By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang
- The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a federal body that advises Congress on Medicare, on Thursday issued its annual report to Congress that recommended increasing hospitals’ inpatient and outpatient Medicare rates by 1% in 2013. This recommendation will be voted on by the full board in January.
- The Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday released final rules for a new tax on medical devices such as surgical sutures and knee replacement implants that starts next year as part of President Obama’s healthcare law. Devicemakers should pay a 2.3 percent tax on their gross sales.
- Senior White House and Justice Department officials are debating legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana use.
- On December 4th, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that the state laws that require women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image placed in front of them while they hear a description of the fetus and that ban off-label use of certain abortion-inducing drugs are unconstitutional.
- Last Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it would decide whether human genes may be patented. The case the court is going to decide concerns patents on genes that correlate with increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Health officials warned last Friday of an alarming increase in HIV cases, particularly among intravenous drug users, in Athens, Greece, which suffered from a financial crisis that has led to deep budget cuts in healthcare and drug treatment programs.
- A Democratic lawmaker last Friday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate advertising claims made by producers of highly caffeinated energy drinks.