Morning CheckUp: August 29, 2011

GOP radio address attacks Democrats for ‘lying’ about entitlement reform: “Let’s stop the lies about who wants to end Medicare or eliminate Social Security and fix both programs now,” Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) said. “Every member of Congress knows these programs are unsustainable in their current state. They will not be around for our generation or the next unless Congress takes the necessary steps to strengthen these programs. They can be fixed, but the lies have to stop. Nobody is proposing that we end Medicare or Social Security.” [USA Today]

Perry’s malpractice claims debunked by Politifact: “The wholesale transformation that Perry describes is not backed up by the numbers. Perry said Texas has 21,000 more doctors thanks to tort reform. That’s flat out wrong. Texas has only about 13,000 more doctors in the state and the historic trends suggest that population growth was the driving factor. We rate his statement False.” [NPR]

Insurance industry may see less profit as a result of reform: “According to a new projection from the Boston Consulting Group, insurance industry revenues are expected to double to more than $1.2 trillion from 2011 to 2019 as an influx of previously uninsured people buy coverage. However, the industry’s profit margin could decline from nearly 5% to below 3% during that time period.” [MedPage Today]

Medicaid managed care could lead to gains: “With the expansion of Medicaid managed care underway in at least 20 states and the surge of enrollment in 2014, insurers expect $60 billion in new annual revenue.” [Washington Post]

Although it’s unclear that it can generate savings: “The National Bureau of Economic Research published this month the first national report on Medicaid managed care and cost savings. It’s verdict: moving Medicaid recipients into managed care ‘did not lead to lower Medicaid spending during the 1991 to 2003 period.'” [Sarah Kliff]

Kansas committee will still pursue exchanges: “A committee working on establishing a health insurance exchange in Kansas decided on Wednesday to continue its efforts even though Gov. Sam Brownback rejected a $31.5 million federal grant to set up the exchange, and many in the Legislature want nothing to do with it.” [LJWorld]

Texas sonogram law goes into effect this week: “One new law requires a doctor to attempt to show a woman seeking an abortion a sonogram of the fetus, to describe the image and to provide the sound of the fetal heartbeat before the procedure. Federal Judge Sam Sparks is expected to rule before Thursday on a challenge to the law by the Center for Reproductive Rights.” [Express News]

California passes key health reform legislation: The California Senate passed legislation dealing with rate regulation and limiting the amount of premium dollar that could be spent on insurer profit. The bills now head for a final vote and must pass the full legislature in the next two weeks. [California Progress Report]

Drug supplements may contain deadly ingredients: Americans spent $28.1 billion on drug supplements last year, up from $21.3 billion five years ago. But some of these products “contain amphetamines, synthetic steroids, laxatives and compounds like the active drug in Viagra” and “can cause heart attacks and strokes, and can damage the kidneys and liver.” [NYT]