KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

First Edition: September 22, 2009

Today's headlines make clear: it's going to be a big day today in the Senate Finance Committee.  

For Some Families, 'Cadillac' Health Insurance Is Priceless
People who have "gold-plated" plans often have low deductibles and excellent benefits that cover even the most expensive treatments. Under some of the health overhaul proposals, high-end plans may be taxed (Kaiser Health News and NPR). KHN explains the details of what a 'Cadillac' insurance plan means. Watch the related videos of the Lovell family and the Stabbe family.

Key Senator Says He Will Alter Health Proposal
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, said Monday that he would modify his health care bill to provide more generous assistance to moderate-income Americans, to help them buy insurance (The New York Times).

Baucus Aims To Ease Middle-Class Burden In Plan
Sen. Max Baucus said he would revamp his health-overhaul proposal to ease the financial burden for middle-income Americans and pare back a key tax increase, responding to critics on Capitol Hill who called the measure too harsh (The Wall Street Journal). 

Revised Bill Would Ease Burden On Middle Class
Seeking to lock down votes before Tuesday's meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Max Baucus began reworking his health-care overhaul to ease the financial burden on middle-class Americans who would be required for the first time to have health insurance (The Washington Post).

Senators To Start Work On Revised Health Care Bill
Senators challenging the latest proposed health care overhaul already have won concessions that include reducing a penalty for Americans who don't buy insurance, and hundreds of other changes are up for debate as a powerful committee takes up President Barack Obama's top domestic priority (The Associated Press).

Senate Finance Committee Keeps Eye On Healthcare Target Price
As the Senate Finance Committee begins reworking Sen. Max Baucus' healthcare bill today, the focus will be on keeping the final price tag below $900 billion -- a target considered crucial to winning over moderate Democratic votes (Los Angeles Times).

Fact Check: Coverage Requirement Enforced With Tax
Memo to President Barack Obama: It's a tax. Obama insisted this weekend on national television that requiring people to carry health insurance - and fining them if they don't - isn't the same thing as a tax increase. But the language of Democratic bills to revamp the nation's health care system doesn't quibble. Both the House bill and the Senate Finance Committee proposal clearly state that the fines would be a tax (The Associated Press).

Senators Compromise On Health Bill
After months of private negotiations and cryptic public statements, senators are beginning to show their hands on health care reform (Politico).

Agreement To Alter Insurance Assistance
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, said Monday that he would modify his health care bill to provide more assistance to moderate-income Americans to help them buy insurance (The New York Times).

Pelosi Wants House To Pass Healthcare Bill 'Within Weeks'
Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to make final decisions this week on the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor, but some centrists in the lower chamber want her to hold off until the Senate Finance Committee acts (The Hill).

Who's Representing The Uninsured On Capitol Hill?
Of the 100 congressional districts with the highest uninsured rates, 53 are represented either by Republican lawmakers - who are fighting the Obama administration's attempt to overhaul the health care system - or by Blue Dog Democrats - conservative Democrats who have slowed down and diluted the overhaul proposals (NPR).

Health Bill Could Assist Four Cancer Centers
The Nevada Cancer Institute, in Las Vegas, may not have a national reputation as a clinic or a research facility. But it does have the ear of its state's senior senator, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader. And that is why the four-year-old institute could reap a big gain in federal reimbursements as part of the health care overhaul (The New York Times).

Insurers Warned About Medicare Mailers
The Obama administration warned insurance companies Monday that they could face legal action for allegedly trying to scare seniors with misleading information about the potential for lost benefits under healthcare legislation in Congress (Los Angeles Times).

Friends Don't Let Friends Bring Up Health Care
But now the ruckus is spilling over into our private lives. Alarmingly, people who know and even love one another are taking off the gloves and duking it out around dinner tables and water coolers, through phones calls and emails and even on the Web (The Wall Street Journal).

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