KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House Approves Trauma Care Programs, Newborn Screening Changes

Meanwhile, lawmakers also are attempting to craft a deal related to two mental health bills pending in the House of Representatives.  

The Hill: House Passes Reauthorization Of Trauma Care Programs
The House on Tuesday passed legislation by voice vote to reauthorize trauma care programs. Traumatic injury is the top cause of death for people under age 45, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One of the bills, H.R. 4080, would reauthorize Trauma Care System Planning Grants to boost access to trauma care through fiscal 2019 (Marcos, 6/24).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: U.S. House Passes Newborn Screening Reforms
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that requires experts to systematically track and improve the timeliness of newborn screening programs nationwide. The legislation, which passed the U.S. Senate in January, aims to eliminate delays in newborn screening so babies with deadly yet treatable genetic disorders are diagnosed quickly. Both the House and Senate added timeliness measures to the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation in November found that thousands of hospitals were sending babies' blood samples late to state labs. The legislation, however, does not require public reporting of hospitals' and states' performance, leaving that up to each state (Gabler, 6/24).

CQ HealthBeat: Deal Sought on Rival Mental Health Bills
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers met Tuesday in an effort to identify common ground between mental health bills that have been introduced this Congress, marking a departure from the partisanship that some advocates feared had overtaken the debate. Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy and Arizona Democrat Ron Barber, who have each introduced mental health proposals, came out of the meeting expressing optimism about a path forward. But they cautioned that no official agreement has been made, as the lawmakers still have to write up what they discussed and craft legislative language (Attias, 6/25).

In other legislative action, physician groups are lobbying to extend a health law provision related to Medicaid payment rates --

Modern Healthcare: In Push To Extend Medicaid Pay Bump, Docs Downplay ACA Link
Physician groups are lobbying hard to extend an Obamacare provision that requires state Medicaid programs to pay primary-care physicians at higher Medicare rates to improve access for Medicaid patients. But to persuade congressional Republicans to go along, they are downplaying the fact that the pay bump is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In a recent letter to House and Senate leaders (PDF), a coalition of physician groups requested that a section of the Social Security Act that sets Medicaid payment rates for primary-care services at Medicare levels be continued for at least two years beyond its expiration on Dec. 31, 2014. Not extending the provision would hurt access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries, the doctors warn (Dickson, 6/24).

And on the political front --

Des Moines Register: Iowa Candidate Attacks Opponent On Senior Issues
Former state Sen. Staci Appel of Ackworth, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House from Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, today launched a paid ad on the Internet highlighting her commitment to Iowa's seniors and middle class families. She accuses her opponent, Republican nominee David Young (Petroski, 6/24).

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