KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: November 8, 2010

Today's health policy headlines include more post-mortem reports about the health law's impact on the election.

Conservatives' Conflict: Try For Health Law Repeal – Or Revision
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "Even if Republicans could wave a magic wand and persuade enough Democrats to change the big federal health law in the next two years, the effort might hurt chances of eventually repealing it, some conservatives say" (Kaiser Health News).

HHS Cuts Premiums For Some High Risk Pools
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "Trying to spur enrollment in a new health insurance program for uninsured people with pre-existing medical conditions, the federal government is doing something private insurers almost never do: slashing rates" (Kaiser Health News).

KHN Column --  Attacking The Health Law: The GOP's Confusing And Incompatible Arguments
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Jonathan Cohn writes: "The Republicans and their allies spent a lot of time - and a lot of money - attacking the new health law and promising to undo it. And they did so with such a fury that almost nobody seemed to notice they were making a pair of arguments that were fundamentally incompatible" (Kaiser Health News).

What Effect Did Health-Care Reform Have On Election?
The 2010 midterm election was clearly a referendum on the state of the economy and Democratic-led Washington's handling of it. But how much did the health-care law passed this year have to do with Republicans winning back the House and gaining six seats in the Senate? That is a point of considerable contention not just between strategists for the two parties but also within the Democratic Party itself (The Washington Post).

Seniors Fled Democrats In Midterms
Concerned by changes to Medicare and compelled by a Republican Party that promised a return to America's glory days, seniors played a crucial - and often understated - role in races across the country. They were unswayed by ubiquitous Democratic warnings about Republican changes to Social Security. And they put a series of campaigns out of reach for Democrats (Politico).

States, Not Congress, Can Thwart Healthcare Law
House Republicans swept to power Tuesday with promises to roll back the new healthcare law and subject its creators to a merciless round of congressional investigations. But the fate of President Obama's sweeping overhaul will probably be determined not in Washington but in state capitals across the country, where the GOP also scored dramatic victories (Los Angeles Times).

Republicans Throw The Gauntlet On Health Care Reform
The election-emboldened Republican leadership may soon discover that undermining President Obama's signature health care reform law won't be easy. It may also entail significant political risks (The Fiscal Times).

Help Is On The Way For Those Who Can't Get Medical Insurance
Last month, California joined the ranks of states that have created a federally funded health plan for people who are medically uninsurable. All states either have a plan or will have one soon (Los Angeles Times).

Review Of Prostate Cancer Drug Provenge Renews Medicare Cost-Benefit Debate
Federal officials are conducting an unusual review to determine whether the government should pay for an expensive new vaccine for treating prostate cancer, rekindling debate over whether some therapies are too costly (The Washington Post).

When The Doctor Has A Boss
The traditional model of doctors hanging up their own shingles is fading fast, as more go to work directly for hospitals that are building themselves into consolidated health-care providers (The Wall Street Journal).

Biotech Grants Stretched Thin
A $1 billion fund created as part of the health-care overhaul legislation was divided among thousands of biotechnology companies last week, including dozens in the Washington area, to spur research and development of new treatments for cancer and other often-fatal diseases (The Washington Post).

9/11 Workers Face Deadline For Health Settlement
Thousands of laborers, police officers and firefighters suing New York City over their exposure to toxic World Trade Center dust have until Monday to decide whether to join a legal settlement that could ultimately pay them as much as $815 million (The Associated Press).

Mental Health Visits Rise As Parent Deploys
Young children in military families are about 10 percent more likely to see a doctor for a mental difficulty when a parent is deployed than when the parent is home, researchers are reporting Monday in the most comprehensive study to date of such families' use of health insurance during wartime (The New York Times). 

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