KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: December 4, 2009

Today's headlines focus on the Senate's first health bill votes and the behind-the-scenes negotiations regarding the public option.

Health On The Hill: After Delays, Senate Votes On Health Bill Amendments
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey reports from Capitol Hill, where the Senate voted on four amendments to the Democrats' health overhaul bill. Audio and transcript available. (Kaiser Health News).

Crowded Agenda Dogs Health Bill
The Senate's slow-moving health bill is colliding with other legislative priorities on the economy, raising chances that Democrats won't meet their goal of pushing a health-care overhaul through the chamber this month (The Wall Street Journal).

Senate Health Bill Inches Forward
After a three-day impasse, the Senate moved on the first four amendments to the health care legislation Thursday, but the public option, abortion and financing the plan remained serious obstacles to negotiating a final bill (Politico).

Reid's Recipe For Getting Health-Care Deal Done
Despite the prospect of a potentially tough 2010 reelection fight, the combative Democratic leader has assumed full ownership of a 2,074-page bill that would cost $848 billion over 10 years and institute the most far-reaching changes to the system in generations. As the Senate debate unfolds on the chamber floor, Reid has remained burrowed in his office, looking past the daily political drama playing out and, as he said recently, "getting my deals done" (The Washington Post).

Talks Of Future Of Public Option In Healthcare Bill Intensify In The Senate
Senate Democrats from the liberal and centrist factions are engaged in increasingly urgent talks aimed at bridging the divide within the party over the public option in the healthcare reform bill (The Hill).

Dems Seeking Compromise On Public Insurance Option
On the Senate floor, Democrats are debating Republicans on health care. Behind the scenes, they're debating each other (The Associated Press).

Senate Votes Down GOP Plan To Strip Medicare Cuts From Bill
Senate Republicans lost their first major challenge to a Democratic plan to overhaul the health-care system, as the chamber voted Thursday to reject a GOP proposal to strip the package of nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts, its most important source of financing (The Washington Post).

Senate Backs Preventive Health Care For Women
The Senate voted Thursday to require health insurance companies to provide free mammograms and other preventive services to women, and it turned back a Republican challenge to Medicare savings that constitute the single largest source of financing for the bill (The New York Times).

Nelson Amendment Expected To Fall Short Even With GOP Support
An amendment restricting abortions does not appear to have enough support to be attached to the Senate healthcare bill (The Hill).

'Doughnut Hole' Unites Seniors Wary Of Health Bill
Lawmakers have wooed seniors skeptical of the health care overhaul by emphasizing the plan would close the "doughnut hole" - a gap in Medicare drug coverage that can cost thousands of dollars a year (The Associated Press).

Doctors Divide On Bill
Even though the American Medical Association offered qualified support for the Senate health care bill this week, many other medical groups are unqualified in their opposition (The New York Times).

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