In another down-to-the-wire vote, and following political procedural points Wednesday, the "doc fix" and an extension of COBRA benefits will likely pass the Senate today. The move extends the freeze on cuts to Medicare reimbursement to April 30 and extends COBRA benefits to May 5. The Senate, acting ever retroactively on the issues, would carry the temporary extensions forward yet again until they adopt a permanent fix--or more extensions. (Wall Street Journal, Washington Post)
Nearly one in four doctors ordered cardiac catheterization due to defensive medicine and even more because they thought a colleague would have done the test, according to a study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. The study aimed to detect whether physicians in areas with higher spending overall did so because of peer pressure.
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The lawsuit by states against federal health care reform will move forward quickly because the judge hearing the case demands it. During a scheduling hearing between U.S. attorneys and those for the states posing the challenge, the judge said that the stakes are high and, "I would like to remind everyone we're working for the taxpayers. Including myself." Even if the lawsuit fails, the states determine how federal health care reform plays out anyway. The federal legislation lets the states choose whether to enact some programs, how to expand Medicaid and the enforcement of regulations. (Pensacola News Journal, The Greenville News)