Morning CheckUp: August 1, 2011

Debt ceiling deal: “President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached an agreement on a two-stage deal to raise the federal government’s debt ceiling, with potential for an automatic round of future budget cuts that could include Medicare payments to providers and subsidies for Medicare Advantage plans.” [Modern Healthcare]

Florida still rejecting ACA funds: “Despite having the country’s fourth-highest unemployment rate, its second-highest rate of people without insurance and a $3.7 billion budget gap this year, the state has turned away scores of millions of dollars in grants made available under the Affordable Care Act. And it is not pursuing grants worth many millions more. ” [NY Times]

Medicare to penalize hospitals with high readmissions: “In an effort to save money and improve care, Medicare, the federal program for the elderly and disabled, is about to release a final rule aimed at getting hospitals to pay more attention to patients after discharge. A key component of the new approach is to cut back payments to hospitals where high numbers of patients are readmitted, prodding hospitals to make sure patients see their doctors and fill their prescriptions.” [Washington Post]

Medicare cuts payments to nursing homes: “Medicare said it will cut payment rates to skilled nursing facilities by 11.1% next fiscal year, sending shares of health-care providers tumbling after hours. The decision adjusts for what the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services called an unexpected increase in nursing-home payments this fiscal year and rejects another option that would have likely provided a 1.5% funding increase. ” [WSJ]

Maryland steps-up abortion clinic regulations: “Abortion clinics in Maryland will have to apply for a state license, provide a 24-hour hotline for patients, show that they have qualified anesthesia providers and develop emergency plans should procedures go awry according to new draft regulations the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released Friday.” [Baltimore Sun]

Planned Parenthood in court today: Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri heads into a courtroom Monday in hopes of convincing a federal judge to block the implementation of a state provision defunding the clinic. [AP]

Rick Scott signs abortion bills already in law: Scott “shored up his conservative base Saturday with a ceremonial bill signing of four anti-abortion measures that are already law and went into effect nearly a month ago.” [Palm Beach Post]

Support for abortion growing: “The poll showed that 36 percent of adults think women should have access to abortion in “all circumstances. That’s up from 23 percent in 2009.” [CBS News]

Paul Ryan presses for changing tax treatment of employer health care: “In the last Congress, I introduced the Patients’ Choice Act that would have ended this discriminatory tax treatment and, instead, put Americans in charge of their health care dollars. This policy change would give people the freedom to shop for the health care coverage they want using a portable tax credit.” [Politico]

Center-right replacement for ACA: “A group of Washington D.C. Republican-leaning former business and government officials have launched a coalition to build support for a policy to replace the sweeping 2010 health law if it were to be repealed through the legislative or judicial process.” [Kaiser Health News]

Don Berwick on care coordination: “We’re moving on the right path toward the three core goals that guide all CMS strategy and were put within our reach by the ACA: better health, better care and lower costs. That’s a future that deserves all the determination that we can bring to it.” [Politico]