Morning CheckUp: August 3, 2011

Pelosi took entitlement cuts off the table: “A senior Democratic aide tells The Hill it was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who took Medicare and Social Security cuts off the table in last-minute negotiations over the debt ceiling. The White House had previously put Medicare very much on the table, by proposing to raise the eligibility age to 67. House Democrats, though, took a harder line on Medicare and Social Security — issues they see as winners in the 2012 cycle.” [Healthwatch]

Who will sit on the 12-member super committee: Some names being floated on the Senate side — Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT), Finance ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Minority Whip Jon Kyl and Budget ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-AL). [Inside Health Policy]

Knives will be out for Medicare and Medicaid: The problem for health care providers – and, potentially, patients – is that a “supercommittee” of 12 members of Congress; six from each chamber and each party; is charged with coming up with $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction in a very short period of time. “Medicare and Medicaid are just a huge part of the budget and you can’t ignore the fact that the supercommittee is going to have to deal with health care costs. There’s just no getting around it,” health industry consultant Robert Laszewski says. [Julie Rovner]

Rate review having limited impact: “Despite increasing resources to bolster state reviews of insurance rates and encouraging regulators to check spiraling insurance costs under the healthcare reform law, a new report found a relatively small effect nationwide on premium increases.” [Modern Healthcare]

Rates cut in Rhode Island: “A 20.1% rate increase request for large-group business in Rhode Island submitted by UnitedHealthcare of New England was cut to 10% when the state’s health insurance commissioner decided the insurer set aside too much for administrative costs and projected higher medical inflation than other insurers in the state.” [Business Insurance]

Consumer advocates worried about essential benefit package: “State officials are anxiously awaiting HHS’ upcoming essential benefits package and are worried about how the package may influence which existing insurance mandates states can retain. Sources say the issue is of particular concern for patient advocates because they have fought for years to have mandates enacted in their respective states and it remains to be seen whether existing mandates will fit in with the new federal benefits or whether the states will have to incur additional costs to keep them.” [Rachana Dixit]

San Fran goes after crisis pregnancy centers: The city is alleging that “crisis pregnancy centers use deceptive advertising as they seek to limit access to abortion for low-income women and immigrants.” [San Francisco Examiner]

Americans still self-rationing health care: “Deloitte‘s 2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers in the United States: Key Findings, Strategic Implications found that this self-rationing behavior dramatically increased in the past two years. In 2009, 35% of U.S. adults said they decided not to see a doctor when they were sick or hurt because the cost was too high. By 2011, 49% responded this way — an increase of 40%.” [Health Populi]

Fewer kids exposed to junk food ads: “Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago crunched Nielsen Media Research ratings data and found that exposure to ads for less healthful foods and drinks fell 38% for kids aged 2 to 5 and 28% for kids 6 to 11 between 2003 and 2009. Overall exposure to food-related ads in general fell, too, as kids saw fewer ads for cereals, sweets, beverages and snacks.” [WSJ]