Health Care Today

/ May 17th, 2011/ Posted in Health News / No Comments »

Gingrich to call for health care repeal in Iowa

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich will call for repeal of the nation’s health care law and stress his opposition to a federal mandate that everyone obtain insurance coverage, as he makes his first presidential campaign foray into Iowa.

USA TODAY’s Susan Page writes today that the GOP presidential nomination is now wide open because former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has opted to skip next year’s presidential race. Nowhere is that more true than in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first presidential caucuses nine months from now.

The Iowa caucuses are a test of a candidate’s organizational strength because it requires a presidential hopeful to get his or her supporters out on a cold, wintry night to one of more than 1,700 precinct meetings — the first step to becoming an all-important delegate for the presidential nominating convention.

Huckabee won the 2008 Iowa caucuses, in large part because of his appeal to social conservatives in the state.

A spokesman for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad told Politico that the governor will tell his fellow Republicans today to step up their campaigning and go after Huckabee’s supporters.

“Iowa is a full-spectrum state, and everyone — including evangelicals — wants someone who will articulate a message of job creation and slashing the federal debt,” Branstad’s communications director Tim Albrecht told Politico. “The person who best exhibits those leadership qualities will do well in Iowa, and they should build a campaign there to prove it.”

Gingrich will talk about health care and other issues on a 17-city tour, beginning with a speech to the Kiwanis Club in Dubuque. His campaign says he’ll talk about a “patient, innovation rich” health care system for the 21st century.

The current health care system “has no incentives to provide better care or to lower costs,” Gingrich says. “Consumers have little information on which to base their health care decisions because they have no data on who provides the best care and what the cost is.”

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, considered the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, outlined his principles for a health care overhaul last week. The issue is a political liability for Romney, who signed into Massachusetts law a health care plan that includes a mandate to obtain insurance coverage that is similar to the one in federal law that Romney, Gingrich and other GOP candidates want to repeal.

Romney be in Las Vegas today to visit a fundraising phone bank and to participate in a townhall meeting on Facebook.

Meanwhile, there could be some indication of the presidential campaign plans of Donald Trump. NBC announced its prime-time schedule yesterday and The Celebrity Apprentice will go on — with or without the real estate mogul saying “you’re fired” to the show’s participants.

“If he decides to run for president and is unavailable to do the show, we will bring the show back and there will be somebody else sitting at the head of the boardroom table,” NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt said.

Daily check up: Patrick’s payment bill to be heard today

A hearing on payment plan: A legislative committee this morning will vet Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to dramatically overhaul the way that doctors and hospitals are paid, shifting from a system in which they are paid for each service provided to one based on a patient’s overall care. The Associated Press reports that Patrick wants the bill on this desk by fall, but lawmakers have said they will take their time. Check back here throughout the day for updates.

Rhode Island’s Medicaid experiment: Republicans lawmakers who want to overhaul Medicaid by capping state payments and giving governors more flexibility in managing the money have pointed to Rhode Island as a success story. The state in 2009 cut just such a deal with the federal government, capping its payments through 2013. The health secretary who negotiated the deal, a Republican, says it has saved the state tens of millions of dollars. Janet Roberts of the New York Times reports, his successor, a Democrat, says he can’t find those savings.

Health care gone mobile: Patients have access to a growing number of mobile applications to help them track their weight, heart rate, and medications. Marion Davis writes for the Globe about the Boston-area companies developing the apps and how they changing the way we interact with doctors and get involved in our care.

Interpreting the pregnant pause: A Charlestown company is developing a tool to analyze not what patients say but how they say it. Through pauses in speech, stuttering, and the tone or pace of a person’s voice, Cogito Health says it can identify people at risk for depression or unlikely carry out a plan for managing their chronic disease. Globe reporter Carolyn Y. Johnson writes that the company believes it may even be able to determine when a patient’s says yes to attending a followup visit but really means no.

Kindred Healthcare Announces Senior Notes Offering

Kindred Healthcare, Inc. (the “Company” or “Kindred”) (NYSE:KND) today announced that it is planning to issue an aggregate principal amount of up to $550 million of senior notes due 2019 (the “notes”) to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and to certain non-United States persons in offshore transactions in accordance with Regulation S under the Securities Act. Kindred intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the notes and borrowings under certain senior secured credit facilities to fund its previously announced acquisition of RehabCare Group, Inc. (“RehabCare”) (NYSE:RHB) and to repay outstanding indebtedness of Kindred and RehabCare. The notes are expected to be guaranteed by substantially all of Kindred’s domestic 100% owned subsidiaries, including, following the acquisition, RehabCare and its domestic 100% owned subsidiaries.

The notes have not been registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any other jurisdiction and may not be offered or sold in the United States without registration under the Securities Act or an applicable exemption from registration requirements. This announcement does not constitute an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements regarding the Company’s expected future financial position, results of operations, cash flows, financing plans, business strategy, budgets, capital expenditures, competitive positions, growth opportunities, plans and objectives of management and statements containing the words such as “anticipate,” “approximate,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “could,” “should,” “will,” “intend,” “may” and other similar expressions, are forward-looking statements.

Such forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and stockholders and other potential investors must recognize that actual results may differ materially from the Company’s expectations as a result of a variety of factors, including, without limitation, those discussed below. Such forward-looking statements are based upon management’s current expectations and include known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which the Company is unable to predict or control, that may cause the Company’s actual results or performance to differ materially from any future results or performance expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors discussed below and detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).

Monday morning political briefing

President Obama will be back in Boston for a fund-raiser Wednesday, a week after potential GOP opponent Mitt Romney vowed to repeal Obama’s health care law. Meanwhile, the public has a chance today to weigh in on legislation aimed at cutting costs from Romney’s health-care reform in Massachusetts.

Race to 2012

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will be chatting with supporters this morning in Nevada. Although Romney hasn’t formally announced his presidential run, he has been ramping up and is holding a major fund-raising event for his exploratory committee today. Voters in the Granite State, meanwhile, will get a visit from former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Friday.
The Senate will unveil its version of the state budget Wednesday, and the most highly anticipated portion of the legislation is the potential inclusion of municipal health-care reforms. The House version, including a measure stripping collective bargaining rights from municipal unions in an effort to cut costs, and lawmakers who supported the bill are still hearing from unhappy union members.


Should legislators lower the age of eligibility for a driving learner’s permit?

Yes: 15 percent

No: 85 percent

“No, the Legislature should not lower the age of eligibility to have a learner’s permit. Kids today don’t take their responsibilities as seriously as we did when we were younger,” said one Herald reader.

Scott Brown’s wild ride

The 2012 race for re-election is in full swing now that Democratic Newton Mayor Setti Warren announced he’s running against Brown. While Brown has made low-key visits across the state, Warren continues his well-publicized campaign tour this week at a breakfast in Methuen tomorrow and a delegate dinner in Ipswich Wednesday.

Comments are closed.