KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: October 5, 2009

The continuing efforts to make progress on the nation's health overhaul are reflected in today's headlines, which highlight both politics and policies.

People Who Choose Not To Have Insurance
Not all of America's 46 million uninsured people can be considered victims of a system that excludes them financially or because of pre-existing conditions. According to an unpublished Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the CDC's 2008 National Health Interview Survey, 2 percent of uninsured people said they simply didn't want health insurance. Some experts say others who could - and should - buy insurance choose not to because they perceive the costs as too high (Kaiser Health News). See related video and content, part of continuing series, Are You Covered?, done in partnership with NPR.

Dem Leader Faces Tough Job In Crafting Health Bill
Forget mission accomplished. Try mission seemingly impossible. With the Senate Finance Committee on the verge of approving a sweeping health overhaul bill Tuesday, the path might appear open for action by the full Senate. Not so fast (The Associated Press).

House Leaders Prepare To Wrestle With Question Of Taxes To Pay For Healthcare
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow House Democratic leaders next week are expected to wade into the treacherous waters of how to pay for the House healthcare bill as they continue to negotiate the shape of the bill behind closed doors (The Hill).

Health Care Bills Tackle Gender Gap In Coverage
Women's health groups, legal organizations and some female senators are fighting for a host of little-known provisions in the health care legislation being debated in Congress that they say will dramatically improve health care and insurance coverage for women (USA Today).

States Resist Medicaid Growth
The nation's governors are emerging as a formidable lobbying force as health-care reform moves through Congress and states overburdened by the recession brace for the daunting prospect of providing coverage to millions of low-income residents (The Washington Post).

San Francisco Health Care Approach Held Up As A Model
For two years, three-quarters of San Francisco's uninsured adults have enrolled in a public program that guarantees access to medical services, and the effort is being touted as a national model during the rancorous health care insurance debate (The Boston Globe/Los Angeles Times).

Obama Quietly Tries To Shore Up Senate Support For Public Option
Despite months of outward ambivalence about creating a government health insurance plan, the Obama White House has launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to get divided Senate Democrats to take up some version of the idea for a final vote in the coming weeks (Los Angeles Times).

Snowe Vote Looms In The Health Battle
The final hours of the Senate Finance Committee's marathon health debate focused on making its bill affordable for the middle class. Now, the question is whether Democrats did enough to win over Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, and whether they stayed within the budget limits set by President Barack Obama (The Wall Street Journal).

How Healthcare Overhaul Could Affect Prescription Drug Plan
Insurance exchanges may offer consumers new coverage options. Legislation may also improve the drug benefit under Medicare Part D (Los Angeles Times).

Democrats Wyden, Rockefeller Withhold Support Of Panel's Bill
At least two Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee have refused to pledge support for the health-care reform bill scheduled for a vote this week, underscoring the hard work ahead for President Obama as he tries to enact the most ambitious domestic policy legislation in more than a generation (The Washington Post).

A Senate Democrat With A Central Role
The room did not go eerily quiet when she spoke. And other senators did not hang on her every word. In fact, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas, may have gotten the most notice when colleagues paused last Wednesday to sing "Happy Birthday" to her (The New York Times).

Waves Of New Fund Cuts Imperil US Nursing Homes
The nation's nursing homes are perilously close to laying off workers, cutting services - possibly even closing - because of a perfect storm wallop from the recession and deep federal and state government spending cuts, industry experts say (The Associated Press).

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