KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: August 2, 2010

Today's headlines include news about a pre-recess Senate push to pass a state aid measure as well as a preview of a White House report to be issued today that predicts savings in the Medicare program.

Doctor Discounts For The Asking
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times, Lisa Zamosky writes: "Looking to save money on healthcare? Consider asking your doctor for a discount. That's what Shelly Gordon of Palo Alto did. Gordon, who has a Blue Cross health plan with a $5,000 deductible and a $500 monthly premium, buys her own insurance since losing a job and starting her own public relations and communications firm. When she had her annual checkup, she learned that it came with a $350 price tag" (Kaiser Health News).

KHN Column: Why The Health Reform Repealers Are Wrong
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, done in collaboration with The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn writes: "The effort to repeal health care reform, all in one fell swoop, seems to be stalling. Instead, the opponents of reform are trying to dismantle it piece by piece. The latest effort came last week, when a group of Republicans in the Senate proposed abolishing the Independent Payment Advisory Board. And therein lies a lesson about the future of American health care--and the two different shapes it could take" (Kaiser Health News).

White House's Late Push For $26B State Aid Bill
Last year's giant Recovery Act helped fill this gap, but as these stimulus funds run out, Democrats fear more state layoffs, beginning with teachers just months before November elections. Cash-strapped governors are promised $16.1 billion to pay Medicaid bills next year and ease their budget situation; another $10 billion in education assistance would go to school boards to help with teacher hiring-a top priority for Education Secy. Arne Duncan (Politico).

Republican Party Eyes Choking Health Law Funding
Republicans may not be able to repeal the Democrats' health care reform law next year, but they're eyeing the next best thing: Deny the Obama administration the money it needs to implement the law (Politico).

White House Report Claims $8B In Medicare Savings
The new health overhaul law will start producing savings for Medicare right away, and over time add 12 years of solvency to the program's giant trust fund for inpatient care, the Obama administration says in a report to be released Monday (The Associated Press).

Rep. Ryan Pushes Budget Reform, And His Party Winces
Ryan is running a campaign of a different sort, one his party has so far refused to adopt: He is determined to persuade colleagues to get serious about eliminating the national debt, even if it means openly broaching overhauls of Medicare and Social Security (The Washington Post).

Few Satisfied By Administration's Limits On Abortion Coverage
The Obama administration' restrictions on abortion coverage in the healthcare reform law's high-risk pools have infuriated abortion-rights supporters while failing to placate the procedure's opponents (The Hill).

Revenue Of Top Lobbying Firms Jumped In First Half Of Year
The financial services overhaul, health-care legislation and the proposed climate change bill helped generate more than $128 million in lobbying revenue for these firms since the beginning of the year, with half posting double-digit gains (The Washington Post).

First Large-Scale Free Clinic In D.C. To Be Held Aug. 4
In the run-up to this week's giant free clinic in the District, Nicole Lamoureux, the lead organizer, could tell that hearts were racing, blood pressure was increasing and tension was rising. Calls from patients scheduling appointments were starting to pour into her office, but there weren't enough volunteer medical workers to see them (The Washington Post).

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