KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: February 11, 2010

Today's headlines raise interesting questions for health reform, including whether Sen. Judd Gregg can play an important role in finding bipartisanship.

KHN Column -- Don't Stop Now: Lawmakers Should Pass The Senate Bill
In her latest column for Kaiser Health News, Judy Feder writes: "Veterans of health reform battles know all too well that enacting health reform is as challenging to the nation's political system as it is important to the nation's well-being. We also know that perseverance pays off. Despite several dips in the legislative roller coaster over the past 12 months, we greeted the new year having passed historic, transformative legislation in both houses of Congress. The fact that we still need a little heavy political lifting to take it over the finish line would hardly surprise Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose death ironically set in motion the political obstacles we now face. But he wouldn't tolerate our giving up" (Kaiser Health News).

Blog Watch: Different Shades Of Blue
In this installment of Blog Watch, KHN's Kate Steadman writes: "A snow-buried capital slowed many DC-based bloggers' production (cabin fever, perhaps?) but some are reflecting on the administration's public rebuke of health insurer Anthem Blue Cross. The California for-profit company announced rate increases Monday of as much as 39% for many individual plans" (Kaiser Health News).

Judd Gregg Reaches Out To President Obama On Health Care
Is Judd Gregg a tease or a real potential partner for President Barack Obama in trying to salvage some health care reform in this Congress (Politico)?

Pelosi Makes Her Case: A Majority Is 51 Votes
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is pinning the blame on Republicans for a lack of bipartisanship in Congress and plans to bypass them if they continue to oppose efforts to enact near-universal health care (Roll Call).

A Simple Health-Care Fix Fizzles Out
It sounds like such a simple concept: Study different medical treatments and figure out which delivers the best results at the cheapest cost, giving patients the most effective care. Â… Yet, an examination of one of the best-known examples of a comparative-effectiveness analysis shows how complicated such a seemingly straightforward idea can get (The Wall Street Journal).

New Jersey Is Added To Trial Program To Streamline Health Insurance Paperwork
As part of the discussion last year over how best to overhaul the nation's health care system, the insurance industry promised to do its part by tackling the burdensome paperwork involved in paying medical claims (The New York Times).

Anthem Asked To Justify Insurance Rates
An investigation in California over dramatic health insurance increases is spurring a federal inquiry. Two congressional committees have asked executives from WellPoint, the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross of California, to explain why the company is raising premiums by as much as 39 percent for some customers (NPR).

Minn. A-G Sues 2 Texas Discount Health Firms
Minnesota's attorney general on Wednesday sued two Texas companies she said falsely represented their discounted health care plans as medical insurance to thousands of customers (The Associated Press/Washington Post).

Patrick Wants Health Cost Veto
Governor Deval Patrick is seeking sweeping authority to review and reject rates charged by hospitals, physician groups, medical imaging centers, and insurers, in a broad new effort to make health care more affordable, particularly for smaller companies and their workers (The Boston Globe).

FDA Budget Draws Cries Of 'Not Enough' Patrick Wants Health Cost Veto
The Food and Drug Administration was sitting pretty last week, winning a significant budget increase while many other federal agencies faced the prospect of cut or frozen funding as the Obama administration confronts a 13-figure deficit (Los Angeles Times).

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