First Edition: July 17, 2012

Today's headlines include a report that concludes that few Americans will pay more as a result of the health law.

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Even After Changing Policies, Some Consumers May Get A Rebate
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews answers readers' questions involving health insurance rebates, coverage for same-sex spouses and benefits for pregnancy (Andrews, 7/16). Read the column.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Safety Net Hospitals Could Lose Money In Medicare Changes, Study Warns
Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Jordan Rau writes: "When Medicare begins adjusting hospital payments in October based on quality, one of the primary metrics will be patient experience ratings that cover everything from the communication skills of doctors and nurses to their promptness in responding to complaints about pain. A new study finds that this change may add to the financial troubles of safety net hospitals, which primarily serve poor patients" (Rau, 7/16). Check out what else is on the blog.

USA Today: Few Will Pay More Under Health Care Law
Though the law is projected to raise more than $800 billion in taxes, fees and penalties over a decade, 40% comes from about 3.5 million households with adjusted gross incomes above $200,000. Employers, insurers and health care providers are slated to fork over much of the rest. That leaves only a few taxes that will fall partially on middle-income taxpayers (Kennedy and Wolf, 7/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Opponents Challenge Tax Credit
Opponents of the health-care overhaul are seizing on how tax credits to buy insurance are distributed as a new front in their fight against the law. Conservative critics have zeroed in on wording in the law that says state-run programs would be the vehicle for subsidizing the cost of mandatory health insurance for lower-income Americans starting in 2014 (Radnofsky, 7/16).

Politico: Groups To CMS: Slow Down
Is the push to change how "dual eligibles" get their health care going too far, too fast? That's a question that's beginning to be heard from lots of quarters — including the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the American Medical Association, some analysts and now at least one key lawmaker (DoBias, 7/16).

Politico: President Obama Highlights Health Care Law On Campaign Trail
President Barack Obama on Monday gave a strong defense of his health care law, weaving multiple mentions of health reform into answers at an Ohio town hall and saying he doesn't mind the "Obamacare" label "because I really do care." Drawing attention to the parallels between his controversial legislation and the Massachusetts reform signed into law by Mitt Romney, Obama said, "It's working really well there. He should be proud of it instead of running away from it" (Smith, 7/16).

Los Angeles Times: Poll: Republicans Turn Against Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roberts
What a difference a single court decision can make. In the wake of the Supreme Court's monumental decision on President Obama's healthcare reform law, Republican opinions of the court and Chief Justice John G. Roberts have plummeted, while Democrats now view both more favorably, according to a new Gallup poll (Little, 7/16).

The Washington Post: FDA Lawyers Authorized Spying On Agency's Employees, Senator Says
Congressional investigators said Monday that the chief counsel’s office at the Food and Drug Administration authorized wide-ranging surveillance of a group of the agency's scientists, the first indication that the effort was sanctioned at the highest levels. In a letter to the FDA, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said that his staff had learned that the spying was "explicitly authorized, in writing" by the agency's top legal office. … The disclosure marked the latest turn in an investigation of the FDA's past efforts to monitor the communications of a group of its doctors who were expressing concerns about the safety of medical devices (Nakashima and Rein, 7/16).

NPR: Deciding On Truvada: Who Should Take New HIV Prevention Pill
There's something new to prevent HIV infections. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a one-a-day pill that can drastically lower a person's risk of getting the AIDS virus. It's called Truvada — the first HIV prevention pill (Knox, 7/17).

The Associated Press/New York Times: Virginia: State Office Says Board Erred In Nullifying An Abortion Law Provision
The state attorney general's office refused to certify new abortion clinic regulations on Monday, saying the Virginia Board of Health unlawfully stripped a contested provision requiring clinics to meet the same strict architectural standards as new hospital construction. Abortion rights supporters had opposed the provision, saying it would force most clinics in the state to close. The board voted 7 to 4 last month to exempt existing clinics from the requirement (7/16). 

Check out all of Kaiser Health News' e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.