KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: May 3, 2010

Today's headlines include analysis of how this year's health reform debate is shaping other national policy initiatives and the upcoming mid-term elections.  

KHN Column: Playing Chicken
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Jonathan Cohn writes: "A lot of people laughed when Sue Lowden, the Nevada Republican running for the U.S. Senate, suggested last month that people start paying for their medical care with chickens. I didn't. I thought about my late grandfather Kurt, a family doctor who practiced in Brooklyn starting in the 1940s. His office was in the basement of his house and his clientele (like him) was very Jewish. He never mentioned getting paid with a chicken. But it seems entirely possible that somebody, at some point, offered up some poultry--and that, for the next few nights, it was matzoh ball soup for dinner at the Cohn household" (5/3).

Weekend Coverage: Insurance In The News
Kaiser Health News tracked the weekend health policy news, including news about states that are opting out of high risk health insurance pools and a Massachusetts report on insurers' financial health (Kaiser Health News, 5/2).

Health Care Decisions Follow Party Lines
The first major decision for the states under the new health care law-on establishing high risk insurance pools-has come and gone with the decisions so far made mostly along party lines (Politico).

Reinstating Adult Children On Parents' Health Care Policies
A series of questions and answers about this policy, including "Are the companies that say they will extend coverage to recent grads before the new health-care reform law takes effect also reinstating kids who are too old to be on their parents' health-insurance policies?" (The Washington Post/Kiplinger).

Tax Breaks And Loopholes That cost Us $1 Trillion A Year Have Staunch Defenders
Under the new health-care law, millions of Americans will get government help to cover medical bills. Many will simply be added to the rolls of Medicaid, the government health plan for the poor. But the rest will get their subsidies a different way -- through tax credits that lower the cost of their insurance premiums and co-payments (The Washington Post).

Internal GOP Wars Shaping Policies Nationwide
Internal GOP politics are profoundly affecting major policies such as immigration, health care and deficit spending, as elected Republicans shift right to fend off challengers in primary elections (The Associated Press).

Lessons From Health Bill Apply To Financial Reform
Bye, bye, Mr. Nice Guy. After pursuing bipartisan talks for months on health care and deflecting rather than challenging Republican critics, President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are deploying a more aggressive approach in their attempt to push financial overhaul legislation through the Senate (The Associated Press).

Healthcare Debate Drives Fundraising Efforts On Abortion
The hostility surrounding healthcare reform has galvanized both sides of the abortion debate to vigorously campaign in the midterm elections (The Hill).

Interstate Prescription Monitoring Sought
More doctors in California are using a prescription monitoring program to curb drug abuse, yet the state is unable to share information with other states (The Associated Press/Boston Globe).

MGH Staff Calmly Adjusts Routines
As the water emergency enters its third day, few places were as susceptible to potential trouble as hospitals, where sanitation is always an urgent priority. And few have as massive a challenge as Mass. General, the city's largest hospital (The Boston Globe).

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