Morning CheckUp: July 21, 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?

Short-term debt deal not an option? “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Wednesday that he opposed pursuing a one-month extension of the nation’s debt ceiling so that Congress could hammer out legislative language and agreement on the so-called Gang of Six deficit reduction compromise. In a lunch with a handful of reporters, Reid cautioned that the process of actually writing the legislation and getting it scored by the Congressional Budget Office could last beyond the month of August.” [Sam Stein]

A reminder on CLASS: According to the CBO, the long-term health program which the Gang of Six seeks to repeal, would “generate a $72 billion SURPLUS in its first ten years, and smaller SURPLUSES in its next ten years. It was only in the decade after 2029 that the bill would increase deficits” that “would be fairly
small compared with the effects of the bill’s other provisions.” [GoozNews]

Repeal will cost $86 billion: “What’s strange to me is that this started out as a cost saver, and now it’s being targeted in the name of cost savings,” said Judy Feder, a professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and fellow at the Urban Institute. “The people who are saying it will cost us money say that that’s a challenge that cannot be met, but I believe it can.” [Politico]

Medigap reforms will also increase costs for beneficiaries: “A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (PDF) analyzed three potential Medigap-reform scenarios and found that all options could save between $1.5 billion and $4.6 billion in Medicare spending in a single year—and also result in increased out-of-pocket spending for enrollees.” [ModernHealthcare]

Dr. Coach: “A budding model for primary care that encourages the family doctor to act as a health coach who focuses as much on preventing illness as on treating it has shown promising results and saved insurers millions of dollars.” [AP]

Retailers work to eliminate food deserts: “Walmart pledged today to open up to 300 stores in food deserts by 2016, but other giant retailers are involved, too. Walgreens says it will start offering whole fruits and vegetables, SUPERVALU is building 250 new stores, and various smaller groups are joining forces and money in the effort.” [NPR]

Conservatives’ take on the IOM recs: “It’s feminist pork. It’s a, it’s a wish list, it’s a dream list for feminists,” Sandy Rios, a vice president for Family Pac Federal says. [Fox News]

20-week abortion ban now law in Ohio: “Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law on Wednesday a ban on late-term abortions, the latest of several anti-abortion measures passed this year by Republican-controlled state legislatures.” Although there is an exception to the ban if a pregnant woman’s life is at risk, it does not include cases of rape or incest. Five other states have passed the same legislation. [Reuters]

Why health costs keep increasing: “[B]ecause there’s no government saying no to their prices in America, they can basically charge us whatever they want, as we have enormous trouble saying no on our own.” [Ezra Klein]

What to research: “A body of experts on Wednesday began seeking public input on the type of research that should be conducted under the auspices of the healthcare reform law.” [Julian Pecquet]

Cancer risk linked to height: “Taller people face higher risks of getting cancer, according to research published Wednesday, suggesting increases in height over the past century might help explain changes in incidence of the disease.” [WSJ]

Web filter blocking abortion info: “A new parental control web filter for google chrome has an unusual problem. It doesn’t seem to block really obvious sex sites, but is determined to ensure your child doesn’t get exposed to abortion information.” [RH Reality Check]