Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Update

  • The Providence (RI) Journal reports that "The chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., announced Friday that he has added the mental-health parity bill to a package of tax-relief measures likely to receive full Senate
    consideration soon."I do expect this bill to be enacted in 2008, in which case the new law would apply to the FEHB Program in 2010.
  • The Health subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a health information technology hearing on Thursday July 24. The Ways and Means Committee also holds jurisdiction over the Pro(tech)t Act, HR 6357, which the Energy and Commerce Committee approved earlier in the week. According to the Kaiser Health Care Policy Report, Subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D. Calif.) "said he intends to introduce legislation that would utilize Medicare payments as a way to encourage health care providers to adopt
    EHR systems. In addition, the bill would include patient privacy protection measures that would allow individuals to file suits in the event of a data breach. Stark added that the bill he plans to introduce should not be considered as an effort to override similar measures
    already proposed in Congress. Stark likely could introduce the bill next week, according to sources, CongressDaily reports."
  • According to an Arizona Star report, the House along party lines postponed until next year action on the President's proposal to control Medicare spending, which was mandated by a trigger in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.
  • According to an AP report in USA Today, the Government Accountability Office has found that "When federal regulators catch a drug company peddling prescription medications for an unapproved use, it takes them an average of seven months to issue a warning, according to a draft report by congressional investigators. It typically takes four more months for the company to fix the problem. During that time, a lot prescriptions can be written."

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