KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: September 14, 2009

Today's headlines indicate that the momentum behind including a public option in health reform may be losing steam.

Ad Audit: Big Business Group Compares Congress To Slick Hucksters
Comparing lawmakers to sleazy street-corner salesmen, the lobbying arm for big business complains that lawmakers are trying to rush a health care overhaul through before the public can digest it. But the details the ad claims Congress is trying to gloss over have been debated for months (Kaiser Health News).

Take Public Option 'Off The Table,' Snowe Says
A key Republican senator who President Obama hopes will support his effort to overhaul the nation's health-care system urged him Sunday to take any plan for a new government-run program "off the table" (The New York Times).

Public Insurer Support Fading
Leading moderates in both parties retreated further from the government-backed health insurance option yesterday, echoing the argument President Obama made last week that the issue had been overblown and that alternatives, such as private nonprofit cooperatives, might be acceptable (The Boston Globe).

Letter From Washington: Obamacare Can't Win An All-In Wager
The fate of the Obama health care initiative could rest in large part with some members of his party's left wing, who threaten to let the perfect be the enemy of the good (The New York Times).

Obama Shrugs Off Political 'Circus' Over Healthcare
President Obama on Sunday dismissed the uproar over Rep. Joe Wilson's heckling during the president's speech Wednesday to a joint session of Congress, suggesting it was only a distraction -- even as some members of Obama's party threatened to punish the South Carolina Republican (Los Angeles Times).

Obama Pledges To 'Own' Health-Care bill
President Barack Obama, continuing his push to secure support for a health-care overhaul, reiterated his willingness to address the issue of medical malpractice suits, a Republican priority (The Wall Street Journal).

The Great Myth: Bipartisanship
President Barack Obama is on the warpath over myths and distortions about health care reform, but he's spreading one of his own: that there's any chance of genuinely bipartisan health care legislation reaching his desk this fall (Politico).

Senate Health Care Plan To Create Winners, Losers
Hospitals and drug makers like what they see in the early version of a health care plan that may evolve into the one that ends up on President Barack Obama's desk (The Associated Press).

A Look At Baucus Health Care Plan
A look at a health care overhaul plan from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., under discussion by six senators on the Finance Committee (The Associated Press).

Reform Opposition Is High But Easing
President Obama continues to face significant public resistance to his drive to initiate far-reaching changes to the country's health-care system, with widespread skepticism about central tenets of his plan, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll (The Washington Post).

Explaining The $900-Billion Healthcare Pricetag
In his speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama said his healthcare overhaul would cost "around $900 billion over 10 years" -- a hefty price tag but substantially less than the projected cost of some of the proposals lawmakers are considering (Los Angeles Times).

Obama's Healthcare Tax Plan: How Risky
President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms seek to use the tax code as both carrot and stick – to help low-income Americans afford health insurance and to impose some cost-cutting pressure on the industry (The Christian Science Monitor).

Cost-Saving Policy Forces New Kidney Transplant
Melissa J. Whitaker has one very compelling reason to keep up with the health care legislation being written in Washington: her second transplanted kidney (The New York Times).

Nonprofit Groups Upset At Exclusion From Health Bills
Nonprofit organizations say they are upset that Congress and the Obama administration have not addressed their rising health care costs in the various health care proposals being floated on Capitol Hill (The New York Times).

Leader Urges Union Leaders To Keep Up The Fight On Health Care Reform
John Sweeney, who is stepping down after 14 years at the helm of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., urged union leaders on Sunday to keep up the fight to reform health care and overhaul labor laws so workers can form unions more easily (The New York Times).

Kaiser Health News Tracked the weekend's headlines. Here are the highlights from Obama's Minneapolis rally, the tea party demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and the Sunday talk shows.

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