KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: March 30, 2010

Today's news pages are full of stories detailing more particulars of the new health care bill to be signed into law today by President Obama. Meanwhile, the headlines also indicate that for Democrats, politically capitalizing on the new measure will be no easy task.

Primary Care Crisis Has Been A Long Time Coming
Kaiser Health News staff writer Andrew Villegas writes, in a story that also appeared on NPR's health blog Shots, the following: "For decades, just about everybody who has looked at the supply of primary care doctors in this country has warned of trouble ahead" (Kaiser Health News).

Stimulus Stumbles Hold Lessons For Health Care Sell
As President Barack Obama prepares to roll out the health care reform plan, he can look to one recent case study in how not to do it – the economic stimulus package (Politico).

For Right, Health Care Renews A Familiar Rage
The ugly rhetoric and threats surrounding the health care law have been intense, but they're not new (NPR).

Health Care Law Too Costly, Most Say
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government's role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats (USA Today).

Barack Obama Struggles To Capitalize In Polls
Democrats who held out hopes that President Barack Obama's health reform win would mean a quick boost to the party's political fortunes are getting a reality check – a reminder that it takes more than one good week to shake up a year of sliding polls (Politico).

Political Notebook: Health Bill Gives Little Boost To Top Democrats
After steering the landmark health care overhaul bill through Congress, the Democratic Party's leaders have emerged mostly unscathed, according to a new Washington Post poll, but they have not received a notable boost in approval ratings (The Boston Globe).

Insurance Industry Agrees To Fix Kids Coverage Gap
The insurance industry says it won't fight President Barack Obama over fixing a coverage gap for kids in the new health care law (The Associated Press).

Flap On Children's Coverage Settled
Insurers said they would comply with regulations the government issues requiring them to cover children with pre-existing conditions, after a dispute with lawmakers over interpretation of the new health-care legislation (The Wall Street Journal).

Overhaul Will Lower The Cost Of Being A Woman
Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. That's the new mantra, repeated triumphantly by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and other advocates for women's health. But what does it mean (The New York Times)?

Health Premiums Could Rise 17 Pct For Young Adults
Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans - a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect (The Associated Press).

Law May Do Little To Health Curb Unnecessary Care
Dr. Robert Colton, an internist in Boca Raton, Fla., has a problem, and he knows it. His patients come in wanting, sometimes demanding, tests and treatments that are unnecessary, just adding to the nation's huge health care bill. He even has patients, he says, who come in and report that their chief complaint is, "I need an M.R.I" (The New York Times).

Companies Push To Repeal Provision Of Health Law
An association representing 300 large corporations urged President Obama and Congress on Monday to repeal a provision of the health care overhaul that prompted AT&T, Caterpillar and other companies to announce substantial charges for the current quarter (The New York Times).

Mental Health Experts Applaud Focus On Parity
Even without the new health care law, mental health advocates were getting ready to celebrate parity - a law requiring benefits for substance abuse and mental illnesses to be on par with benefits for medical illnesses (The New York Times).

Options Expand For Affordable Long-Term Care
More than most 41-year-olds, Elizabeth Priaulx thinks about her eventual need for long-term care. A lawyer in Washington, she has coped well with cerebral palsy since childhood, but has lately developed painful arthritis as a consequence of the disease (The New York Times).

Under Shadow Of 1957, Arkansas Stays Out Of Health-Care Fight
As 14 states move forward with a lawsuit to block President Obama's new health-care law, calling it an unconstitutional infringement on state sovereignty, Arkansas is nowhere to be found (The Washington Post).

Donald Berwick Is Obama's Likely Pick To Run Medicare and Medicaid
Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama's likely pick to run Medicare and Medicaid as the government embarks on a massive overhaul of the nation's health insurance system, has been a sometimes provocative advocate for more efficient delivery of patient care (Los Angeles Times).

Romney Defends Mass. Health Care Law
Mitt Romney offered an enthusiastic defense last night of the comprehensive health care law he helped create four years ago in Massachusetts, even as he pointed to crucial distinctions between it and a similar national program enacted last week by Democrats (The Boston Globe).

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows In Fight Against Nonprofit Hospitals
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) have formed an unusual alliance to ensure that tax-exempt hospitals treat patients without insurance (The Hill).

New Worries About H1N1 Influenza
Continuing activity of pandemic H1N1 influenza in the Southeast, particularly in Georgia, is raising fears of a third wave of swine flu cases, federal officials said Monday. They urged people to continue getting vaccinated as a preventive measure in case a new outbreak occurred (Los Angeles Times).

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