Morning CheckUp: December 1, 2011

CLASS repeal moves forward: “An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) says the House hopes to consider repeal of the health reform law’s controversial CLASS program in the next two weeks or early next year but would not elaborate on whether Republicans hope to use a physician pay-patch as the legislative vehicle to move the bill. The remarks followed Wednesday’s (Nov. 30) Energy and Commerce Committee vote in support of repealing the program.” [Rachana Dixit]

HHS to offer greater flexibility in exchange rules: “HHS in its final exchanges eligibility rule intends to permit several additional options for states to choose from when deciding how to do eligibility determinations in state-based or federally-facilitated exchanges, the department said in new guidance laying out the options, a development that sources say is a response to states’ concerns with proposed exchange partnership options that were first unveiled earlier this year.” [Rachana Dixit]

Nebraska health providers urge exchanges: “Nebraska should not wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the Obama administration’s health care overhaul before it prepares a state-based insurance exchange, a leading hospital advocate said Wednesday.” [AP]

North Carolina to establish health exchanges: “State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin on Tuesday received the go-ahead from state lawmakers to spend $12.4 million in federal grant money that he’s been waiting for over the past 3 1/2 months. The money will go toward setting up a preliminary health insurance exchange under state control before the feds step in and do it for them.” [News Observer]

NYC wants AIDS drugs given sooner: “New York City’s health commissioner is pushing an aggressive change in the city policy toward the virus that causes AIDS, saying his recommendation to doctors will reduce transmission.” [NYT]

Republicans push for greater means testing in Medicare: “Republicans are proposing means-testing Medicare in order to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut, The Hill’s Bernie Becker and Erik Wasson report. The idea of reducing federal benefits for higher-income earners was embraced by President Obama during the recent debt negotiations.” [The Hill]

Administration loosens health records rules: “The Obama administration said Wednesday that it would relax certain healthcare regulations in its push to create jobs without waiting for Congress. The Health and Human Services Department said looser standards for electronic health records are the latest piece of the administration’s ‘we can’t wait’ campaign.” [Sam Baker]

Hospitals sue Arizona over Medicaid cuts: “Arizona hospitals are suing to block the latest rate reduction for the state’s Medicaid program’s payments. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association targets a 5 percent rate reduction that took effect Oct. 1.” [The Republic]