KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: March 24, 2010

Today's headlines note the celebrations surrounding President Obama's signature of the Senate's health reform bill -- making it the law of the land -- and the strategies being developed by health overhaul opponents to block progress with an accompanying "fix it" bill.   

Final Health Care Package Shaped By Changing Political Landscape
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau writes: "In the year it took Congress to write and pass a health care overhaul, turbulent political shifts - including the Democrats' loss of Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat and the rise of the Tea Party movement - forced critical compromises on the scope of legislation" (Kaiser Health News).

Last Minute Deal On Medicare Highlights Dilemma On Curbing Costs
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey reports on an example that illustrates the challenges of curbing health care costs: "A last-minute deal to win votes for the health care overhaul underscores the political dilemma for Congress as it tries to reduce health care costs" (Kaiser Health News).

Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Bill, With A Flourish
With the strokes of 20 pens, President Obama signed his landmark health care overhaul - the most expansive social legislation enacted in decades - into law on Tuesday, saying it enshrines "the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care" (The New York Times).

President Obama Signs Healthcare Overhaul Into Law
With the strokes of 22 pens, a buoyant President Obama on Tuesday signed into law the most far-reaching healthcare overhaul in two generations, vindicating a yearlong struggle on which he had staked his presidency (Los Angeles Times).

Obama Signs Health-Care Reform Bill
His replies of "Thank you, thank you" were barely audible over the applause, whistles and shouts that filled the East Room on Tuesday, and when the noise finally faded, President Obama nodded to history in summing up the moment and the celebration unfolding before him (The Washington Post).

Obama Signs Landmark Health Bill
President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health-care system, as the yearlong political brawl over the measure entered a new phase that might only be settled in this fall's elections (The Wall Street Journal).

Obama Signs Healthcare Into Law
President Barack Obama signed healthcare reform into law on Tuesday, capping a legislative victory Democrats have sought for decades (The Hill).

Law Signed With Pride As Foes Work To Undo It
Surrounded by emotional Democrats and proud members of the Kennedy family, President Obama yesterday signed into law a huge health coverage expansion, beaming with the same expression of historic triumph that he displayed on his own election night (The Boston Globe).

Economic Scene: In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality
For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago (The New York Times).

Obama Signs Health Care Bill: Who Won't Be Covered?
As Obama signs health care bill, attention turns to questions of coverage. In all, some 23 million Americans will still lack insurance in 2019, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate (Christian Science Monitor).

How C-SPAN Strategy Aided Final Push
The White House believes Obama's decision to convene the summit was an opening for a do-over on several key points – a chance to give the bill more transparency and more credibility and to move Obama back to a central role after a year in which he ceded the process to Congress (Politico).

Poll Shows Health Care Plan Gains Favor
More Americans now favor than oppose the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds - a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against the legislation (USA Today).

Senate Begins Debate On Health-Care Bill
The U.S. Senate began debate Tuesday on legislation combining the last pieces to the Democratic overhaul of the health-care system and a shake-up to the student-loan industry, commencing what promises to be a contentious few days (The Wall Street Journal).

With Senate 'Fixes' Bill, GOP Sees Last Chance To Change Health-Care Reform
Hours after President Obama signed sweeping health-care legislation into law Tuesday, the Senate began a debate on another piece of the package, giving Republicans one last chance to alter the bill before it begins to transform insurance coverage for millions of Americans (The Washington Post).

Senate Adjourns In First Day Of Healthcare Reconciliation Debate
The Senate adjourned late Tuesday night after a chaotic seven hours of debate on a landmark healthcare reform reconciliation bill, with Democratic leaders inching towards a final vote by the end of the week (The Hill).

Republicans On Health Care Fight: 'It's Not Over'
Over the past six months, Republicans used the White House push for a health care overhaul as a way to bring build grass-roots energy and rebuild enthusiasm among activists demoralized by the Democratic sweep back in 2008 (NPR).

Republicans Mobilize Healthcare Opposition
Following their decisive healthcare defeat in the House, Republicans on Monday prepared a three-pronged effort to wage a continuing fight against the bill -- beginning with a drive this week to stall follow-up legislation in the Senate (Los Angeles Times).

For Many Interest Groups, Health-Care Bill's Passage Isn't The End
Interest groups that spent the past year fighting over President Obama's health-care overhaul are quickly transforming themselves for battle in a new arena, working to sway the law to their benefit while helping the lawmakers who supported them during the bruising legislative debate (The Washington Post).

Gap In Health Care Law's Protection For Children
Hours after President Barack Obama signed historic health care legislation, a potential problem emerged. Administration officials are now scrambling to fix a gap in highly touted benefits for children (The Associated Press).

Health Bill May Exempt Top Hill Staffers
The health care reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama Tuesday requires members of Congress and their office staffs to buy insurance through the state-run exchanges it creates -- but it may exempt staffers who work for congressional committees or for party leaders in the House and Senate (Politico).

Hold Pickle? Maybe, But Not The Calorie Count Under New Law
A requirement tucked into the nation's massive health care bill will make calorie counts impossible for thousands of restaurants to hide and difficult for consumers to ignore. More than 200,000 fast-food and other chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards, and even drive-throughs (The Boston Globe).

Health Law Adds Coverage Red Tape
The health care bill President Obama signed yesterday will probably force thousands of Massachusetts residents who receive subsidized health insurance through the state's insurance exchange to eventually write two checks each month to pay for their coverage, to comply with strict new rules for abortion coverage (The Boston Globe).

Ted Kennedy Is Celebrated For His Longtime Support Of Health-Care Reform
While President Obama gathered with lawmakers for a bill-signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday afternoon, dozens of others came to commemorate health-care legislation here, on a quiet hillside in Section 45 of Arlington National Cemetery (The Washington Post).

U.S. Drug Move Said To Deprive Elderly
A Senate panel will hear complaints on Wednesday from nursing home operators, doctors, nurses and pharmacists that a Drug Enforcement Administration narcotics crackdown has left seriously ill patients crying for pain relief. (The New York Times).

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