KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: November 19, 2009

Today's headlines are overwhelmingly focused on yesterday's major health policy development: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally unveiled the much-anticipated Senate health bill.

With Senate Health Bill, Reid Tries To Balance Many Interests
Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz write about last night's big news. "In one of the most anticipated events in the health reform debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., tonight released the bill expected to go to the Senate floor. Reid added new taxes and modified major provisions of health bills passed by two Senate panels in his quest to meet President Barack Obama's target of health legislation that would cost less than $900 billion and win 60 votes in the Senate" (Kaiser Health News).

Kaiser Health News provides summaries of the Wednesday night's breaking news coverage that followed the release of the Senate health bill.

Senate Unveils Health-Care Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid presented an $848 billion health-care overhaul package on Wednesday that would extend coverage to 31 million Americans and reform insurance practices while adding an array of tax increases, including a rise in payroll taxes for high earners (The Washington Post).

Senate Health Plan Seeks To Add Coverage To 31 Million
Democratic leaders in the Senate on Wednesday unveiled their proposal for overhauling the health care system, outlining legislation that they said would cover most of the uninsured while reducing the federal budget deficit (The New York Times).

Reid Rolls Out Senate Healthcare Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday unveiled his long-awaited plan for expanding medical coverage to millions more Americans over the next decade, setting the stage for a historic Senate debate on a healthcare overhaul (Los Angeles Times).

Sen. Reid Unveils $849 Billion Health Care Bill
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid unveiled a $859 billion bill to reshape the nation's health care system Wednesday night, setting up a historic year-end debate over a measure designed to lower costs and bar insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions (NPR staff and wire reports).

Senate Dems Take $849B Step Toward Healthcare Reform
Senate Democrats made a significant stride toward achieving President Barack Obama's goal of enacting a sweeping overhaul of the healthcare system with a bill that would spend $849 billion over 10 years to reduce the number of uninsured by 31 million people (The Hill).

Reid Lays Out $849B Senate Health Care Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled an $849 billion health care bill Wednesday that advanced President Obama's broad vision to revamp the health insurance market but left key moderate Democrats uncommitted (USA Today).

Senate Democrats Introduce $849 Billion Healthcare Reform Bill
Though the congressional debate and legislative sausage-making are far from over, the Senate took a major step Wednesday in putting forth a $849 billion healthcare reform bill (The Christian Science Monitor).

Senate Girds For Historic Debate On Health Bill
After months of maneuvering, the Senate stands at the brink of a historic battle over health care with President Barack Obama and his allies on one side and Republicans, outnumbered but unflinching, on the other (The Associated Press).

Showdown Set For Health Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the stage for a climactic debate in the Senate over health care by unveiling a 10-year, $848 billion bill that would extend insurance to 31 million Americans without coverage (The Wall Street Journal).

Reid Plan Ups Pressure On Moderates
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveiled his $848 billion health reform bill Wednesday to broad support from fellow Democrats - and the move quickly turned up the pressure on the last few wavering moderates to support the plan, which includes a sizable chunk of deficit cutting (Politico).

Senate Health Bill Woos Moderates
Senate majority leader Harry Reid unveiled his long-awaited version of a sweeping health care bill last night, setting the stage for a tense Senate showdown pitting Republicans against a fragile and fractured Democratic majority (The Boston Globe).

Senate Democrats Backing Down On Tough Anti-Abortion Measure
The Senate Democrats' two leading foes of abortion have backed away from supporting the strict anti-abortion measure approved in the House version of healthcare reform (The Christian Science Monitor).

Lieberman Slams Public Option; Taunts Critics
Sen. Joe Lieberman's threat to filibuster any health care bill with a public option could kill health reform this year - and embolden Democratic challengers who'd like to send him packing in 2012. But Lieberman doesn't seem worried (Politico).

Reid Rolling Out Big Guns To Push Healthcare Bill To 60 Needed Votes
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has recruited an all-star team of former senators - Vice President Joe Biden, Tom Daschle and Ken Salazar - to push healthcare reform over the finish line (The Hill).

Rising Prices Of Drugs Lead To Call For Inquiry
Democrats in Congress asked for two separate investigations of drug industry pricing Wednesday as they continue working on legislation to overhaul the nation's health care system (The New York Times).

Breast Cancer Screening Policy Won't Change, U.S. Officials Say
The Obama administration distanced itself Wednesday from new standards on breast cancer screening that were recommended this week by a federally appointed task force, saying government insurance programs would continue to cover routine mammograms for women starting at age 40 (The New York Times).

White House Backs Off Cancer Test Guidelines
A top federal health official said Wednesday that the controversial new guidelines for breast cancer screening do not represent government policy, as the Obama administration sought to keep the debate over mammograms from undermining the prospects for health-care reform (The Washington Post).

Mammogram Coverage Won't Change, Companies Say
Insurance companies contacted by USA TODAY say they will continue paying for annual mammograms amid widespread fears that new breast cancer screening guidelines from a federal task force could lead women to lose coverage for those tests (USA Today).

Insurers Unlikely To Alter Policies In The Debate Over Mammograms
For years, breast cancer screening clinics have struggled. And that was even before new guidelines this week recommended that women wait longer to begin getting mammograms and have fewer of them (The New York Times).

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