Morning CheckUp: November 1, 2011

Obama issues drug shortage EO: “President Obama took unilateral action Monday to help stem the nation’s shortage of lifesaving drugs, a level of personal involvement in health policy not seen since passage of the healthcare law almost 20 months ago.” [Julian Pecquet]

California doctors angry over Medicaid cuts: “The California Medical Association blasted a decision by federal officials this week to approve $623 million in Medicaid cuts that state officials asked for. The group says the cuts will deny poor people access to doctors, drive many sick Californians into costly emergency room care and badly weaken the state’s Medicaid system just as millions of uninsured residents get access to coverage under the federal health care overhaul law.” [CQ Health Beat]

Social forces may limit health reform: “The health care reform law gives federal health officials a new mandate to address the fact that racial and ethnic minorities tend to be sicker than the rest of the population. But there are limits to what they can actually do about the problem.” [Politico]

CBO confirms CLASS repeal won’t affect deficit: “The Congressional Budget Office confirmed Monday that formally repealing the dormant CLASS program in the healthcare reform law would not affect the deficit.” Republicans are pressing hard to repeal CLASS, while Democrats are against it. [Sam Baker]

Enzi accuses HHS of favoritism: Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) “slammed the Health and Human Services Department” for the way it has awarded funding from the healthcare law’s early retiree program, “but government auditors found nothing untoward about the process.” [Sam Baker]

Few hospitals qualify for federal funds: “Though hospitals are eligible for billions of dollars in federal stimulus money to bring their facilities into the digital age to save money and improve the quality of health care, just one in 10 is ready to meet government standards to qualify for the funds, a new analysis shows.” [NYT]

Minnesota Governor presses with health care implementation: Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) issued an executive order on Monday “establishing two separate health care task forces, one to work on broad health care reform initiatives and another to develop the state’s health insurance exchange.” Republicans continue to question “whether Dayton can move forward without legislative support or authority.” [Politics In Minnesota]

Unnecessary pediatric tests: A study found that 12 unnecessary treatments and screenings ordered by primary doctors “accounted for $6.8 billion in medical costs in 2009.” Also, in 56 percent of routine physicals, “doctors inappropriately ordered such tests, accounting for $32.7 million in unnecessary costs.” [Kaiser Health News]