KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House To Consider Measure To Hold Obamacare Exchange Subsidies Until Applicants’ Income Is Verified

In other news on Capitol Hill: Sen. McConnell's close ties to Humana are examined, the Senate eyes legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration greater oversight of compounding pharmacies, and Republican lawmakers are questioning Obamacare's hiring practices.

CQ HealthBeat: House Will Consider Measure On Verifying Health Exchange Applicant's Health Data
The House is slated to take up legislation this week that targets the health care law’s subsidies that will help individuals buy coverage through the insurance exchanges, in response to an Obama administration rule that Republicans say makes the funds ripe for fraud and abuse. The measure, sponsored by Tennessee Republican Diane Black, would bar the administration from providing the subsidies until the Health and Human Services secretary confirms that a system is in place to verify applicants’ household income and health insurance status (Attias, 9/9).

Politico: Mitch McConnell's Close Ties With Humana Founder
In 2005, David A. Jones Sr., founder of health insurance giant Humana Inc., needed help raising money for a Louisville, Ky., parks project he was personally overseeing. So Jones and then-Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson -- a Democrat -- turned to the most powerful person in Kentucky politics: GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell. They asked McConnell for $10 million in federal funds for the project. Instead, the then-Senate majority whip came through with $38 million in a spending earmark, breaking the good news himself to Jones in a late-night phone call. Jones has also been quite helpful to McConnell; the veteran senator's earmark came several months after it was disclosed that Jones and the charitable foundations he and his family control had donated $1.6 million to the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, which both men attended (Bresnahan and Raju, 9/10).

Roll Call: A Primer On Compounding Pharmacies And Regulation By Congress
Senators hope that they will soon get a chance to quickly pass legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration more authority over compounding pharmacies. For months, lawmakers in both chambers have been working on the best way to respond to last year’s fatal fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a contaminated compounded drug (Ethridge, 9/9).

The Hill: Senators Question Obamacare Hiring
A group of Republican senators on Monday questioned why the Obama administration was able to bypass certain hiring guidelines as it staffed up to implement Obamacare. The senators questioned why the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) granted "direct-hire" authority to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to hire new staff to implement the 2010 healthcare law (Baker, 9/9).

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