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Headlines on Deadline...

Congressional Republicans, eager to please in an election year, seem willing to support a pharmacy benefit in Medicare. That, combined with the drug industry's new willingness to negotiate on the issue, has heightened speculation that a benefit plan will pass this year.... Foundation Health has consolidated its commercial plans into two divisions — East and West. The idea is to create operating and administrative efficiencies.... Highmark is trying a risk-adjustment payment system for cardiologists, ophthalmologists, and orthopedists in Pennsylvania. The three are its highest-cost specialties, in terms of Medicare claims dollars.... Kaiser Permanente dropped a recruiting tactic that offered 10-percent bonus pay to physicians in the early years of their practices. Though it had been alleged the bonus was tantamount to age discrimination, Kaiser says it ended the practice because it is no longer needed.... Healtheon/WebMD and HNC Software have hit on a plan that will allow physicians to file claims over the Internet for free with any payer that participates in the service.

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