Morning CheckUp: October 18, 2011

Republicans seek to eliminate CLASS: “Hopefully we can kill this thing once and for all so it doesn’t become a drain on our children and grandchildren,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said. The growing drumbeat for repeal comes after the White House announced that it is against repeal and remains committed to making the program work.” [Julian Pecquet]

GOP lays groundwork for full health care repeal: “Republican activists, increasingly optimistic they can win the White House and Senate next year, are beginning to lay the groundwork for a multi-pronged campaign in 2013 to roll back President Obama’s sweeping healthcare overhaul.” [Noam Levey]

Health insurer profits are up: “UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), the largest U.S. insurer by sales, reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as money-conscious Americans put off getting medical treatment.” [Bloomberg]

Massachusetts drafts cost control plan: “After three years of study, the state’s legislative leaders appear close to producing bills that would make Massachusetts the first state — again — to radically revamp the way doctors, hospitals and other health providers are paid.” [Herald Tribune]

Emergency room visits reach new high: “Visits to hospital emergency departments increased to an all-time high of 136 million in 2009, according to new estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This represents almost a 10% increase from the 2008 figure of 123.8.” [Modern Healthcare]

Hospice care faces cuts: The “hospice industry — which gives dying patients and their families care from an interdisciplinary team that may include doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, home aides and volunteers — is facing two separate rounds of cuts. And some researchers and advocates worry about the repercussions.” [Politico]

Coalition formed to oppose Ohio ballot issue on health care: “Opponents of state Issue 3, the proposed constitutional 
amendment to exempt Ohioans from any requirement that they buy health insurance, have unveiled a 35-member coalition to work for the issue’s defeat on the Nov. 8 ballot.” [Dayton Daily News]