Getaway From The Scorn
The chief justice was correct to anticipate a level of fury unusual even in the wake of a blockbuster decision with vast political, practical and constitutional consequences. The criticism came from all sides. And it was directed not at the court as whole or even at the majority in the 5-to-4 decision. It was aimed squarely at him (Liptak, 7/2).

The Washington Post: AMA President: Health Care Will Require Larger Workforce
While the law will take big steps toward expanding insurance coverage, Hoven cautions that there are still big challenges for doctors ahead. She spoke Friday about the country's shortage of doctors, how she and others will "teach" new patients to use their health insurance and what role doctors play in team-based health care (7/2).

The New York Times: Glaxo Agrees To Pay $3 Billion In Fraud Settlement
In the largest settlement involving a pharmaceutical company, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug, federal prosecutors announced Monday. The agreement also includes civil penalties for improper marketing of a half-dozen other drugs (Thomas and Schmidt, 7/2).

Los Angeles Times: GlaxoSmithKline To Pay $3 Billion Healthcare Fraud Settlement, U.S. Says
Pharmaceutical drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion and plead guilty to federal charges to resolve a slew of criminal and civil issues stemming from its use of kickbacks, mis-branding and other misconduct to market drugs such as Paxil, Wellbutrin and Advair, the U.S. government announced. The agreement is the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history, spanning nearly every state, according to the Justice Department. It's also the largest payment ever by a drug company (Hsu, 7/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Glaxo In $3 Billion Settlement
Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges of illegally marketing drugs and withholding safety data from U.S. regulators, and to pay $3 billion to the government in what the Justice Department called the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history (Whalen, Barrett and Loftus, 7/2).

NPR: Glaxo To Plead Guilty To 3 Charges In Sweeping Health Settlement
The British drugmaker has agreed to pay $3 billion and will plead guilty to three misdemeanor criminal charges related to its unlawful marketing of two antidepressants -; Paxil and Wellbutrin -; and failure to provide the Food and Drug Administration with required information about studies that could have shed light on safety problems with the diabetes pill Avandia (Hensley, 7/2).

The New York Times: Mississippi's Lone Abortion Clinic, Given Temporary Reprieve, Fields Rush Of Calls
The phones buzzed over and over at Mississippi's only abortion clinic on Monday. Yes, receptionists told the dozens of young women who called, they could still see a doctor about an unwanted pregnancy. But they would need to come soon (Brown, 7/2).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: With Boomers Coming, Hospice Industry Diversifies
Forget that image of a hospice worker sitting next to a hospital bed in a dimly lit room. Today, hospice care is delivered everywhere from the golf course to the casino. As they brace for the eventual needs of the aging baby boom generation, hospice providers are working to diversify their services and dispel misconceptions about what they do (7/2).

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.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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