Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/18/2010 - Liability & Health News Update - Need "doc fix" now, continued "side effects"

11/18/2010 - Liability & Health News Update
Need "doc fix" now, continued "side effects"
by Donna Baver Rovito
Editor, Liability and Health News Update
Author, Pennsylvania's Disappearing Doctors

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Liability&Health News Update Facebook Page:!/group.php?gid=105855632790520

Peter F. Rovito, MD Facebook Page:

(Please scroll to the end for more information, disclaimer, etc.)



As there is SO MUCH information flying around about health care reform right now, instead of spending a day or two sifting through it all, I'm going to try to send these outstanding newsletters, which I receive daily, as soon as I get them.

Don't worry, I'll still dig through stories and make snarky comments when needed, but this will be an almost real-time supplement to the regular Liability and Health News update - these are some of the sources upon which I rely most for the information I send in the Updates. (Among about 50 other sources or google news searches a day.....)

I've also included the following newsletter from AMA grassroots about the Medicare reimbursement reductions - if you called yesterday, great. Call again today. And if you didn't.....please CALL today.

Seriously, how many physicians would be able to absorb a 26% reduction in already low Medicare reimbursements? And how many will choose to stop seeing new Medicare patients as a result? Doctors AND patients need to make these calls to keep the reductions from happening.

It's probably a good idea to tell Congress you don't want the deficit increased as a RESULT of fixing this mess, too....

Following are two lists as well - one of all the medical professionals in the 112th Congress and the other of many organizations which support repealing the PPACA. Click on their links and make friends....we'll need as many allies as possible to help preserve the doctor-patient relationship and ensuring America's health...

Lastly, a little something just to make you all FEEL good.....turn up your speakers.



From AMA Grassroots

We received reports from a number of physicians that the phones on Capitol Hill were busy when you tried calling your senators on White Coat Wednesday. In fact, several had voicemail boxes so full, they couldn't receive any more messages. That's all because of the efforts of you and your colleagues---thank you!

If you did not get through to your senators yesterday, we urge you to try again today. Use the AMA's toll-free grassroots hotline at (800) 833-6354. In fact, we have heard that there might be legislative action on the Medicare physician payment cuts today, so if you weren't able to speak to someone yesterday, try again now!

Go to our Medicare Payment Action Kit for talking points and more information.
From Congressional Quarterly Daily report
Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Names to Know. It’s essentially impossible for Beltway insiders to recognize House members-elect without the aid of some sort of old-fashioned “face book,” especially in settings off Capitol Hill. At a cocktail reception for this year’s enormous freshman class last night, not a single journalist (this one included) could reliably pick out a single one of the honored guests.

But some of the Republican newcomers already are gaining a higher profile than the rest. Seven of them have already won their second elections of this month, because they were chosen by their colleagues yesterday to represent the 85-member class (which may yet grow to 90) in the leadership ranks. Two tea party favorites, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, were chosen as delegates to sit with the eight elected senior leaders at their deliberations. Todd Rokita, who’s been Indiana’s secretary of state since 2003, former state Sen. Joe Heck (Emergency Department physician and one of the new medical professionals elected to Congress!) of Nevada and former federal prosecutor Pat Meehan of the Philadelphia suburbs were selected to serve on the Steering Committee, which assigns GOP members to their committees. Austin Scott of Georgia was chosen as class president and Diane Black (A nurse and another one of the new medical professionals elected to Congress!) of Tennessee as freshman representative on the Policy Committee.

From Conservatives for Patient Care

Today's Daily Dose

In commentary on Forbes, Merrill Matthews outlines a strategy for lawmakers to use to rollback ObamaCare. "First, the House should introduce legislation to repeal ObamaCare, which almost certainly will pass. Yes, it is very unlikely the legislation would also make it through the Democratically controlled Senate—or even brought up for consideration in the relevant committees. [...]The second effort should be legislation to repeal the individual mandate, which requires Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. Of all the provisions in the bill, the individual mandate is the most publicly reviled and constitutionally dubious."The Wall Street Journal encourages newly elected state officials to support Florida's lawsuit against the health care overhaul. "The historic state lawsuit against ObamaCare is moving through the federal courts, with 20 states so far on board the case led by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and sure to be continued by his successor, Pam Bondi. Newly elected Governors and AGs now have an opportunity to join this suit and underscore its importance to the future of liberty and our federal system of government."

Human Events reports that "[Rep. Dave Camp (R–Mich.), the chairman-in-waiting of the powerful tax-writing committee] also said the plan to repeal ObamaCare is a pressing priority for his committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and over Obama’s health care rationing czar, CMS Director Donald Berwick. 'We are still on a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We want to repeal ObamaCare in full. That’s going to be one of the signature items that we [will] work on. It increases health care costs. It creates this huge government bureaucracy. It’s going to cause people to lose the health care that they know and like. There are lots of problems with it,' Camp said."

A Blueprint for Rolling Back ObamaCare (Part 1)
Merrill Matthews - Forbes When the House of Representatives returns in January, the Republican majority will try to begin scaling back President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, ObamaCare). The question is what should, or can, members of Congress do to repeal and replace the legislation? While this is likely to be a long fight, here’s a blueprint for getting started. First, the House should introduce legislation to repeal ObamaCare, which almost certainly will pass. Yes, it is very unlikely the legislation would also make it through the Democratically controlled Senate—or even brought up for consideration in the relevant committees.
Ariz. challenge to health care overhaul expands
Associated Press/ BusinessWeek A Phoenix-based advocacy group is expanding its legal challenge to the federal health care overhaul. The Goldwater Institute's original lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix last month challenges the health care overhaul, and now the group is asking a federal judge for a preliminary injunction to block one provision. The injunction targets a provision that would restrict Congress' ability to repeal a new board that the health care law would create in 2012 to set Medicare policy and health care payment rates.
Joining the ObamaCare Suit
Wall Street Journal The historic state lawsuit against ObamaCare is moving through the federal courts, with 20 states so far on board the case led by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and sure to be continued by his successor, Pam Bondi. Newly elected Governors and AGs now have an opportunity to join this suit and underscore its importance to the future of liberty and our federal system of government. With the exception of Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell, Democratic Governors and AGs have refrained from joining the suit against a law passed by a Democratic Congress. But sweeping GOP gains in the states on November 2 mean that Republicans can decide to join when they take office in January.
Dallas-area employers shifting more health care costs to workers
Jason Roberson -
The Dallas Morning News Dallas-area employers will slide health care costs to their workers more than the national average next year, according to a survey released Wednesday. The strong local economy has made cost-shifting less prevalent here than elsewhere. But 47 percent of Dallas respondents say they will shift costs to employees next year, according to the survey by Mercer, a consulting, outsourcing and investment company.

Michigan employers expect health care costs to jump 9.9%
Melissa Burden - The Detroit News Michigan employers expect to see their health care costs for employees jump 9.9 percent next year, but plan to shift less than half of the increase onto employees, a new health care survey released today shows. Employers across the state expect to reduce their cost increase to 5.6 percent by making changes to plan designs or vendors, according to Mercer's 2010 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, a study of more than 2,800 companies.

US bottom of health care survey of 11 rich countries
AFP Americans are the most likely to go without health care because of the cost and to have trouble paying medical bills even when insured, a survey of 11 wealthy countries found Thursday. "The US stands out for the most negative insurance-related experiences," the New York-based Commonwealth Fund, the private foundation that carried out the study, said in an accompanying statement. The study found that a third of US adults "went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs," it said.
Breaking Health Care Research: Repealing Obamacare and Getting Health Care Right
Kathryn Nix -
The Foundry As newly elected lawmakers prepare for the hard work to be done in the next Congress, the future of the hugely unpopular Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance. In recent analysis, Heritage expert Nina Owcharenko makes the case for the full repeal of the PPACA and provides a framework for replacement with reform that will transform the system to focus on doctors and patients, not government.
Dave Camp: 'Repeal ObamaCare, Rewrite Tax Code'
Connie Hair -
Human Events The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee is warning of the pressing need for stability in the American economy through settled tax policy and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch. Rep. Dave Camp (R–Mich.), the chairman-in-waiting of the powerful tax-writing committee, says that he’s received warnings from the IRS of a looming train wreck. “There is a huge expense both on the employers who have to figure out the withholding tables and also [on] the IRS trying to figure out the AMT patch,” Camp told HUMAN EVENTS in an exclusive interview.
Employer health-care costs continue to rise
McClatchy Newspapers The cost for employer-sponsored medical coverage rose 6.9 percent this year, much higher than the rate of broader inflation and the sharpest increase since 2004, according to a national survey released Wednesday. The average cost per employee for all benefits rose to $9,562, showed the annual survey by analysts with benefits consulting firm Mercer.

Obamacare 'Rule,' 347 Pages, 118,072 Words
Fox Nation Providing a strong indication of how personal, accessible, understandable, user-friendly, customer-service-oriented, and not at all posthuman your health care would be under Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has just released a 347-page, 118,072-word "rule" to implement parts of Obamacare affecting Medicare Advantage and the Medicare prescription drug benefit program. In comparison, the entire United States Constitution, including all 27 amendments, contains 7,640 words. So the "rule" is more than 15 times as long as the Constitution.

Latest Polling
Rasmussen Reports November 15, 2010
58 percent of voters favor repealing Obamacare

This message was sent from Conservatives for Patients' Rights to It was sent from: Conservatives for Patients' Rights, 700 12th street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005.


From the Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report:Check back on Kaiser Health News for the latest headlines

KHN Original Reporting & Commentary
Vulnerable Democrat Looks For Alternatives To Health Insurance Mandate
Berwick Pushes Quality Of Health Care, Defends Reform Law
Compared To Other Countries, U.S. Patients Have More Access To Specialists, Less To Primary Care
KHN Column -- The Medicare Doc Fix: Physicians Again Are Staring Into The Abyss
KHN Column -- The Texas Medicaid Scenario: Why It's Never Going To Happen
Political Cartoon: 'Monopoly Money?'

Capitol Hill Watch
7. Berwick's First Hearing Marked By Strong Defense Of Health Law, GOP 'Relative Gentleness'
Bipartisan Task Force Recommends Medicare And Medicaid Overhaul

Health Reform
9. Health Law Revision Suggestions Pour In From Lawmakers, Groups
Kansas Attorney General-Elect Announces Plans To Fight Health Law In Court

Medicare Committee Recommends Expensive Drug For Some Prostate-Cancer Patients

12. Fla. Republicans Want Flexibility; Facing Shortfall, Idaho Looks To Volunteers; Mass. Dental Audit Reveals Millions In Wasted Funds

Health Care Marketplace
13. Study Finds Average Health Insurance Deductible Grows To $1,200 As Employer Costs Grow Too
Americans' Confidence In Health Care System Lower Than Other Industrialized Counties, Study Finds
Study: Hospitals Use Clout To Jack Up Prices

State Watch
Mass. Regulators And Nursing Homes Fight Inappropriate Medicating; Officials Deal With Hawaii Doctor Shortage

Editorials and Opinions
17. Today's Op-Eds: The ObamaCare Suit; Fixing Physician Pay; A Federal Takeover Of Medicaid; Cues From Britain

KHN Original Reporting & Commentary
1. Vulnerable Democrat Looks For Alternatives To Health Insurance Mandate
[Nov 18, 2010]Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Bara Vaida writes: "Under political pressure as a result of the new health law, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has asked the Government Accountability Office to study alternatives to the controversial mandate requiring most Americans to obtain coverage. The request is significant in that it could signal that Nelson is willing to work with Senate Republicans who want to repeal and replace unpopular parts of the health law, like the individual mandate that takes effect in 2014" (Vaida, 11/17). Read the story.

2. Berwick Pushes Quality Of Health Care, Defends Reform Law
[Nov 18, 2010]Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks about the Wednesday's Senate testimony by Donald Berwick, the administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (11/17). Read the transcript or listen to the audio.

3. Compared To Other Countries, U.S. Patients Have More Access To Specialists, Less To Primary Care
[Nov 18, 2010]Kaiser Health News' Amita Parashar reports: "A new international survey finds that U.S. consumers report greater access to specialty health care but also have a tougher time seeing a doctor on the day they need help and in paying their medical bills than consumers in many of other developed nations" (Parashar, 11/18). Read the story.

4. KHN Column -- The Medicare Doc Fix: Physicians Again Are Staring Into The Abyss
[Nov 18, 2010]In a Kaiser Health News column, Gail Wilensky writes: "What used to be an annual exercise -- waiting to see whether and by how much Congress would increase payments to physicians under Medicare -- has now become a more frequent and even more frustrating activity for physicians. At the end of November the latest financial 'fix' for these payments expires and, if nothing is done, physicians who see Medicare patients will face an across-the-board 23 percent reduction in their fees. If nothing happens by January, physicians would face an additional 7 percent reduction" (11/18). Read the column.

5. KHN Column -- The Texas Medicaid Scenario: Why It's Never Going To Happen
[Nov 18, 2010]In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Harold Pollack writes: "When I first heard about this controversy, I noted one simple fact that deserves greater play: This is not going to happen. Withdrawing from Medicaid would be political suicide. Despite post-election bluster, no governor or legislative majority will seriously attempt such a politically, administratively and economically preposterous maneuver" (11/18). Read the column.

6. Political Cartoon: 'Monopoly Money?'
[Nov 18, 2010]Kaiser Health News provides a fresh perspective on health policy developments with "Monopoly Money?" by Chip Bok.

Capitol Hill Watch
7. Berwick's First Hearing Marked By Strong Defense Of Health Law, GOP 'Relative Gentleness'
[Nov 18, 2010]
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Dr. Donald Berwick survived his first Senate hearing yesterday by rebutting criticism of the health law and because Republicans were "relatively gentle,"
The New York Times reports. "The session, in front of the Senate Finance Committee, was a bit of a warm-up for the inquisition he is likely to face next year before House committees controlled by the Republicans." For instance, Republicans didn't bring up Berwick's praise of the British health system. For his part Berwick said repeal of the health law "would be a terrible thing," and said the law "will not ration care" (Pear, 11/17). "But the tightly orchestrated hearing left Republicans complaining they were only given a nibble at his record," The Associated Press reports. "GOP senators were skeptical of Berwick's assurances. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who next year will be the committee's senior Republican, said the 90-minute hearing did not allow enough time to explore complicated questions. 'This is pathetic,' said Hatch" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/17). Los Angeles Times: Speaking about GOP repeal effort, Berwick also said: "It would mean that seniors would not be getting the 50% discount on prescription drugs. ... Would we tell them ... that they will not be able to afford life-saving medicine? Would we tell them they would not be getting life-saving access to preventive services? ... That we won't work on safer care?" Berwick was appointed by Presdident Obama in July and wasn't confirmed by the Senate (Levey, 11/18). NPR offers some background: "Berwick, trained as a pediatrician, had faced what promised to be a bruising confirmation battle. Republicans made it clear they would reopen the debate about health overhaul and also challenge some of Berwick's own voluminous writings as a Harvard professor and health policy expert." In yesterday's hearing, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., who is retiring, asked Berwick why he'd accepted the recess appointment in the first place. Berwick replied simply, "The reason I accepted is because the president asked me, and I want to serve this country" (Rovner, 11/17). Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports, "Democrats used the hearing to spotlight the benefits of the health law passed in March, asking Dr. Berwick to explain the consequences of a Republican campaign to peel back the law. He responded by asking whether seniors would be upset if they lost benefits of the law, such as Medicare's coverage of preventive care without co-payments and rebate checks to cover a gap in Medicare prescription-drug coveraage [sic]" (Adamy, 11/17). Bloomberg: Berwick said the health law is "the best opportunity in a generation to make progress" on health care improvement. In explaining his plan for implementing the overhaul, he preempted the GOP questions about rationing - questions that did not materialize in the hearing - by saying, "My principle is that patients should get all of the care they want and need, when and how they want and need it" (Wayne, 11/17).
Related audio: Health on the Hill:
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey talks about the Berwick hearing. KHN also includes a transcript.
Kaiser Health News posted an advance copy of his
prepared statement, and maintains a resource guide, which includes Berwick's statements about the British health care system.

8. Bipartisan Task Force Recommends Medicare And Medicaid Overhaul
[Nov 18, 2010]
CQ Health Beat: "Congress must overhaul Medicare and Medicaid and end tax-free health coverage to help bring the federal debt to manageable levels, a bipartisan task force said Wednesday." The task force "warned that without radical budget surgery, federal revenues by 2025 'will be completely consumed by the combination of interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.'" The report was commissioned by the Bipartisan Policy Center (Reichard, 11/17).
Kaiser Health News: "Backers of the latest plan said they hoped it would spur a reluctant public and elected leaders to grapple with painful choices needed to get the country's spending under control. But others warned the political prospects of the plan seemed doubtful -- particularly for some of the more far-reaching ideas, such as limiting the amount the government would spend on Medicare beneficiaries. Right now, premiums account for 25 percent of the cost of Part B, or the physician component of the program, with the government paying the balance. The task force would increase beneficiaries' share to 35 percent" (Galewitz/Rau, 11/17).
The Fiscal Times: "Most seniors will opt for private insurance, the authors predicted, since it will become substantially cheaper than traditional fee-for-service medicine because of the other major element in their proposal -- the total elimination of the tax exclusion for employer-provided insurance. The working age population will become more cost conscious when buying health care services and insurance with after-tax dollars and thus lower overall costs, the plan assumed." The bipartisan plan "mirrors Republican proposals for overhauling Medicare" (Goozner. 11/18).
The New York Times: The proposal, as well as the recent one outlined by presidential deficit commission members Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, suggest why "President Obama and Congressional Republicans separately promised to act" on the national debt "but offered few specifics" during campaign season. "Each [plan] proposes substantial cuts to spending across the board and an end to popular tax breaks for individuals and corporations after 2012. Those are not the kind of promises that candidates generally make. ... While neither plan is likely to become law, a number of groups are mobilizing to oppose them -- conservatives against higher taxes, and liberals against changes to Social Security and Medicare" (Calmes, 11/17).
Meanwhile, the presidential deficit commission on Wednesday "debated a dramatic plan to gradually turn Medicare from a system in which the government pays most beneficiaries' medical bills into a program in which seniors would purchase health insurance with government-issued vouchers,"
The Associated Press reports. "The plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Democratic economist Alice Rivlin of the panel would seem to face steep odds with most other panel Democrats. ... [the plan] would not change the Medicare programs for current enrollees or for those 55 and older. The new system would start in 2021. The eligibility age for Medicare would gradually increase from 65 to 67" (Taylor, 11/17).
The Wall Street Journal: "A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Americans skeptical of deficit-cutting proposals laid out by the chairmen of a commission appointed by the White House. In the survey, ... Roughly 70% were uncomfortable with making cuts to programs such as Medicare, Social Security and defense in order to reduce the deficit, with 27% saying they were comfortable" (Wallsten, 11/18).

Health Reform
9. Health Law Revision Suggestions Pour In From Lawmakers, Groups
[Nov 18, 2010]Kaiser Health News reports that vulnerable Democrats are looking for alternatives to the health law's mandate that nearly all Americans carry health insurance. "Under political pressure as a result of the new health law, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has asked the Government Accountability Office to study alternatives to the controversial mandate requiring most Americans to obtain coverage." Because Nelson is from a typically "red" state, Republicans have targeted him as one Democrat willing to play ball on scaling back the law (Vaida, 11/17).
In the meantime, Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are planning to introduce legislation Thursday to allow states to opt out of the mandate sooner than the health overhaul stipulates,
Politico reports. "The bill is a significant step on both sides of the aisle. It's an effort by a Senate Democrat to ease one of the law's requirements. And it's the first Republican-sponsored effort to modify -- rather than repeal -- a provision in the law." The enacted law allows states to set up systems without a mandate on their residents to buy insurance so long as the plan meets the minimum requirements for coverage that the Department of Health and Human Services will lay out. "States can begin applying for mandate waivers in 2017, three years after the individual mandate is set to take effect. ... This new legislation would roll the waiver date back to 2014, when the individual mandate comes into effect" (Kliff, 11/17).
CQ Healthbeat: As some lawmakers talk about changing the law, others are pressuring HHS on the law's Medical Loss Ratio rule, which stipulates how much of the premiums insurance companies collect must be spent on medical care. "Under the rules, policies sold to individuals and small groups must spend at least 80 percent of premiums for health care services and quality improvements. For policies sold to larger groups, the minimum is 85 percent. Insurers must give policyholders rebates if the plans pay out less than those amounts. House Energy and Commerce Committee member Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., made her case to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a letter asking her to allow insurers to count efforts to combat health care fraud as quality improvements. That would improve insurance companies' bottom lines by giving them a more favorable MLR and making rebates less likely" (Adams, 11/17).
The Washington Post's The Plum Line Blog: President Barack Obama is admitting in a Richard Wolffe book that the Democrats were outplayed on the health overhaul debate by Republicans. "Here's the President on page 75: 'You have to give the Republicans credit, just from a pure political perspective, that they used every instrument available to them in the Senate to prolong the process in such a way that helped drive down support nationally, that gave everybody a sense that somehow Washington was broken,' he told [Wolffe]. 'At a time when everybody was worrying about jobs, for us to have to spend six to nine months on this piece of legislation obviously was not helpful'" (Sargent, 11/17).
The Hill: That hasn't stopped Democrats from seeking Obama's help in the upcoming session of Congress, however. "Some Democrats expect Obama to get engaged sooner in legislative debates and to make himself more available to members of Congress, who keep close tabs on the views of their constituents. 'It's about leading early on in the battles to be had in the days ahead, and it's about getting out there,' said Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.). ... Obama has conceded he spent too much time in 2009 and 2010 focusing on policymaking at the expense of political salesmanship. As a result, the healthcare reform bill that Democrats thought would become a popular success fell flat with voters, costing Democrats on Election Day" (Bolton, 11/18).
The Baltimore Sun's Maryland Politics Blog: "House Democrats are trying to keep the spotlight on Congressman-elect Andy Harris of Maryland. They're demanding that Republicans in Congress declare whether they plan to use taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for themselves and their families, even as they call for repeal of the new health care law. Harris, you may recall, got unwanted publicity on Capitol Hill after he asked about health benefits during a private briefing for 250 newly elected House members, staff and family this week. The Baltimore County Republican was reported to have expressed surprise that the federal health care plan, which is offered to all federal employees and members of Congress, would not start covering new congressmen until almost a month after they are sworn in" (West, 11/18).
The Washington Post looks at the campaign against the law by one of its most strident opponents: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce astonished even the most jaded Washington-watchers last year when it reported spending nearly $150 million on lobbying. The figure obliterated all previous records and cemented the chamber's reputation as Capitol Hill's most formidable lobbying force. But it turns out that a lot of that money came from an injection of funds from another lobbying powerhouse: America's Health Insurance Plans." AHIP spent $86.2 million toward defeating the health overhaul by giving that money to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Eggen, 11/18).
The Chamber's leader is also renewing his call to fight the health law,
The Washington Post reports in a related story. "'We have never seen anything on this scale before. It defies all logic and common sense,' Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue said in a speech to the group's board of directors. He vowed to fight many of the new rules outlined in the health-care reform law and the financial overhaul bill. 'We cannot allow this nation to move from a government of the people to a government of the regulators'" (Dennis, 11/17).
But, Donohue "says the trade association has no intention of working against President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 after spending millions to defeat Democrats in the midterm election,"
The Associated Press/Bloomberg Businessweek reports. (Kuhnhenn, 11/17).

10. Kansas Attorney General-Elect Announces Plans To Fight Health Law In Court
[Nov 18, 2010]Challenges to the federal health law grow but a group of bipartisan lawmakers ask a judge in Florida to let them express support for the measure in that important case.
The Associated Press/Wichita Eagle: "Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt promised Tuesday that within days of taking office, he will bring Kansas into a legal challenge of the federal health care law approved earlier this year. Schmidt said he's already consulting with other attorneys general about existing lawsuits in federal courts. A Republican, he takes office Jan. 10. ... Schmidt, the Kansas Senate's majority leader, unseated Democratic incumbent Steve Six, who had refused to have Kansas join other states in challenging the health care law" (Hanna, 11/17).
The Associated Press/Bloomberg Businessweek: The Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based advocacy group "is asking a federal judge for a preliminary injunction to block ... a provision [in the federal health law] that would restrict Congress' ability to repeal a new board" that will "set Medicare policy and health care payment rates" (11/17). "Though a lawsuit filed by state attorneys general over the Obama administration's new health care law is receiving the lion's share of media attention, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers also wants its voice heard in the court battle -- in support of the controversial legislation. Seventy-one legislators from 26 states have asked for permission to file a legal brief in support of the health care law, according to The Hill, a congressional newspaper in Washington. The group includes representatives from a dozen states where the governor or the attorney general is already formally lined up against the law" (Gramlich, 11/17).

11. Medicare Committee Recommends Expensive Drug For Some Prostate-Cancer Patients
[Nov 18, 2010]"A new treatment for prostate cancer called Provenge won a vote of confidence from a Medicare coverage advisory committee Wednesday, suggesting the federal program is likely to pay for the $93,000-per-patient medicine," The Wall Street Journal reports. The committee's health industry experts, doctors and researchers "found enough evidence to support the use of the medicine for late-stage prostate-cancer patients whose disease has metastasized, but not for those whose cancer hasn't progressed." Its maker, Dendreon, says 100,000 Americans have advanced prostate cancer, the condition for which the FDA approved the treatment in April 2010. Medicare usually covers FDA-approved drugs like Provenge, but "the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sparked a new controversy in June when it decided to put Provenge through a national coverage review." The review raised concerns that Medicare, "which isn't supposed to consider price when making coverage decisions," was trying "to ration treatments to save money" (Mundy, 11/18). CBS: "The makers of Provenge call the drug a value at $93,000. They argue it can be less expensive than chemotherapy, with none of the horrible side effects." Medicare's ruling on whether to cover Provenge, and under which medical conditions, is "a crucial decision because typically most private insurance companies follow Medicare's lead" (Andrews, 11/17).HealthDay/Bloomberg Businessweek: A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July showed that the Provenge vaccine "extends survival by about four months on average," according to clinical trials. The therapeutic vaccine, which is developed by treating a patient's extracted white blood cells with Provenge, was also less toxic than chemotherapy. Once placed back inside the patient, the treated white blood cells "trigger an immune response that in turn kills cancer cells, leaving normal cells unharmed" (Reinberg, 11/17). The Associated Press: "Most analysts expect Medicare to pay for the drug, giving drugmaker Dendreon Corp. a blockbuster product worth up to $2 billion in sales per year. The agency already pays for other innovative cancer drugs from companies such as Genentech and Eli Lilly that have similar price tags and survival benefits." The leader of a health consulting firm said that "Medicare's review of Provenge is primarily a signal to drugmakers that the agency will not automatically pay for drugs just because they have been cleared by the FDA." A Medicare representative defended the federal programs against accusations that the Provenge review was tied to the high cost of the drug, and said the review was instead "aimed at clearing up bureaucratic confusion among Medicare carriers across the country, some of whom already pay for Provenge, while others do not" (Perrone, 11/17). The New York Times reports on another prostate cancer drug under development. Early testing revealed that the experimental drug XL184, "is showing what some experts say is intriguing effectiveness in treating a major cause of death and disability for men with prostate cancer -- tumors that have spread to the bone." XL184, developed by the biotechnology company Exelixis, "is believed to block the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors and also inhibits a protein called MET that helps spur tumor growth," while Provenge "trains the patient's immune system to attack the tumor." Testing on XL184 revealed that "19 of 20 patients showed an improvement in the scans used to determine whether cancer has spread to the bone," but the tests had a small sample size, did not include a control group and did not follow patients over time (Pollack, 11/18).

12. Fla. Republicans Want Flexibility; Facing Shortfall, Idaho Looks To Volunteers; Mass. Dental Audit Reveals Millions In Wasted Funds
[Nov 18, 2010]Health News Florida: "Florida Republican leaders made a clear statement during a special legislative session Tuesday: They want to overhaul the Medicaid program and don't want the federal government tying their hands. But that might ignore Washington realities. Congress this year required states to increase the number of people eligible for Medicaid in the future -- the opposite of giving Florida more flexibility to run the program." Federal officials won't extend Florida's Medicaid "reform" pilot, instead requiring changes to it. '"I don't anticipate that the federal government is going to leave all the decisions up to states, especially when they [federal officials] provide such a large portion of the funding,' Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, said" (Saunders, 11/17).
The Spokesman-Review: Medicaid in Idaho is "facing such a big potential shortfall next year that officials are considering using volunteers to help those who now rely on its services. State Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong told state lawmakers Tuesday that back in the 1950s and 1960s, volunteers performed many services that Medicaid provides today, such as driving disabled people to doctor's appointments and checking on whether mentally ill patients have taken their medication." Armstrong told legislative budget writers that the state's program could be short "a projected $171.6 million in the fiscal year that starts next July -- and one senator, Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, questioned whether that would put lives at risk. 'We would have to eliminate major categories of service,' Armstrong said" (Russell, 11/17).
The Boston Globe: A Massachusetts dental audit "has found that millions of [Medicaid] dollars are being wasted annually on claims that are unnecessary, inflated, and even possibly fraudulent. ... Over the past four fiscal years, payments to the program's dental providers have more than doubled, from $116 million to more than $300 million, the auditor's office said." A major cause of unnecessary costs was excessive X-rays, which resulted in "$5.2 million in unallowable payments" (Finucane, 11/18).

Health Care Marketplace
13. Study Finds Average Health Insurance Deductible Grows To $1,200 As Employer Costs Grow Too
[Nov 18, 2010]A new Mercer survey has found that the average health insurance deductible is now $1,200.
The Wall Street Journal: In 2005, deductibles were only $770, but "in 2010, the average deductible for PPOs, the most common employer-provider health plan, hit a whopping $1,200, according to a Mercer survey of 2,836 employers with 10 or more employees. The survey also found that total health benefit costs rose 6.9% this year, up from 5.5% in 2009. An earlier study by Mercer found that employers anticipate they will spend about 5.9% more per employee on health care in 2011, after shifting some costs to workers and making other changes" (Hobson, 11/17).
The Charlotte Observer: "The average benefit cost per employee rose to $9,562. ... Employers expect big increases again in 2011 driven by prices for health care services, increased usage and changes mandated by the federal health overhaul. Total costs are expected to rise 10%, but most employers will continue making changes to limit increases. Those efforts, including higher deductibles and passing on costs to workers, likely will eat into employees' paychecks and continue to erode household budgets. Changes to health coverage also are increasing confusion and forcing consumers to pay close attention to their choices" (Wolf, 11/18).
Los Angeles Times: "California employers that provide health insurance benefits for their workers have seen their costs rise 8.4% this year, outpacing increases for businesses nationally, and fees could climb 11.4% next year, a study showed Wednesday. Employers in California are spending an average of $9,960 per worker on health care in 2010. ... Mercer attributed the higher California costs to the state's relatively expensive marketplaces and to a heavy reliance on HMOs, which offer generous benefits but charge higher premiums on average than other types of insurance" (Helfand, 11/18).
The Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Atlanta employers now expect a 6.3% bump in per-employee health benefit costs in 2011, after modifying benefits to lower the costs of coverage. ... Requirements of the nation's new health care law drove about one-sixth to one-third of the projected 6.3% increase for next year, according to the national survey results. Among the provisions driving the extra costs are the requirement to allow parents to add adult children up to age 26 to their plans, elimination of lifetime benefit limits and more generous coverage for preventive care" (Teegardin, 11/17).
Crain's Detroit Business: "Michigan's health benefit costs rose 5.3% in 2010, a slower rate than the 6.9% national rate, reflecting more aggressive steps by local employers to shift costs to employees and make other benefit changes, according to Mercer's 2010 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. ... To hold down costs, [Jerry] Konal [Mercer's health and benefits practice leader in Detroit] said large employers added lower cost consumer-directed health plans. Employers also provided employees with financial incentives to take better care of their health, he said" (Greene, 11/17).
The Dallas Morning News: Health costs "next year will not increase as much in Dallas. Employers nationally expect a 6.4% increase; Dallas employers expect a 5.4% increase. Employers said increases would have been 8% to 10% if no changes were made to their health plans. Instead they have raised deductibles, dropped costly insurance options, added cheaper consumer-directed health plans and increased participation" (Roberson, 11/18).

14. Americans' Confidence In Health Care System Lower Than Other Industrialized Counties, Study Finds
[Nov 18, 2010]Modern Healthcare: "Despite having the most expensive healthcare system in the industrialized world, Americans tend to have the least confidence that their system will provide them the most-effective care compared to residents of 10 other industrialized nations, a Commonwealth Fund survey has found. A survey of nearly 20,000 people in the U.S. and 10 other industrialized nations has found that U.S. consumers reported the highest level of confusing complexity of their health insurance plans, and the highest level of concern that they would not be able to afford their healthcare coverage" (Carlson, 11/18). Reuters: "A third of Americans say they have gone without medical care or skipped filling a prescription because of cost, compared to 5 percent in the Netherlands, according to study released on Thursday. The study is the latest in a series by the non-profit Commonwealth Fund showing that while Americans pay far more per capita for healthcare, they are unhappier with the results and less healthy than people in other rich countries. ... 20 percent of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared with 2 percent in Britain and 9 percent in France, the next costliest country" (Fox, 11/18). Economic Times: "Americans were also the most likely to have disputes with their insurance providers or discover insurance would not pay as they had expected. The survey, published on the Health Affairs website, was conducted among 19,700 adults from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain and the United States" (11/18). Kaiser Health News: "U.S. consumers report greater access to specialty health care but also have a tougher time seeing a doctor on the day they need help and in paying their medical bills than consumers in many other developed nations. Americans visit doctors and specialists more readily than some other countries, such as Canada and France ... Eighty percent of Americans who needed to see a specialist were seen in less than four weeks, trailing the results in only Germany and Switzerland. In Canada, the number was 41 percent" (Parashar, 11/18).

15. Study: Hospitals Use Clout To Jack Up Prices
[Nov 18, 2010]Modern Healthcare: A new study claims some hospitals command far greater prices from commercial insurers than their nearby competitors, suggesting they have the clout to demand higher rates. "The Center for Studying Health System Change analyzed hospital rates as a percentage of Medicare across eight markets" using data provided by four commercial insurers. The study was funded by the employer group Catalyst for Payment Reform. Hospitals said the study was flawed because insurers used different methods to calculate the hospital prices as a percentage of Medicare rates. But, [Paul] Ginsburg, who leads both the center and the employer group, said, 'Few would characterize the variation in hospital and physician payment rates found in this study to be consistent with a highly competitive market" (Evans, 11/18).

State Watch
16. Mass. Regulators And Nursing Homes Fight Inappropriate Medicating; Officials Deal With Hawaii Doctor Shortage
[Nov 18, 2010]The Boston Globe: "State regulators and the Massachusetts nursing home industry are launching a campaign today to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications for residents with dementia -- a practice that endangers lives and is more common here than in most other states. During the next year, a team of specialists will identify nursing homes with successful methods for avoiding overuse of antipsychotics and determine which homes need help cutting back. ... In 2009, 22 percent of Massachusetts nursing home residents who received antipsychotic medications did not have a diagnosis for which the drugs were recommended -- the 12th highest rate of inappropriate antipsychotic use in the nation" (Lazar, 11/18).
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser: "Current projections show [Hawaii] could be short 1,230 doctors and 2,669 registered nurses to care for an estimated 280,496 baby boomers who will be 65 or older by 2020, according to the Hawaii State Center for Nursing and the Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine. By 2030, the physician shortage is estimated to grow to 2,071. The insufficient numbers of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals -- due to lower pay scales, higher cost of living and fewer choices for quality education, professional development and employment opportunities -- have grave repercussions given the wave of Hawaii residents expected to retire in the next 10 to 20 years" (Consilio, 11/18).
Ventura County Star: "Because never may mean at least once or twice, California health care inspectors are asking 87 California hospitals that haven't reported a severe medical error in more than three years to recheck their records. A state law that went into effect in 2007 requires hospitals to report any of 28 medical errors known as never events, meaning they're never supposed to happen, including operating on the wrong patient or body part, severe injuries caused by electrical shock, suicides and death or disability caused by contaminated medication" (Kisken, 11/17).
Health News Florida: "You might think that when a major pharmaceutical company pays a doctor to promote its medicines, it would not choose someone whose mistake killed a patient. Nor would it choose a doctor who traded drugs for sex, prescribed painkillers to obvious addicts, or violated federal rules while running clinical trials. You would be wrong. Florida doctors who receive money from drug companies have been disciplined for all those things, according to a project by the national investigative news site ProPublica in which Health News Florida took part" (Gentry and Gulliver, 11/18).
Health News Florida, in a separate story also stemming from the ProPublica investigative project, report on two Orlando-area urologists Steven Brooks and his partner E. 'Jake' Jacobo who "pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to one count of conspiracy to defraud Medicare and the military through a complicated black-market diversion of the pricey prostate cancer drug Lupron. Despite the blotch on his record, Brooks is Florida's third-biggest recipient of pharma speaking fees overall and commands by far the largest fees among those who have been disciplined ... Over the last 18 months, GlaskoSmithKline paid Brooks over $178,000, ProPublica found. The company also paid Jacobo $14,750." They are among several doctors with criminal records who are employed by pharmaceutical companies (Gentry and Gulliver, 11/18).
The Boston Herald: "The state's health insurance connector -- the highly touted agency that aims to bring cheap medical care to the masses -- has turned into a legal pit bull by aggressively going after a growing number of Bay Staters who say they can't afford mandated insurance -- or the penalties imposed for not having it. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority is cracking down on more than 3,000 residents who are fighting state fines, and has even hired a private law firm to force the health insurance scofflaws to pay penalties of up to $2,000 a year. All told, more than 7,700 people have appealed state fines for not having health insurance, according to connector spokesman Richard Powers" (McConville, 11/17).
Detroit Free Press: "An Ingham County Circuit judge has stopped Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from implementing rate increases of as much as 66% for some seniors with supplemental Medicare policies. As a result of Tuesday's preliminary injunction, a public meeting also must be held. The Michigan Attorney General's Office filed suit in September against Blue Cross and Michigan's Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, which asked the Blues to restructure discounts given some 8,000-9,000 policies -- about 5% of some 200,000 seniors with Blue Cross Medigap policies. Seniors with the policies to be increased are either out-of-state residents or retired Chrysler and Ford salaried workers who get stipends from their former employers for health insurance" (Anstett, 11/18).

Editorials and Opinions
17. Today's Op-Eds: The ObamaCare Suit; Fixing Physician Pay; A Federal Takeover Of Medicaid; Cues From Britain
[Nov 18, 2010]Joining The ObamaCare Suit The Wall Street Journal The voters showed their loathing for the law on November 2, and a large, united legal front of states would increase the chances that the courts find it unconstitutional and preserve our federal system (11/18).

The Medicare Doc Fix: Physicians Again Are Staring Into The Abyss Kaiser Health News Physician payments need to move away from the current practice of billing for more than 8,000 CPT -- Current Procedural Terminology -- codes to a more bundled system in which payments are made for taking care of chronic diseases and for high cost, high volume interventions; or to a system that is closer to salary-based reimbursement (Gail Wilensky, 11/18).

The Texas Medicaid Scenario -- Why It's Never Going To Happen Kaiser Health News Federalizing the Medicaid burden, as Greg Anrig proposes, is essential to stabilizing state budgets and providing more humane and sustainable health policies. From this perspective, health reform remains flawed, not because it overstepped, but because it stopped short of what really needed to be done (Harold Pollack, 11/18).

Why I Would Raise Taxes The New York Times Under a defined contribution setup, the government could cap the growth of its defined contributions to the health care costs of the elderly, potentially shifting the risk of more rapid health care cost increases from the taxpayer to the elderly. This idea was not on the plate in The Times's deficit puzzle, and it is a controversial topic in its own right (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 11/18).

10 Reasons Not To Repeal Health Reform Aol News While we do have centers of excellent health care, the fact is that the U.S. too often falls far behind these other industrialized nations on many measures of access, quality, efficiency and health outcomes -- despite spending more than twice what other countries spend on average, or more than $7,500 per person in 2008 (Cathy Schoen, 11/18).

New Health Law Falls Short The Charlotte Observer By replacing our inefficient, dysfunctional patchwork of private insurers with a streamlined, single payer of all medical bills, much like Medicare operates today, our nation would save about $400 billion annually in reduced administrative costs. That's enough to cover everyone, with no co-pays or deductibles. We'd also acquire very strong cost-control tools like the ability to negotiate fees and purchase medications in bulk (Margaret Flowers, 11/18).

Repealing Obamacare, State By State San Diego Union Tribune Fighting Obamacare, however, is not enough. Merely restoring the status quo of skyrocketing costs, narrowing access, and structural dysfunction would be a mistake. Our health care system needs to be more effective and affordable. Reforms should feature timeless conservative principles applied to the challenges and opportunities of our time (Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 11/18).

The Deficit Dilemma and Obama's Budget The Wall Street Journal Reducing the long-run growth of the national debt requires reforming Social Security and Medicare. The key is to shift from today's tax-financed system to a mixture of tax-finance and universal saving accounts, which would supplement the tax-based payments. The chairmen omit any proposal to achieve universal accounts (Martin Feldstein, 11/18).

Shocking: Harris To Take Subsidized Health Insurance The Baltimore Sun Andy Harris wants health insurance from the federal government? I'm shocked! This is the same Andy Harris, a Republican, who just won a seat to Congress from Maryland after signing a pledge to repeal the landmark health-care overhaul pushed by President Barack Obama and the Democrats (Dan Rodricks, 11/17).

Good Health Care Doesn't Have To Cost So Much The Des Moines Register This country's ailing health care system would reap huge benefits if we would adopt new proposals called "pay for value" that change the payment system to reward higher quality and lower cost. We need a new way to reward the right care at the right time to keep people healthier and out of the hospital (Dr. Michael Kitchell, 11/18).

The British Health Care Invasion Forbes Just as Britain is moving away from destructive cost-control policies in its health system, the U.S. seems to be embracing them. If American health policy-makers begin putting cost before quality, doctors might soon lose the freedom to treat patients without being obstructed by regulators. Countless patients could lose access to life-saving treatments (Gilbert L. Ross, 11/17).

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2010 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

From Hands off my Health

Daily Update on the Dangers of Government-Run Health Care

347 Pages, 118,072 Words....All for ONE Rule!
The Department of Health and Human Services just released a copy of the rule that would help implement the parts of Obamacare affecting Medicare Advantage and the Medicare prescription drug benefit program. This rule isn't exactly what you'd call comprehensive, user-friendly reading. In fact, it's 347 pages, 118,072 words long. In comparison, our own Constitution (you know, the document that lays the foundation for the workings of our entire nation) is only 7,640 words (including the amendments). The amount of people who will have to know and understand this rule is staggering-which makes the prospect of the difficulty reading the entire thing all the more frightening. If the people implementing the rule haven't even read it (which, given the length, is understandable), many crucial provisions are sure to fall through the cracks, all at the expense of the American taxpayer.
Fox News

Head of Medicare and Medicaid wants to Control YOUR Health Care
President Obama has decided to install Dr. David Berwick as head of Medicare and Medicaid. He did this by going behind everyone's backs and appointing him during recess, leaving Republicans little to no room for protest. Now that Dr. Berwick's past statements have come to light, it's no surprise why President Obama chose to appoint him this way. Dr. Berwick has previously talked about rationing health care, and in a way that presumes the government is the only thing capable of doing so wisely. He also believes that "leaders" are the only ones capable of enforcing the proper configurations of our health care system. Thus, President Obama's appointment of Dr. Berwick is only a further solidification of the White House's belief that it knows about what kind of care is best for you and your family better than you do. With ObamaCare being one of the biggest government grabs at power in American history, it is unsurprising that those implementing it truly believe that they know what's best for you.
The Heritage Foundation

The List Keeps Growing...
More and more people are joining the legal fight against ObamaCare. That's because more and more people are realizing that the law is unconstitutional in many ways, the biggest way being the individual mandate that forces you to buy health insurance that you may not want or even need. Newly elected governors and attorney generals now have the opportunity to join in the lawsuit brought about by 20 state attorneys general in the Florida District Court-and many are jumping at the opportunity. Meanwhile, state officials are doing everything they can to amend their state constitutions in order to protect their constituents from ObamaCare's expensive mandates. With all of these newly elected officials supporting this cause, it looks like the voters' voices were truly heard on November 2nd. Sooner or later, ObamaCare should be defeated and Americans will have the opportunity to create a health care system that actually makes sense to taxpayers and their families.
Wall Street Journal
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Medical Professionals in Congress

((Write, call, make new friends.....seriously. Tell them congratulations on getting elected or re-elected. Offer your expertise or support. Begin to build a relationship......))

(Unless otherwise noted, legislators are Republican.)

US Senate

Arkansas *WON SEAT* Rep. John Boozman - Optometrist (Currently representing AR-06 in the House) Campaign site:

Kentucky *WON SEAT* Rand Paul, MD - Opthalmologist Campaign site:

Oklahoma *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Sen. Tom Coburn, MD - Ob/Gyn Campaign site:

Wyoming *Incumbent- not up for re-election until 2012 Sen. John Barrasso, MD - Orthopedic Surgeon Official site:

US House

AZ-01 *WON SEAT* Paul Gosar, DDS - Dentist Campaign site:

GA-06 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Tom Price, MD - Orthopedic Surgeon Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Tom Price's Website
GA-07 Rep. John Linder (Retiring - chief of staff won seat) Official site: Visit Rep. John Linder's Website
GA-10 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Paul Broun, MD - Family Medicine Campaign site:

GA-11 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD Ob/Gyn Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Phil Gingrey's Website

ID-02 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Mike Simpson - Dentist Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Mike Simpson's Website

IN-08 *WON SEAT* Larry Bucshon, MD - Cardiothoracic Surgeon Campaign site:

LA-04 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. John Fleming, MD - Family Practice Campaign site: site: Visit Rep. John Fleming's Website

LA-06 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Bill Cassidy, MD - Gastroenterology/Internal Medicine Campaign site: site: Visit Rep. Bill Cassidy's Website

LA-07 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Charles Boustany, MD - Cardiovascular Surgeon Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Charles Boustany's Website

MD-01 *WON SEAT* Andy Harris, MD - Anesthesiologist Campaign site:

MI-01 *WON SEAT* Dan Benishek, MD - General Surgeon Campaign site:

NC-02 *WON SEAT* Renee Ellmers - Nurse Campaign site:

NV-03 *WON SEAT* Joe Heck, DO - Emergency Medicine Campaign site:

NY-19 *WON SEAT* Nan Hayworth, MD - Ophthalmologist Campaign site:

PA-18 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Tim Murphy - Psychologist Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Tim Murphy s Website

TN-01 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Phil Roe - Ob/Gyn Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Phil Roe's Website

TN-06 *WON SEAT* Diane Black - Nurse Campaign site:

TN-04 *WON SEAT* Scott DesJarlais, MD - General Practice Campaign site:

TX-14 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Ron Paul, MD - Ob/Gyn Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Ron Paul's Website

TX-26 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Michael Burgess, MD - Ob/Gyn Campaign site: Official site: Visit Rep. Michael Burgess's Website

WA-07 *Incumbent - HELD SEAT Rep. Jim McDermott, MD (Democrat) - Psychiatrist Official site: Campaign site: (YES on PPACA)

Virgin Islands *Incumbent* Rep. Donna Christensen, MD (Democrat) - Family Practice Official site: (Supported PPACA)


Repeal Supporters

Please visit these sites and sign their petitions!

Gov. George Pataki’s Revere America and

Michael Reagan’s Repeal the Health Care

Club for Growth

10,000,000 Strong to Repeal Obamacare

Repeal Obamacare Pledge

John Birch Society

Patriot Update

The Conservative Caucus


HealthPoint PA Daily Digest

Study finds seniors’ drug premiums have risen more than inflation, review finds
Nov 18, 2010 10:07 am HBG_intern
Medicare Part D is not the only plan that for many seniors is becoming unaffordable.
comments read more

Hospital roundup 11/18
Nov 18, 2010 09:53 am HBG_intern
Get the latest news on Mercy Suburban Hospital, Mercy Hospital, Friendship Ridge nursing home, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Brownsville Tri-County Hospital, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
comments read more

PA Supreme Court rules home health aides must get overtime pay
Nov 18, 2010 09:40 am HBG_intern
The Court ruled that an exception to overtime law for domestic services in the home does not apply to home health aides.
comments read more

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((This is purely to make everyone FEEL good.....))

"Surprise" Messiah performance at Macy's in Philadelphia

This is awesome - a "surprise" performance of the Messiah at Macy's - watch the looks on the shoppers' faces once they figure out what's going on....

On October 30, 2010, shoppers at the Macy's in Philadelphia (the old Wanamaker building) were surprised when over 600 choristers who were there mingling with regular shoppers suddenly burst into Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.

The Opera Company of Philadelphia was instrumental in bringing it together to perform one of the Knight Foundation's "1000 Random Acts of Culture" which they'll be doing over the next three years across the country. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ - the world's largest pipe organ - the singers burst into song at exactly noon.


This LIABILITY AND HEALTH NEWS UPDATE "newsletter" is a free service which I provide, as a volunteer, to help supply medical liability reform and health care reform news and information, legislative updates, and political insight to physicians, patients, liability reform and quality health care advocates. NO ONE pays me to do this.

I am not employed by any physician or health care reform advocacy or liability reform organization, political party or candidate, although I volunteer for several. I am a quality health care, physician, and patient advocate, breast cancer survivor, physician's spouse, journalist, political noisemaker, mom, and freelance writer. I am not nor will I ever claim to be unbiased (I am....biased, I mean), unlike many in the mainstream media.

Most information in this newsletter is copied and pasted from other sources, and will always be identified with links. Opinions and clarifications are my own, and do not reflect the official position of any physician or patient advocacy organization, tort reform, or health care reform group unless stated as such. My opinions are placed in double parentheses (("my opinion")), italicized and appear in blue.

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