KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: July 16, 2009

Today's headlines reflect activity in both the House and th Senate related to sweeping health overhaul legislation:

For Many Workers, Insurance Choices May Be Limited
President Obama and leading Democrats have stressed that people who like their employer-sponsored insurance would be able to keep it, under a health care overhaul. But they haven't emphasized the flip side: That people who don't like their coverage might have to keep it (Kaiser Health News).

House Democrats Prepare To Vote On Health Bill
House Democrats are preparing to advance legislation that would deliver on President Barack Obama's promise to remake the nation's costly health care system and cover some 50 million uninsured (Associated Press).

Health Care Vote Illustrates Stubborn Partisan Divide
A party-line Senate committee vote on legislation to remake the nation's health care system underscored the absence of political consensus on what would be the biggest changes in social policy in more than 40 years (New York Times).

Senate Panel Approves Healthcare Overhaul Bill
The Senate Health Committee, approving major healthcare legislation for the first time in 15 years, put forward a sweeping plan Wednesday to provide nearly every American with insurance regardless of income or medical condition and to create a government program to compete directly with private insurers (LA Times).

Senate Panel Advances Health-Care Overhaul
President Obama's ambitious drive to overhaul the nation's $2.3 trillion health-care system cleared a key Senate committee yesterday. But the administration was promptly buffeted by criticism from some of the industry players and moderate Democrats it has courted for months, calling into question the prospects for a bipartisan landmark bill (Washington Post).

The Influence Game: Grass-Roots Health Care Fight
The conservative message on health care is simple: President Barack Obama's revamping of the nation's medical system will produce a costly government-run program that limits patients' choices (Associated Press).

Lawmakers Grapple With How To Pay For Health Reform
Health care reform gained some momentum in the Senate Wednesday as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions passed legislation that would expand Americans' access to health insurance, one day after House Democratic leaders unveiled their own draft legislation. But lawmakers are grappling with the thorny question of how to afford coverage for America's uninsured. After an update of the day's news, two analysts discuss how to pay for health care reform (The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer).

Obama Plays Waiting Game On Health Bill
The president of the United States usually waits for no one. But when it comes to health care reform, there's an exception to the rule: the Senate Finance Committee (Politico).

Blue Dogs Threaten To Bring Down Pelosi's Healthcare Bill
Centrist Democrats are threatening to oppose their party's healthcare legislation unless House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accepts changes that make the bill more to their liking (The Hill).

As Obama Presses Health Reform, GOP Unifies
Obama wants the House and Senate to pass versions of health legislation before the August recess. But Republican senators say that the Senate's proposal would only make things worse (Christian Science Monitor).

Democrats Turn Up The Heat On Insurance Industry
Democrats ratcheted up an offensive against health insurers Wednesday, proposing $100 billion in new fees on the industry, as health-care legislation took another step forward in the Senate (Wall Street Journal).

Obama Eyes The Purse Strings For Medicare
At the same time President Obama is asking members of Congress to take one of the most politically difficult votes of their careers, he is also pressing lawmakers to give up one of their most valued perks of office: boosting Medicare payments to benefit hometown providers (Washington Post).

Businesses Worry About New Burdens
Executives across the country expressed concern Wednesday that health-care bills being hammered out in Congress this week would place onerous burdens on their businesses without doing enough to reduce their swelling medical costs (Wall Street Journal).

Squeeze For Some In Middle Class
Legislation moving forward in Congress would require nearly every American to carry health insurance. That could squeeze a small group of middle-income earners who make too much to get the government's help buying insurance, but aren't so wealthy they can easily absorb the high cost of coverage (Wall Street Journal).

Boston Medical Sues State For Funds
Boston Medical Center filed suit yesterday against the state, accusing officials of illegally cutting payments made to the hospital for treating thousands of poor patients, a decision executives said could financially unravel the urban hospital's key services (Boston Globe).

Massachusetts In Suit Over Cost Of Universal Care
A hospital that serves thousands of indigent Massachusetts residents sued the state on Wednesday, charging that its costly universal health care law is forcing the hospital to cover too much of the expense of caring for the poor (New York Times).

Medical Device Firms Accused Of Kickbacks
Several large medical device companies have been accused of marketing their products for unapproved uses while charging the federal government, according to documents unsealed in Houston federal court (Associated Press/New York Times).

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