Morning CheckUp: December 15, 2011

GOP raises concerns about early retiree fund: “The healthcare law’s program for early retirees is an example of the law’s broader flaws, House Republicans charged Wednesday.” [Sam Baker]

Oregon pursues coordinated care: “The Oregon Health Policy Board worked into the evening Tuesday on refining details for a plan to carry out health reform designed to save costs, integrate care and win approval from the Legislature in February. “ [Oregon Live]

Massachusetts to consider a public option: Beacon Hill lawmakers “are planning to hear testimony on two bills designed to create universal health coverage in Massachusetts. The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing has scheduled a public hearing Thursday on the bill that would create a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurance plans.” [Boston Globe]

Feds winning battle against health care fraud: “Federal prosecutors brought a record number of cases of health care fraud in fiscal 2011, a new report said, with Florida and its huge Medicare-dependent population remaining the epicenter of fraudulent claims. The latest data, drawn from federal records by the Transactional Records Access Records database at Syracuse University, showed total prosecutions jumped 68.9 percent to 1,235 cases compared to 2010, a record increase.” [Merrill Goozner]


Gov. Haley wasted millions on study of exchanges: “The fix was in before South Carolina’s Health Planning Committee ever met to discuss health care reform in the Palmetto State, according to emails Gov. Nikki Haley’s office tried to keep hidden.” “The whole point of this commission should be to figure out how to opt out and how to avoid a federal takeover, NOT create a state exchange,” Haley wrote back in March. As Palmetto Public Record reported last week, that’s exactly what happened — though it took eight months and a million dollars in taxpayer money to reach that conclusion. [Palmetto Public Record]

Medicaid costs eat up state budgets: “These days the health program for the poor is claiming a bigger slice of states’ spending than even K-12 education, says a report from the National Association of State Budget Officers. All told, Medicaid is expected to grab 23.6 percent of states’ spending in fiscal 2011, up from 22.3 percent the year before.” [NPR]

The Obamacare game: “Supporters of President Obama’s healthcare reforms launched an online game Wednesday to highlight the law’s provisions. The new site is operated by ‘Thanks, Obamacare,’ a coalition of Colorado-based healthcare advocates formed in October to build support for healthcare reform and try to reclaim the ‘ObamaCare’ label.” [Sam Baker]