Morning CheckUp: July 20, 2011

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?

‘Gang of 6’ proposal includes health cuts: The plan unveiled by the Senate’s newly revived “Gang of Six” would save more than $200 billion, “pay for a complete overhaul of the flawed Medicare physician payment formula, erase a long-term-insurance program created under last year’s health reform law and enact medical malpractice reform.” [Politico]

House passes Cut, Cap, Balance: The proposal would cut spending by $111 billion in 2012 and cap future outlays to 19.9% of the nation’s gross domestic output. It also would require that Congress send a balanced-budget constitutional amendment to the states for ratification. President Obama has threatened to veto the measure and it is likely to die in the Senate. [LA Times]

Latinos would be disproportionately affected by the reductions: A new report from Families USA and the National Council of La Raza offers a state-by-state breakdown of the number of Latinos relying on Medicaid in each state and argues that they would be greatly impacted by the program cuts currently under consideration. [The Hill]

Birth control without additional co-pays: Health care experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that should “offer female patients free coverage of prescription birth control, breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests.” Sebelius praised the committee’s work as historic and said it was “based on science and existing literature.’’ [Washington Post]

Health care use still sluggish: “For companies like UnitedHealth that help pay the bills, patients making fewer doctors’ visits is boosting earnings. For product-making companies like J&J, however, the slowdown mutes sales. This has been going on for months and, like persistently high unemployment, doesn’t seem poised to change quickly.” [WSJ]

States back Missouri’s health law challenge: Twenty-one state attorneys general filed court papers Monday supporting Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal health care reform. A federal judge dismissed the suit in April, ruling that Kinder and the six other named plaintiffs lacked standing or that their claims were not ripe for judicial consideration. [STLToday]

Idaho will accept ACA funds after all: “Idaho was set to accept as much as $19 million in federal cash linked to the health care overhaul as state agencies take advantage of waiver provisions that help them skirt Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s executive order aimed at blocking them from taking some of the money.” [NECN]

Kasich moves forward with exchanges: “Although Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor repeatedly has ripped the new federal health-care law, the Kasich administration still plans to fully implement it in Ohio.” Gov. John Kasich said he’s enacting the measure to make sure residents are “able to have a way to shop and find out what’s available, but we also don’t want a bunch of people in Washington who can’t seem to get out of their way come in here and try to run Ohio.” [Dispatch]

Patient advocates rally against Florida’s Medicaid privatization: “More than 100 groups and nonprofits have signed a letter to federal officials, urging Medicaid administrators to reject Florida’s plan to move Medicaid patients into managed care.” [Orlando Sentinel]

Foods may be fatter than they appear: “About 20% of meals tested by scientists pack at least 100 more calories than indicated on the menu, a study finds. Some foods are off by as much as 225 calories.” [LA Times]

The fattest food awards: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) announced its winners for their Fourth annual ‘Xtreme Eating Awards.’ Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt, Cheesecake Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger and Cold Stone Creamery PB&C Shake were just some of the dishes that offered the highest calories, fat and sodium. [NPR]