Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are getting ready to use the bully pulpit against the AARP and its support of the health care reform law, calling the senior citizens group on the carpet for a close look at its finances.
A pair of the House Ways and Means Committee’s sub-panels are slated to grill AARP executives April 1 about how the association will benefit from the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act via its endorsements of various insurance products.
Those endorsements made up most of the AARP’s $1.23 billion operating budget in 2009, according to The Hill, at $657 million. The group gave its seal of approval to the health car law in an editorial last week.
Reps. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) and Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), along with former Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.), were strident critics of the AARP in the run up to the passage of the law last year.
"AARP unfortunately has become a mouthpiece for this president at the expense of what is best for America’s seniors," Brown-Waite wrote at the time.
Reichert has accused the group of standing to reap millions from the ACA via the shift from Medicare Advantage plans to so-called "MediGap" plans, which the AARP endorses.
"AARP has a long-standing and good working relationship with Congress and we look forward to appearing before the committee on behalf of our millions of members, and the entire 50-plus population, on April 1," spokesman Drew Nannis said. "AARP is committed to transparency, and the hearing will provide us yet another opportunity to answer any questions as we continue to be a champion for the wants and needs of Americans 50-plus."
Here’s a roundup of other health care reform news:
- Former solicitor general Clement to rep states in legal challenge:
Former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement, who served under President George W. Bush, is slated to present the oral argument for a 26-state lawsuit challenging the health care reform law when the case goes before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
- Yet more lawsuits:
Add two more to the mounting tally of suits challenging the law. A day after a Karl Rove-backed group sued for documents on annual benefit limit waivers, Judicial Watch announced a suit against the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services for detailed records about Medicare commercials the department ran last year.
- GAO offers individual mandate alternatives:
The Government Accountability Office issued a report outlining proposals to replace the individual mandate that’ the cornerstone of the health law.
- Alabama House shoots down first step toward blocking the law:
The Alabama House of Representatives rejected, at least for now, a plan that could be used in federal court to challenge the health care law. The measure , which is likely to pass this week, would let Alabamans decide whether change the state constitution so that "a law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system."
- Vermont House OKs single-payer system:
The Vermont House of Representatives approved a plan for single-payer health care system that would provide coverage to all residents of the Green Mountain State.
Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE:THC) agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over patient deaths at a New Orleans medical center in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Families of some of the 34 patients who died sued the company over the actions of officials at Memorial Medical Center in August 2005. The hurricane knocked out power, causing the temperature inside the building — which had windows that couldn’t be opened — to top 100°F.
New approaches to recruiting subjects for clinical trials — a notoriously difficult process, especially among minority groups — are being tried using electronic medical records.
The $78 million sale of Intelect Medical to Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE:BSX) in January returned $28 million to the Cleveland Clinic, according to CEO Toby Cosgrove. The clinic has spun out about 35 companies, Cosgrove said.