KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: December 17, 2010

Today's headlines highlight major health policy developments, including action in a Florida courtroom regarding the 20-state challenge to the health law and the Food and Drug Administration's curb on Avastin for the treatment of breast cancer.

Kaiser Health News: Experts Ponder 'Plan B' Options For The Individual Mandate
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen writes: "With Republicans vowing to dismantle the health law and courts wrestling with its constitutionality, some health policy experts are pondering a possible "Plan B" in case the individual mandate – the requirement that everyone get health insurance starting in 2014 – is weakened or struck down" (Kenen, 12/16).

Kaiser Health News: Wyden: States Will Drive Support For Pre-Emption Bill
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini report on their recent conversation with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Wyden "is seeking bold new authority for states to preempt the health care overhaul law as early as 2014, and he expects that governors will help pitch his legislation in Washington" (Serafini and Carey, 12/16).

KHN Column: Medicaid May Not Be ideal, But Unraveling It Would Be Foolish
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Jonathan Cohn writes: "Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is not just a Republican. He's also a doctor. And that means he has not one but two reasons to dislike Medicaid. Not only does it cost the government a lot of money. It also serves a lot of its beneficiaries poorly" (12/17).

KHN Video: Q & A With Michelle Andrews: Preventive Health
In this Kaiser Health News feature, Michelle Andrews answers a question from a consumer about why health plans are not touting more preventive health care to save on costs in the system. But, as Andrews details, new plans are going to have to provide many different sorts of preventive health services for free (12/16).

The New York Times: Judge Hints He May Rule Against Health Law
A federal judge asserted on Thursday that it would be "a giant leap" for the Supreme Court to accept the Obama administration's defense of a central provision of the new health care law, suggesting he may become the second judge to strike it down as unconstitutional (Sack, 12/16).

NPR: States Ask Court To Throw Out Health Law
Twenty states asked a federal judge in Florida Thursday to find the federal health care overhaul unconstitutional. It was part of the states' attempt to get U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson to strike down the health care law in a summary judgment without a full trial (Elliott, 12/16).

The Washington Post: Florida Judge Weighs Health-Care Challenge By States
Three days after a federal judge granted Virginia's request to void a key provision of the U.S. health-care overhaul law, a federal judge in this coastal city signaled that he is likely to follow suit in a case brought by Florida and 19 other states (Aizenman, 12/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Judge Leery Of Health Mandate
A federal judge in a 20-state lawsuit against the Obama administration's health overhaul signaled Thursday he is sympathetic to the plaintiffs' argument that requiring Americans to carry health insurance violates the Constitution (Adamy, 12/17).

The Washington Post: FDA Moves To Revoke Avastin's Approval For Breast Cancer
Federal regulators took the unusual step Thursday of moving to revoke approval of a drug that women with advanced breast cancer turn to in a last-ditch effort to save their lives (Stein, 12/17).

The New York Times: FDA Rejects Use Of Drug In Cases Of Breast Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday moved to revoke the approval of the widely used drug Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, saying that new studies did not confirm that the medicine was helping patients (Pollack, 12/16).

Los Angeles Times: FDA Moves To Revoke Approval Of Avastin For Treatment Of Breast Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday moved toward revoking approval of the blockbuster cancer drug Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, drawing criticism for limiting treatment options for desperately ill women (Zajac, 12/16).

The Wall Street Journal: Roche Drug Faces FDA Curb
In a move that drew protests from patients and politicians, the Food and Drug Administration said it plans to revoke approval of the drug Avastin for breast cancer because it doesn't believe that the medicine helps patients who have the disease (Mundy, 12/17).

NPR: Mass., N.H., Take Aim At Bone Marrow Registry
Bone marrow registries are usually noble efforts to find donors with the right genetic match to save the life of a terminally ill person, but one such program in New England is under investigation by attorneys general in two states (Greenberg, 12/17).

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