First Edition: July 15, 2010

Headlines topping today's news include reports about the White House release of new coverage rules for certain screening tests and other types of preventive care, and calls from the GOP for hearings on Berwick's recess appointment to run Medicare and Medicaid top today's news.   

Federal Task Force On Preventive Care Faces New Challenge Under Health Law
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver, working in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports: "For years, an obscure federal task force sifted through medical literature ranging from colonoscopies to fluoride treatment, ferreting out the best evidence for doctors to use in caring for their patients. But now its recommendations have new financial implications, raising the stakes for patients, physicians and others in the health care industry" (Kaiser Health News).

KHN Column – Behind The Scenes Of Health Reform: The National Association Of Insurance Commissioners
In this Kaiser Health News column, Timothy Jost writes: "The new health reform act has been widely criticized as a federal government takeover of the health care system. To a remarkable degree, however, the law actually relies on the states to reform health insurance" (Kaiser Health News).

Health Plans Must Provide Some Tests At No Cost
The White House on Wednesday issued new rules requiring health insurance companies to provide free coverage for dozens of screenings, laboratory tests and other types of preventive care (The New York Times).

White House Unveils Free Preventive Services
Treatments for the prevention of alcohol abuse, depression and obesity are among the services that will be free to consumers with new insurance plans starting in September (The Wall Street Journal).

Healthcare Law Offers Preventive Care At No Cost
Clarifying a much-anticipated benefit in the healthcare law, the Obama administration on Wednesday issued rules outlining how millions of consumers will soon be able to get many preventive medical services at no out-of-pocket cost (Los Angeles Times).

Questions Over Abortion In New Federal Health Plan
Abortion opponents are raising questions about a critical new insurance program under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law (The Associated Press).

New Health Care Law Raises Questions On Abortions
Abortion opponents are warning that abortions will be covered in some new government health care programs for people who have been denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, despite an order signed by President Obama forbidding the use of federal money for the procedure (USA Today).

FCC To Move On $400 Million Health Infrastructure Fund Thursday
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will move on Thursday to create a $400 million fund to help health providers get high-speed Internet, an FCC source tells The Hill (The Hill).

Senate GOP Wants Berwick Hearing
Senate Republicans are demanding to hear from Don Berwick, the physician President Barack Obama recess-appointed last week to run the Medicare and Medicaid programs (Politico).

GOP Retaliates For Berwick Recess Appointment To Medicare Leadership Post
Senate Republicans are still fuming over the recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head the federal agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid (The Hill).

FDA Panel's Vote On Avandia Reveals Mixed Opinions On Diabetes Drug's Safety
Federal advisers delivered a mixed verdict Wednesday on the diabetes drug Avandia, with a significant number of experts voting to recommend that it be pulled from the market because of safety concerns but a majority urging to keep it available, perhaps with tough new restrictions and new warnings (The Washington Post).

FDA Panel Says Avandia Should Stay, But With Restrictions
Faced with conflicting and less-than-conclusive scientific evidence, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended Wednesday that the controversial diabetes drug Avandia remain on the market — but with tighter supervision and increased warnings about the danger of heart attacks (Los Angeles Times).

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