KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: July 20, 2010

Today's headlines reflect more analysis and debate regarding continuing health reform implementation efforts.

Insuring Your Health: Out Of Network ER Visits Won't Cost More Under New Health Law
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "In the middle of a medical emergency, you don't have time to wonder whether the doctor who is reading your X-rays is in your insurance network. Starting this fall, changes under the health-care overhaul will take some of the worry out of emergency room visits. But the new provisions don't cover all the bases, and in some instances you may still get blindsided by unexpected costs" (Kaiser Health News).

Obama Resubmits Nomination
President Obama still wants the Senate to confirm Donald Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and he resubmitted his nomination to the Senate on Monday (Bloomberg News/The New York Times).

Committee Vote Tuesday On Kagan Court Nomination
Democrats hope to confirm Kagan before the Senate's August recess, well in time for the court term that begins in October. Also Monday, Kagan responded to GOP questions that she would weigh stepping aside from hearing high court challenges to the new health care law on a case-by-case basis. She was replying to a list of questions from committee Republicans about her involvement as solicitor general in defending the health law (The Associated Press).

Judiciary Expected To Approve Kagan For Supreme Court
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve Elena Kagan's confirmation to the Supreme Court on Tuesday over minimal Republican support (The Hill).

State Plans Clash With Health Pools
In the early implementation of health reform, states with the most progressive health policies are having a more difficult experience than others locking down a share of the $5 billion of federal funding for new high-risk pools (Politico).

Battle Continues Over Abortion In High-Risk Insurance Pools
The battle over whether the new federally-funded program to help people with pre-existing health conditions will pay for abortions just won't go away (NPR Shots Blog).

State Budget In For A Loss
New York's budget took another blow on Monday, as Congress pulled away from providing more than $1 billion in expected health-care funding. If the money doesn't show up soon, officials warn, there will be layoffs (The Wall Street Journal).

Doctors Slam Insurers Over Their Rankings
Doctor groups criticized growing efforts by health plans to steer patients toward certain physicians based on cost or quality, arguing in a letter to insurers that the rankings may be unreliable and unfair (The Wall Street Journal).

Insurers Tout Disease Management Programs, But Critics Are Wary
Venante Kotey is a stay-at-home mother in Dumfries. Bridget Hamilton-Roberts is a nurse more than 500 miles away in Atlanta. They've never met. But over the past year and a half, Hamilton-Roberts has become critical to Kotey's health -- all through conversations over the telephone (The Washington Post).

Gel Found To Reduce AIDS Risk In Women
A woman's risk of infection with the AIDS virus can be significantly cut by the use of a vaginal gel, a study has found. The research marks the first success in a 15-year search for a way women can independently protect themselves from contracting HIV infection through sex (The Washington Post).

Oakland Could Go To Pot In A Big Way With Four Proposed Factory Farms
Oakland could approve a plan Tuesday to set up four marijuana factory farms, a step that could usher in the era of Big Pot. The proposal is a testament to just how fast the marijuana counterculture is transforming into a corporate culture (Los Angeles Times).

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