Friday, October 28, 2011

This Week in Health Care Reform: October 28, 2011

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This Week in Health Reform: October 28, 2011


As we await a Supreme Court decision on whether or not the health care reform law will be reviewed, other revisions are taking place such as the implementation of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services new rating program, as well as a request from members of the Republican Governors Association for the Super Committee to review cost allocation. 

We encourage you to stay educated about the implementation efforts around reform by voicing your perspective to Members of Congress and by visiting the Health Action Network. 

Health Care Reform

SCOTUS Decision May Come in November: Supreme Court officials submitted five of the six cases regarding the health care reform law to the nine justices for review. An announcement on whether the cases will be heard could be made by November 14. Petitions to review the law's constitutionality have come from the Obama Administration, Attorneys General from twenty-six states and groups including the National Federation of Independent Business, Liberty University and the Thomas More Law Center. 

Administration Looks to Stimulate Hiring for Veterans: Administration officials announced plans on Tuesday for two new initiatives that will encourage federally funded health centers to hire veterans and provide more training programs for them to become physician assistants. The initiatives will be funded from existing budget in the Recovery Act and health care reform law.

RGA Sends Letter to the Super Committee about Costs: Republican Governors Haley Barbour, Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels, sent a letter on Monday to the congressional Super Committee asking that that the panel integrate proposed Medicaid changes to cut the deficit. The RGA, along with some democratic governors, oppose President Obama's plan to reduce federal Medicaid funding for the states.

Industry News 

CMS Proposes Revisions to Medicare Advantage: Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently created a performance rating program for Medicare prescription drug plans in response to low reviews given to the plans by federal officials. CMS is recommending a new revision that will allow the agency to expel plans from the program that receive lower than a three star rating in three consecutive years.

Employers Promote Healthy Habits: Employers like American Express Co. have started to offer employees cash incentives for participating in health activities. The goal for this approach is to instill preventative behavior in employees to increase worker productivity and decrease health care costs.

Public Opinion

Small Businesses Struggle with Regulations: A recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll found that 22 percent of small-business owners in the United States are most likely to say that meeting government regulations is the most significant problem they face. Fourteen percent of those polled said that decreasing regulations would help create the most jobs.

Looking Ahead

As the November 23 deadline approaches to agree on a debt-reduction plan, the congressional Super Committee continues to search for a compromise.

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