KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: November 5, 2009 – House Vote Saturday?

Today's headlines center on the House health overhaul expected Saturday vote -- what some are calling a potentially 'historic moment' for Democrats.

Could Delays Jeopardize Health Overhaul?
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Eric Pianin report on how Congressional Democrats' slipping timeline could impact health reform. "Passing a health care overhaul bill might be one of the hardest things Congress has ever attempted. But waiting until next year might jeopardize a top priority for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress" (11/5).

House Dems In Final Push On Health Care
The House is steaming toward a historic vote on President Barack Obama's remake of the U.S. health care system, with Democratic leaders increasingly confident and the powerful seniors' lobby AARP about to get on board (The Associated Press).

House Expected To Vote On Health Bill Saturday
House leaders put in motion the machinery to hold a rare Saturday vote on the most far-reaching expansion of the health-care system in more than 40 years (The Washington Post).

House Democrats Push For Saturday Health Vote
House Democratic leaders are pushing for a Saturday vote on their sweeping health-care bill, but they are struggling to win over shaky rank-and-file members who could hold up its passage (The Wall Street Journal).

Dems Want To Seize Historic Moment
Health care is big for House Democrats: big like Social Security in the '30s and civil rights in the '60s, big like the war stories retold now in party caucuses as lawmakers grapple with the floor vote that is just days away (Politico).

Public's View Of Health Care Overhaul Has Familiar Ring
Americans' opinion of the health care proposals now before Congress is eerily similar to public sentiment about the Clinton health reform initiatives in 1994, according to an analysis published online yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine - and that may not bode well for Democrats (The Boston Globe).

Dems Tackle Hot-Button Issues Before Saturday Healthcare Vote
The House is headed toward a rare Saturday evening vote as Democratic leaders scramble to placate party factions threatening to defeat the healthcare bill over hot button issues such as spending, immigration and abortion (The Hill).

Haggling Over Abortion Deal In Health Bill
House Democratic leaders struggled Wednesday to strike a deal that would restrict the use of federal money to pay for abortions under sweeping health care legislation headed for debate on the House floor this week (The New York Times).

This Weekend's Vote Poses A Defining Moment For Blue Dogs
Blue Dog Democrats face a dilemma this weekend: Should they oppose legislation they believe is flawed, or move the bill out of the House in the hopes of it changing in conference? (The Hill).

Democrats' Plan To Help 'Uninsurables' Questioned
You're afraid your cancer is back, and a health insurance company just turned you down. Under the health care bills in Congress, you could apply for coverage through a new high-risk pool that President Barack Obama promises would immediately start serving patients with pre-existing medical problems. Wait a second. Read the fine print. You may have to be uninsured for six months to qualify (The Associated Press).

Surgeons Oppose Senate Healthcare Bill
The American College of Surgeons and 19 other groups representing surgeons delivered a letter Wednesday stating their opposition to the Senate's healthcare reform legislation (The Hill).

The Work-Up: To Their Own Devices
When makers of heart defibrillators wanted Medicare to vastly expand the types of patients eligible to receive the devices, which can cost upward of $25,000, agency officials were skeptical. It was not clear how many of those patients would actually need a defibrillator, a device that can deliver a life-saving shock to restore a faltering heart to normal rhythm (The New York Times).

How To Size Up College Health Coverage
As more parents lose their jobs-and their insurance-in the recession, more college students are having to scramble for health care (The Wall Street Journal).

Budget Analysts Say GOP Bill Would Do Little To Expand Health Insurance Coverage
The long-awaited Republican entry in the health care debate received its assessment late Wednesday from congressional budget analysts, who concluded that the proposal would barely dent the ranks of the uninsured (The Washington Post).

House Republicans Offer Alternative Healthcare Proposal
After months of criticizing Democratic healthcare proposals from the sidelines, House Republicans this week stepped up efforts to promote their own plan and challenge critics' efforts to portray the GOP as the "party of no." Unlike the Democrats' strategy of trying to provide near-universal coverage and force other major changes to the insurance system, the Republican approach is an incremental one that would do far less to reduce the ranks of the uninsured. It would instead give priority to controlling healthcare costs (Los Angeles Times).

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