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Morning CheckUp: July 25, 2011

By Igor Volsky on July 25, 2011 at 7:00 am

"Morning CheckUp: July 25, 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?

Reid’s debt ceiling plan: Boehner and Reid are preparing separate backup plans to raise the nation’s debt ceiling on Sunday after they and the White House were unable to form a bipartisan plan. Reid would cut about $2.7 trillion without touching “any of the entitlement programs that are dear to Democrats or raise taxes, which is anathema to Republicans.” [NYT]

Boehner’s debt ceiling plan: “Raise the debt limit in two phases, with a smaller increase of about $1 trillion immediately, which would carry the government through the end of this year, matched by a similar amount of spending cuts. The second increase would depend on a deficit-reduction commission’s recommendations.The commission would recommend a set of changes to safety-net programs and a tax overhaul in hopes of closing the deficit by as much as another $3 trillion. Once that package was adopted, the debt ceiling would be raised again in January 2012.” [WSJ]

A third option: Obama “should demand that the Congress get a clean bill raising the debt limit to his desk by Thursday. Moreover, he should state that he will veto any bill encumbered by amendments, and emphasize that if the Congress does not comply he will take the issue to the American people.” [Elizabeth Drew]

Bachmann explains anti-abortion views: “Francis Schaeffer also said that life is the watershed issue of our time, and how we come down on how we view human life will impact all other issues,” she said. “And so Marcus and I decided we didn’t want to be pro-life only, just as speaking… We wanted to live a life of being about pro-life.” Bachmann said that shortly after that realization, her and her husband began counseling and praying with single mothers, even driving them to adoption centers as an alternative to abortion.” [Des Moines Register]

Health providers embrace ACOs: “Hospital administrators and health care experts across the country say they’re creating the organizations, despite concerns about federal rules, because they realize they are the only way to remain profitable as a large portion of the nation’s population moves toward old age.” [USA Today]

Rep. Lois Capps defends IOM’s contraception recommendations: “There is nothing new or novel about requiring health insurers to cover contraception. For more than 10 years, civil rights laws have made explicit that employers who provide health insurance plans that cover other preventive health care and prescription drugs must cover contraception. Twenty-eight states now require contraceptive coverage in private plans. The Medicaid program has also long required that contraceptives be included as part of the coverage for beneficiaries.” [Politico]

Automakers to focus on health costs in labor negotiations: “One big target for the three U.S. automakers in talks beginning this week with the United Auto Workers for new labor agreements will be the $1.54 billion collectively spent by the companies last year on healthcare for union members and their families.” “Last year GM spent $665 million, Ford about $533 million and Chrysler about $339 million for their UAW-represented workers and families….Who picks up what percentage of that cost pool? That’s where the negotiation starts.” [Reuters]

Iowa health insurers have more time to implement MLR: Rather than being required to spend 80 percent on premium dollars by 2011, “health insurers must maintain medical loss ratios of 67 percent in 2011, 75 percent in 2012, and then come into full compliance with the 80 percent standard by 2013.” [Des Moines Register]

Kentucky also granted a year extension: Companies “must spend at least 75 percent of premiums on medical services this year and 80 percent in 2012.” [Courier Journal]

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