KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: Sept. 1, 2009

Today's headlines indicate that September speculation regarding health care reform is heating up.

Dr. House's Prescription: More Medicine Is Better
Despite TV portrayals of best medicine, health reform proponents says patients could get good treatment -- and cheaper care -- if high tech tests were used more judiciously (Kaiser Health News).

Baucus Predicts Health Care Overhaul This Year
U.S. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana says a health care overhaul will happen this year even if Republicans back out of bipartisan talks under growing public pressure and that the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy could help hold together a compromise deal (The Associated Press).

Sen. Grassley: No Public Option In Health Reform
Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said Monday he remains hopeful a limited health care reform measure can be negotiated, but that a small bipartisan group of senators working on the issue agrees a government-run public option won't be part of the package. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., meanwhile, said an overhaul measure will be presented this year with or without bipartisan support - though he said a compromise would be far better than any bill pushed through solely by Democrats (The Associated Press).

White House Fires Back At Sen. Enzi
The White House criticized Republican Sen. Mike Enzi Monday for walking away from bipartisan healthcare talks (The Hill).

Key Republicans Bail On 'Obama-Care'; Dems Options Narrow
As key Republicans grow increasingly hostile to President Obama's plans for healthcare reform, the Democrats are edging toward a go-it-alone approach to legislation (The Christian Science Monitor).

House Democrats Plot Health Care Comeback
Democrats lost the month of August - not just in the polls and at town hall events but also within their own caucus. The question now is whether they can win September (Politico).

Republicans Warn Democrats: Don't Expect A Better September
The end of the summer recess may mean an end to the beatings back home, but Republicans are vowing to keep the pressure up on health care reform straight into September (Politico).

Health Care Anger Has Deeper Roots
Recent town-hall uproars weren't just about health care. They were also eruptions of concern that the government is taking on too much at once. That suggests trouble for the president and his party, and fears of losses in next year's midterm election are likely to shape the Democrats' fall agenda (The Wall Street Journal).

Study Raises Questions About Cost Savings From Preventive Care
Preventive services for the chronically ill may reduce health-care costs, but they are unlikely to generate the kind of fantastic savings that President Obama and other Democrats have said could help pay for an overhaul of the nation's health system, according to a study being published Tuesday (The Washington Post).

Election Set To Fill Seat Left Vacant By Kennedy
Amid fevered speculation about possible contenders for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's seat, Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday scheduled a special election for Jan. 19 and said he would keep pushing the state legislature to change the law so he could name an interim successor (The New York Times).

A New Heart, Tangled In Red Tape
In the debate about health care overhaul, there are countless stories of families saddled with hospital bills and unemployed workers who have lost their insurance. But the story of Eric De La Cruz, of Las Vegas, stands out as a striking example of both the best and the worst that the American health care system has to offer (The New York Times).

Democrats Focus On Health Care In California Election
While it may it may be too soon to tell whether the current passion surrounding health care will carry over into next year's midterm elections, voters in California's 10th Congressional District will go to the polls on Tuesday in a race in which the issue has been front and center (The New York Times).

Switch Saves Immigrants' Health Care
Thousands of legal immigrants facing steep cuts in state-subsidized health care will keep core medical services such as routine doctor visits and hospital treatment under a plan unveiled yesterday by Governor Deval Patrick (The Boston Globe).

Massachusetts Cuts Back Immigrant Health Care
State-subsidized health insurance for 31,000 legal immigrants here will no longer cover dental, hospice or skilled-nursing care under a scaled-back plan that Gov. Deval Patrick announced Monday (The New York Times).

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