KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: February 1, 2011

Today's health policy news focuses on analysis of Monday's ruling in which a federal court judge in Florida struck down the health law.

Kaiser Health News: Analysis: What Does Judge Vinson's Health law Decision Mean?
Jackie Judd talks with legal analyst Stuart Taylor about the legal blow today to the new health care reform law. Federal Judge Roger Vinson, in Florida, declared the entire law void (1/31). Listen to the interview. Read the text of the decision.

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Mediation Offers An Alternative To Malpractice Lawsuits
In her latest KHN consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "When a health-care provider harms instead of heals, patients who seek answers and redress generally face the prospect of a long and costly lawsuit. But there's another option, one that can significantly reduce the toll of a court battle while providing many of the same benefits to patients and their families: mediation" (2/1).

Kaiser Health News Column: It Will Be Democratic Senators Leading The Charge To Fix Or Improve The New Health Law
In his latest KHN column, Robert Laszewski writes: "When the House of Representatives roll was called Jan. 19, only three Democrats joined with House Republicans in voting to repeal the new health law. This development was notable in that it meant most of Democrats who voted against the overhaul the first time around, and were reelected to Congress in November, voted not to repeal it this time -- evidence that they may be sensing that support for the health overhaul hardening. A quick examination of public opinions offers evidence as to why this idea might be taking hold" (1/31).

The Washington Post: Judge Strikes Down Entire New  Health-Care Law
A federal judge in Florida on Monday became the first to strike down the entire law that overhauled the nation's health-care system, potentially complicating implementation of the statute in the 26 states that brought the suit (Aizenman and Goldstein, 2/1).

The New York Times: Federal Judge Rules That Health Law Violates Constitution
A second federal judge ruled on Monday that it was unconstitutional for Congress to enact a health care law that required Americans to obtain commercial insurance, evening the score at 2 to 2 in the lower courts as conflicting opinions begin their path to the Supreme Court (Sack, 1/31).

The Wall Street Journal: Judge Rejects Health Law
A federal judge ruled that Congress violated the Constitution by requiring Americans to buy insurance as part of the health overhaul passed last year, and said the entire law "must be declared void" (Adamy, 2/1).

The Wall Street Journal: Contentious Clause At Heart Of Health-Law Challenges
The Commerce Clause, which has been at the heart of court challenges to the health-care overhaul's individual mandate, is among the most contentious components of the U.S. Constitution (Jones, 2/1).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Federal Judge: A Wink At The Tea Party In Overturning Health Law
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, ruling against the Obama administration's health care overhaul, reached back to a seminal American Revolution-era event now in vogue with today's tea party movement. The central issue in dispute is whether the Constitution gives Congress the power to require Americans to buy health insurance or face financial penalties (Perez, 1/31).

Los Angeles Times: Federal Judge Says Healthcare Law Is Unconstitutional
A federal judge in Florida dealt President Obama's healthcare overhaul a sweeping blow Monday, ruling the law unconstitutional because of its requirement that Americans have health insurance starting in 2014 (Levey and Savage, 2/1).

USA Today: Judge Rules Health Care Law Unconstitutional
A federal judge's ruling Monday that the health care law that passed last year is unconstitutional leaves implementation exactly where it was: moving forward. And, according to senior administration officials, that will continue unless Congress votes to repeal the law or the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional (Kennedy and Biskupic, 2/1).

Politico: Florida Health Ruling Gives Republicans Firepower
A Florida federal court ruling against the health care law gave renewed life Monday to Republican efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement - a campaign stalled by the Democratic-controlled Senate. But even with the sweeping ruling, there's no sign that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is going to allow a repeal vote on the floor - and no Democrats have committed to joining the full slate of Senate Republicans who now back the repeal (Budoff Brown and Shiner, 1/31).

Politico: 3 Other Health Care Repeal Cases Of Note
Monday's ruling is the fourth case in which a federal judge has made a decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. While there are dozens of cases against the health law making their way through the courts, four are considered significant. Here is a quick status report on the other three cases (Nocera, 1/31).

Politico: States Still Implementing Health Care Reform
A federal court in Florida may have ruled the health reform law unconstitutional - but you wouldn't know it from the constant buzz of activity in the 26 states that brought suit against the federal overhaul (Kliff, 1/31).

The New York Times: Concierge Medical Care With A Smaller Price Tag
When Jennifer Contreras went to see her new physician, she had hardly arrived in the waiting room before she was called in - by the doctor herself. Ms. Contreras is a patient at One Medical Group, a new model for primary care that aims to set a nationwide example. With 31 physicians in San Francisco and New York, it offers most of the same services provided by personalized "concierge" medical practices, but at a much lower price: $150 to $200 a year (Hafner, 1/31).

The Washington Post: Legislative Proposal Puts Abortion Rights Supporters On Alert
A Republican bill seeking to permanently cut off federal funding for abortions has angered women's groups who say it alters the definition of rape, permitting coverage for the procedure only in cases in which the rape is considered "forcible" (Somashekhar, 1/31).

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