Washington roundup: Healthcare leaders emerge

Sunday, January 18, 2009

WASHINGTON - Eleven new members have been appointed to the congressional committee charged with overseeing Medicare. During the 111th Congress, the Ways and Means Committee will likely hold hearings on waste, and fraud and abuse in federal programs, including Medicare. The 11 new members of the committee include: Danny Davis, D-Ill.; Bob Etheridge, D-N.C.; Brian Higgins, D-N.Y.; Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.; John Yarmuth, D-Ky.; Charles Boustany, R-La.; Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.; Geoff Davis, R-Ky.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; Dave Reichert, R-Wash. and Peter Roskam, R-Ill. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., remains chairman of the committee and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., is the ranking member. The Ways and Means Committee now includes 26 Democrats and 15 Republicans.

Senior Republicans lead party's healthcare reform efforts

WASHINGTON - A group of senior Republican senators have been chosen to lead their party's healthcare reform efforts in the 111th Congress, according to news reports. The senators are Mike Enzi of Wyoming; Chuck Grassley of Iowa; Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, and Orrin Hatch of Utah. Industry stakeholders urge providers in those states, and all over, to contact their senators and share their concerns, including the need to repeal the 36-month oxygen cap and eliminate national competitive bidding. The GOP proposals will seek to manage costs "through more efficient and quality-focused healthcare delivery, and by building on private sector choices," Hatch stated in a news report.

Head of anti-smoking group named to DHHS

WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama has chosen the executive director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to be the deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed by the Senate, William Corr would be second in command at DHHS, behind secretary nominee Tom Daschle. Corr worked as chief counsel and policy director for Daschle from 1998 to 2000. Previously, he worked at community-run primary healthcare centers in Appalachia.