KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: January 21, 2011

Today's headlines highlight the House GOP's plans to advance the "replace" part of their strategy to reverse the health overhaul.

Kaiser Health News: Democrats And Republicans Angle For Public Support In Health Law Debate
KHN staff writer Jenny Gold reports: "Brace yourself: the war of words over the health care law isn't going to end anytime soon, not with both parties seeing new opportunities to mold public opinion in the wake of Wednesday's largely symbolic House repeal vote" (Gold, 1/20).

Kaiser Health News column: Quit The RUC
In their latest KHN column, Brian Klepper and David Kibbe write: "Primary care physicians have tried to change the process, but to no avail. Leaving would de-legitimize the RUC, paving the way for a new, more balanced process to supplant it" (1/21).

The New York Times: House Republicans Plan Their Own Health Bills
Less than 24 hours after voting to repeal the new health care law, House Republicans said Thursday that they would pass discrete bills to achieve some of the same goals, but with more restraint in the use of federal power (Pear, 1/20).

Los Angeles Times: House Republicans Offer Own Healthcare Legislation
Following up on their largely symbolic vote to repeal the new healthcare law, House Republicans moved ahead Thursday with more targeted efforts to advance their own healthcare initiatives, including deregulating health insurance sales (Levey and Mascaro, 1/21).

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Look Beyond Repeal Vote
House Republicans began a push Thursday to pick apart the Democrats' sweeping health-care law, an undertaking carrying possible risks alongside political rewards. A day after House Republicans voted unanimously to repeal the entire health law-an effort almost certain to die in the Senate-the chairmen of four House committees announced their plans to move on to the bigger challenge of coming up with specific measures to kill or replace parts of the legislation (Bendavid, 1/21).

NPR: After Health Care Repeal, GOP Targets Abortion
Abortion, the issue so contentious that it almost prevented the health law from passing last year, is back. But this time Republican leaders are raising it on purpose. And if another divisive debate helps further weaken the health law they would like to see repealed, that would be an added bonus (Rovner, 1/21).

Politico: Abortion Interjected Into Health Care Reform Repeal
Republicans are turning to abortion as a key issue to rally their base as they attempt to replace the Democrats' health reform law. The high-profile introduction of a Republican anti-abortion bill - just hours after the health repeal vote and prior to any legislation on jobs or economy-has groups on both sides of the issue gearing up for another aggressive fight (Kliff, 1/20).

The New York Times: Poll Finds Wariness About Cutting Entitlements
As President Obama and Congress brace to battle over how to reduce chronic annual budget deficits, Americans overwhelmingly say that in general they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch the most people and also are the biggest drivers of the government's projected long-term debt (Calmes and Sussman, 1/20).

The New York Times: As U.S. Patients Await Organ Transplants, Potential Donors Struggle For Visas
The clock is ticking for Dr. Gabriel Danovitch's patient. Dr. Danovitch, a transplant surgeon at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, is treating an immigrant from Mexico in his 40s whose kidneys have failed. The patient is a good candidate for a transplant and has a donor, his brother (Baylon, 1/20).

The New York Times: States' Budget Crises Cut Deeply Into Financing For Mental Health Programs
Unlike many of her fellow governors, Jan Brewer of Arizona knows well the inner workings of her state's mental health system: her son has schizophrenia and was committed to a state hospital more than 20 years ago after being found not guilty by reason of insanity of sexual assault and kidnapping (Lacey, Sack and Sulzberger, 1/20).

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