KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: October 5, 2010

Today's headlines include reports on the midterm elections and recent polls as well as the latest developments related to Medicaid expansion.

Report Calls For More Independent Role For Nurses
Kaiser Health News staff writers Andrew Villegas and Mary Agnes Carey report: "A new report released today may give nurses with advanced degrees a potent weapon in their perennial battle to get the authority to practice without a doctor's oversight" (Kaiser Health News).

Accountable Care Organizations Trigger Legal Worries From Health Care Providers And Insurers
Kaiser Health News staff writers Jenny Gold and Phil Galewitz report: "Doctors and hospitals eager to pursue a new model of health care being promoted by the Obama administration are raising concerns that they could run afoul of antitrust and anti-fraud laws, while insurers are warning that the new arrangements could lead to higher prices for medical care" (Kaiser Health News).

Insuring Your Health: New Laws Expand Mental Health Coverage
In this Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "Two federal laws that provide better insurance coverage for more people with mental health and substance abuse conditions are just beginning to take effect, and advocates say the changes describe the changes as a huge win for consumers that will greatly improve treatment" (Kaiser Health News).

Health On The Hill – October 4, 2010
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and The Associated Press'' Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar talk with KFF's Jackie Judd about the latest news on the Hill, including how health reform is playing in congressional campaigns and more details on implementation (Kaiser Health News). Read the transcript

Kathleen Sebelius Urges Cooperation On Reform
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged Congress on Monday to turn its attention away from politics and partisan sniping and to focus on how it can successfully reform the nation's health delivery system (Politico).

States Face Medicaid Expansion Challenge
Political hostility over the health care law and the potential for turnover in statehouses this November are creating uncertainty for state Medicaid leaders as they prepare for a huge expansion of their programs (Politico).

Health Insurance Costs Are Up, But It Could Be Worse
The good news is that the price federal employees and retirees will pay for their health insurance next year won't go up as much as premiums did this year. The bad news is that the 7.2 percent increase for 2011 is much greater than inflation or any pay increase or cost of living adjustment they might get (The Washington Post).

Consumer Reports Insights: How To Pick An Insurance Plan
The health-care overhaul law will trigger a seismic shift in health insurance. Early rumblings can be heard this fall as many people with employer-based insurance enter the open-enrollment period, the time when they can easily change plans (The Washington Post).

Democrats Gain In Poll But GOP Still Leads As Midterm Elections Near
Democrats have cut in half the GOP's early-September advantage on the question of which party's candidates voters say they will support on Nov. 2. They have also made small gains on the question of which party people trust to handle big issues, such as the economy and health care (The Washington Post).

Poll: GOP Holds 'Enthusiasm' Advantage As Election Nears
A Gallup Poll analysis released Monday underscores the huge "enthusiasm" advantage Republicans hold a month before elections that will determine control of Congress and help shape the rest of President Obama's (USA Today).

Democrat Feingold Runs Ad Touting Health Care Vote
Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin boldly embraces and defends his vote for the health care reform law in his latest campaign television ad, even as other Democrats avoid the topic and Republicans rail against it (The Associated Press).

Defense Panels Approve $300M For Wounded Troops Care
Congressional defense committees have given the Pentagon the green light to spend $300 million on medical equipment and research projects to treat wounded troops (The Hill).

Accord Near For Sale Of Caritas
Representatives of Caritas Christi Health Care, the private equity firm seeking to buy it, and the attorney general's office are working on a tentative agreement to protect the retirement plans of 13,000 employees and keep the chain's hospitals open for at least five years (The Boston Globe).

U.S. Will Increase AIDS Fund Donation
The Obama administration is expected on Tuesday to announce a large increase in its pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and to call for reform of the organization (The Wall Street Journal).

Drug Firms Face Bribery Probe
Federal investigators are looking at ways that drug makers could be paying bribes overseas to boost sales and speed approvals, according to letters sent to the companies and people close to the matter (The Wall Street Journal).

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