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Morning CheckUp: July 19, 2011

By Igor Volsky  

"Morning CheckUp: July 19, 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?

Health care safer in Senate debt deal: “The complex Senate plan to boost the nation’s debt limit in short order, paired with a promise to slash federal spending on the back end, could give the health care sector a potentially fairer shake even though its lobbyists still expect Medicare and Medicaid to be in play.” [Matt DoBias]

Preventive services guidelines released on Wednesday: “Depending on the group’s recommendation, contraception could become part of a package of preventive benefits that every health plan would have to cover without patient cost-sharing. In other words, it would become effectively free.” [Julie Rovner]

IPAB repeal vote coming: CQ Healthbeat reports that House Republicans intend to vote on legislation (HR 452) that would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory in the fall. [California HealthLine]

Federal health exchanges a paper tiger? The law “does not give HHS the power to regulate insurance sold outside the exchanges — which would basically require it to take over the job of the state insurance commissioners. And it doesn’t give HHS the power to take over a state’s Medicaid program, even though the exchanges are supposed to handle enrollment when Medicaid is expanded to new populations in 2014.” [Lester Feder]

Fixing Medicaid glitch could hurt the disabled: “Republicans want to change the law to ensure that Medicaid remains a program for the poor, but several advocates say simply counting Social Security benefits as revenue would hurt people with disabilities. Some 1.8 million people receive Social Security disability benefits but aren’t eligible for Medicare, and the law in its current form would allow many of them to get onto Medicaid.” [Sam Baker]

Maine governor touts insurance deregulation: Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) “defended his decisions to deregulate the insurance market with his trademark dry humor and a story about regulations that force nuns to buy maternity care.” [Julian Pecquet]

CO-OP rule released: “The proposed co-ops will be funded through $3.8 billion in government loans and governed by consumers, according to the proposed rules. Co-ops would qualify for start-up loans if they have a high probability of becoming financially viable, which the CMS will determine based on evaluations of their legal, operational and business plans.” [Modern Healthcare]

North Dakota sued over abortion drug: “The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against a new North Dakota law that, by placing new and unnecessary restrictions on the safe and common use of FDA-approved drugs to induce first-trimester abortions, would effectively ban medication abortions entirely.” [RH Reality Check]

San Francisco’s employer health fee to increase: “Beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, employers with 100 or more employees in San Francisco will be required to spend $2.20 per hour per covered employee on health care, up from $2.06 in 2011. Employers with 20 through 99 employees will have to spend at least $1.46 per hour, up from $1.37, city officials announced last week.” [Business Insurance]

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