KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: September 3, 2009

In today's headlines, President Obama announces that he will address a joint session of Congress next week in an effort to regain control of the health care reform debate.

Obama's Health Care Dilemma Evokes Memories Of 1974
As soaring health care costs threatened to push medical care out of reach for many families, the president offered an ambitious new plan to curb the growth in spending and extend health coverage to every American. But he faced fierce opposition from Capitol Hill. Sound like the current political wrangling? Well, that was 1974 and the president was Richard M. Nixon (Kaiser Health News).

Obama Relaunches Health Bid
President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, pressing lawmakers to accept new formulas for a politically charged overhaul of the health-care system (The Wall Street Journal).

Obama Aides Aim To Simplify And Scale Back Health Bills
President Obama plans to address a joint session of Congress next week in an effort to rally support for health care legislation as White House officials look for ways to simplify and scale back the major Democratic bills, lower the cost and drop contentious but nonessential elements (The New York Times).

President To Flesh Out His Vision In Speech
After spending weeks on the defensive in the fight over his top legislative priority, President Obama will attempt to regain the initiative in the health-care debate with an address to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday night (The Washington Post).

Obama's Speech: High Risk, High Reward
Whenever Barack Obama has faced political crisis, he's rescued himself with a big, sweeping, earth-shifter of a speech. But if soaring oratory has often been Obama's saving grace, the health care reform address he's scheduled to deliver to a joint session of Congress next week is his riskiest effort to date – a high-reward gamble with significant potential downsides (Politico).

Obama's Big Gamble On Healthcare Debate
President Obama's announcement that he will take his case for revamping healthcare before a joint session of Congress next week reflects a decision to go "all in" politically, laying his prestige on the line for the defining domestic issue of his young presidency (Los Angeles Times).

With Speech, Obama Aims To Retake Control Of Healthcare
After a rocky August, President Obama is hitting the reset button on healthcare strategy (The Christian Science Monitor).

Wrong Turns: How Obama's Health-Care Push Went Astray
Two overarching problems have bedeviled the Democrats' health-care push. One is the difficulty of persuading people who already have health insurance that the plan offers something for them. Polls suggest many Americans are happy with the coverage they have (The Wall Street Journal).

What A Difference An Election Makes: GOP Now Likes Polls
Republicans are using ammunition they scorned for years to attack President Barack Obama's proposed health care overhaul: polls (McClatchy).

Democrats Go On The Road To Revive Health Care Push
The 11-city tour to rally the faithful for President Obama's health care plan has been tapping the party's inner Hamlet. How much should liberal Democrats compromise with Republicans, and with moderates in their own ranks? How strongly should they cling to the notion of a public-option health provider? And perhaps most importantly, can people like Ilene Weiss be roused, as she was during Mr. Obama's campaign for the White House last year, to get out and volunteer? (The New York Times).

Conservatives See Need For Serious Health Debate
The roiling debate over health care this summer has included a host of accusations from opponents of the plan that have been so specious that many in the mainstream news media have flatly labeled them false (The New York Times).

Minnesota Experiment Puts Patient Health First
In the health care debate, many agree that the payment system for doctors and hospitals doesn't work. They're paid for each procedure they perform, giving them a perverse incentive to perform more (NPR).

Records Of Health Worker Misdeeds Kept Secret
Twenty-two years ago, the federal government started keeping a list of nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists and pharmacy aides who've been disciplined by state licensing boards. It's called the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (NPR). 

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