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The Morning CheckUp: June 14, 2011

Welcome to The Morning CheckUp, ThinkProgress Health’s 7:00 AM round-up of the latest in health policy and politics. Here is what we’re reading, what are you?

Tim Pawlenty eases up on Obamneycare: At last night’s debate, “CNN’s John King just asked Tim Pawlenty four different ways, including finally head-on, to repeat his “ObamneyCare coinage from Fox News on Sunday, but to no avail.” [Politico]

Repealing Medicaid’s maintenance-of-effort provision: 41 senators signed a letter expressing their opposition to a large-scale Medicaid overhaul, but the letter doesn’t mention Republican attempts to repeal Medicaid’s maintenance of effort provisions — a proposal that may still be on the table during the debt ceiling negotiations. [Politico]

Red tape dampening enrollment in Massachusetts: “Many children are going without health insurance, despite the state’s universal insurance law, because of confusing rules about how to sign up and when to renew the government-subsidized coverage.” [Boston Globe]

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Cuomo submits robust health exchange proposal: New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo submitted a plan on Monday for a health insurance exchange that would have the power to set minimum requirements for insurance plans and allow the exchange to actively purchase health care coverage. [Times Union]

GOP governors ask for greater Medicaid flexibility: 29 Republican governors have signed a letter urging congressional leaders to give states more authority to craft their own Medicaid programs. “States should not have to seek waivers to manage their unique programs,” the governors wrote. “We must reassess and focus our efforts on reshaping how health care is delivered through innovation, creativity and responsibility –all demonstrated capabilities of states.” [Palm Beach Post]

Health services for asbestos victims in Montana: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Monday that additional benefits will be offered under a pilot program authored by Sen. Max Baucus for hundreds of asbestos sickened residents in Libby, Montana. The benefits are part of the coverage Baucus secured in the Affordable Care Act. [KULR]

HHS won’t review health reform regs: The Health and Human Services Department won’t be revisiting regulations that implement the new healthcare law during its review of potentially burdensome regulations. [The Hill]

Why isn’t Medicare cheaper: Medicare can’t do as much bargaining as other countries do “probably because Medicare only accounts for about a sixth of the system, and if they drive prices too low, doctors and device makers and hospitals can simply refuse to do business with them and only deal with private insurers until Medicare gives in.” [Ezra Klein]

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GOP stands by McKinsey report: Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) said Monday that “McKinsey is a reputable firm with large government contracts, and that the company’s credibility should give credence to its healthcare report.” [The Hill]

The high cost of care giving: “A steep rise in people caring for elderly parents is taking a toll on the health and finances of many baby boomers, a new study says.” “The financial toll on care providers who are 50 or older averages $303,880 per person in lost wages, pensions and Social Security benefits over their lifetime, due to leaving the work force early to care for a parent.” [WSJ]