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Morning CheckUp: July 12, 2011

By Igor Volsky  

"Morning CheckUp: July 12, 2011"

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Welcome to Morning CheckUp, ThinkProgress Health’s 7:00 AM round-up of the latest in health policy and politics. Here is what we’re reading, what are you?

HHS releases much anticipated exchange regulations: “Despite lobbying from consumer groups, insurers will be allowed to hold seats on exchange oversight boards and states will not be required to negotiate with plans on price or benefit offerings.” [Kaiser Health News]

Insurers want full access to the exchanges: “All health plans offering coverage in the new exchanges will be required to meet new quality and performance standards,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a statement. “To enhance competition and preserve consumer choice, all health plans that meet these new standards should be allowed to offer coverage through the exchanges.” [Modern Healthcare]

Health stocks fell after regs release: The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Managed Health-Care Index slid 2.6 percent at 4 p.m. New York time. [Bloomberg]

Insurers are experimenting with private exchanges: “Next month, two insurance companies, Minneapolis-based Medica and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, will give some subscribers the opportunity to go into an online marketplace and choose from more than a dozen insurance plans — with their employers footing a certain chunk of the bill.” [Sarah Kliff]

IPAB hearings begin today: Experts are split on whether the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will successfully control health costs or fall to the influence of lobbyists. The House Budget Committee kicks off two days of hearings on the board today. [Julie Rovner]

Georgia to re-examine Medicaid program: “The state Department of Community Health plans to hire a consultant to evaluate the $6 billion-plus program and identify potential options to redesign it, as well as study ideas emerging in other states. A complete review is expected by year’s end.” [AJC]

Protect Your Health asks GOP to return health benefits: “A pro-healthcare reform group is publicly demanding that lawmakers from eight battleground states return their government health insurance after they voted for GOP legislation to overhaul Medicare’s payment system.” [Julian Pecquet]

House Dems build support for greater pharma savings, industry fights back: “Ranking Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees on Monday (June 11) circulated a dear-colleague letter in support of forcing brand drug maker to pay 23 percent rebates on drugs that low-income subsidy beneficiaries take. The same day, the brand drug industry publicly made its case against the rebates by releasing a study showing major job losses would result, and on Friday the generic drug industry sent a letter to the White House arguing that the rebates would leave them with no brands to copy.” [Inside Health Policy]

HHS helps states lower costs for dual eligible population: “The three separate programs include a demonstration program to test two new financial models in order to better coordinate care for individuals enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid; a demonstration program to help states improve the quality of care for people in nursing homes aimed at reducing hospitalizations; and establishing a technical resource center to help states improve care for high-need high-cost beneficiaries.” [Healthcare Finance News]

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