KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: November 2, 2010

Today's headlines highlights news stories that include speculation about what will become of the health reform law after the election.

Insuring Your Health: Seniors Should Consider Changes In Medicare Part D Plans
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "If you're on Medicare Part D, this month marks the beginning of the annual enrollment time when beneficiaries can try to pick the plan that provides the best coverage for their prescription drugs. But even though switching plans may sometimes be a smart move, says Dan Mendelson, chief executive of Avalere Health, a consulting firm based in Washington, 'seniors are remarkably passive when it comes to changing plans'" (Kaiser Health News).

Reform's Future Hangs In Balance
While the health care reform law isn't on the ballot today, the results of the midterm elections will have vast implications on the debate over the Democrats' controversial legislation (Politico).

Analysis: Could GOP Win Truly Affect The Health Care Overhaul?
The question is not whether Republicans want to repeal the health-care overhaul. They do. … The question is whether they'll succeed (The Washington Post).

The Real Up-And-Coming Force Driving Election 2010? Seniors.
Seniors and baby boomers are more engaged in the election and more excited about voting than any preelection polling has found since 1994, according to the Pew Research Center. While it was considered to be youth that ushered in the Obama revolution, it is the older generation that is wielding more power now (The Christian Science Monitor).

Governors Races Hold Keys For Health Care
Don't fixate just on Congress. Health-care investors also should also look at the roughly three-dozen governorships up for grabs (The Wall Street Journal).

Mid-Term Voters In Three States Will Cast Ballots On Healthcare Insurance Mandate
Voters in three states will cast ballots Tuesday on the new healthcare law's individual mandate to buy insurance (The Hill's Healthwatch Blog).

Industry Seeks To Shape GOP Health-Care Agenda
Health-industry groups are pressing to roll back key provisions in the Obama administration's health-care overhaul if Republicans recapture the House, but they're also worried that the party could go too far (The Wall Street Journal).

Health Benefits Appear On Rise
The number of small businesses offering health insurance to workers is projected to increase sharply this year, recent data show, a shift that researchers attribute to a tax credit in the health law. Many small businesses, however, remain opposed to the law (The Wall Street Journal).

Pay For Results Health Insurance Can Bend The Curve
A s an angry and divided nation heads to the polls, here's a health care reform idea whose proponents say will bring both sides together: make people pay more for high-priced  medical interventions that may not be necessary or simply don't deliver results (The Fiscal Times).

Medicare Standards Are Too Strict, 2 Courts Find
Two federal courts have ruled that the Obama administration is using overly strict standards to determine whether older Americans are entitled to Medicare coverage of skilled nursing home care and home health care (The New York Times).

Low-Cost Dental Care Ignites Wide Debate
In remote northwestern Alaska, where dental decay is rampant, some of Stephanie Woods's patients suffered from toothaches for months on end - "raging toothaches with swelling," she said in an interview, "something that you or I would go that day and have it taken care of" (The New York Times).

Nurses Union Reports Unsafe Understaffing At Washington Hospital Center
The largest nurses union in the United States asked the D.C. Health Department on Monday to investigate nurse understaffing at Washington Hospital Center that the union says is jeopardizing patient care (The Washington Post).

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