KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: April 9, 2010

Today's headlines highlight various health policy developments at the state level.  

Developing Nations: Laboratories For Health Care Innovation
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jaclyn Schiff writes: A few months ago, GE Healthcare rolled out a portable electrocardiogram machine, trumpeting the new product's ability to help patients wherever they might need it. But the most interesting thing about the MAC 800 is not where it can go, but where it came from: China (Kaiser Health News).

Blog Watch: Predicting Outcomes
Kaiser Health News' Kate Steadman monitors the blogosphere and finds that "Bloggers are trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of certain provisions in the new health overhaul law, including whether an individual mandate is enforceable and if employers might drop coverage for their workers" (Kaiser Health News).

Anger Over Health-Care Reform Spurs Rise In Threats Against Congress Members
Anger over the health-care overhaul has led to a nearly threefold increase in recent months in the number of serious threats against members of Congress, federal law enforcement officials said (The Washington Post).

Man Accused Of Threats To Nancy Pelosi To Undergo Evaluation
The third person arrested in recent days for threatening members of Congress, Gregory Lee Giusti, appeared in federal court here Thursday after being accused of making dozens of harassing phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) of California. The arrest of Mr. Giusti, who was reportedly angry over Ms. Pelosi's primary role in passing healthcare reform, comes as a growing number of lawmakers complain about the increasingly violent tenor of verbal attacks against them (The Christian Science Monitor).

Romney Dogged By A Tale Of Two Health Plans
Mitt Romney, along with some other Republicans likely to run for president in 2012, is raising money this year for congressional candidates who want to repeal President Barack Obama's sweeping health-care law. But as Mr. Romney tours to promote his new book, some people have been posing an uncomfortable question: If he opposes Mr. Obama's health-care policy, why did Mr. Romney shepherd a near-universal health-insurance system into law as governor of Massachusetts? (The Wall Street Journal).

Insurers Plead Rate Case; Judge To Rule By Monday
Lawyers for health insurers and the state sparred in court yesterday over regulators' rejection of 235 proposed rate increases, and a judge said he would decide by Monday whether the companies will be allowed to charge the higher prices (The Boston Globe).

Health Insurers: Mass. Illegally Denied Rate Hike
Leading Massachusetts health insurers and state regulators squared off in court Thursday in their dispute about acceptable health insurance premiums for a pivotal sector of the local economy: small-business owners (The Associated Press).

AP News Break: Doyle Could Create Public Option
Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle could use his veto power to create a state-funded public option health insurance plan in Wisconsin that would extend coverage to virtually everyone, according to a memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (The Associated Press).

Colleges Skirt Rules On Health Plans, Cuomo Says
College-sponsored health plans often pay out far less in benefits than they collect in premiums, skirting state regulations and shortchanging students, according to an investigation by the New York attorney general's office (The New York Times).

Healthcare Voice Leaving White House
With healthcare reform passed and signed, the White House's top spokeswoman on the issue is leaving the administration. Linda Douglass, President Barack Obama's spokeswoman though the contentious healthcare debate and a former journalist, said Thursday that "leaving this great team is bittersweet" (The Hill).

Doctors And Patients, Lost In Paperwork
Paperwork, or documentation, takes up as much as a third of a physician's workday; and for many practicing doctors, these administrative tasks have become increasingly intolerable, a source of deteriorating professional morale. Having become physicians in order to work with patients, doctors instead find themselves facing piles of charts and encounter and billing forms, as well as the innumerable bureaucratic permutations of dozens of health insurance companies (The New York Times).

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