KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: February 23, 2011

Today's headlines include reports about the latest court ruling regarding legal challenges to the health law.

Kaiser Health News: Pa. Closing State Health Plan For Low-Income Adults
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jenny Gold, reporting in collaboration with NPR, reports: "When Paula Michele Boyle first received the letter earlier this month explaining that her health insurance coverage was being terminated, she took it personally, thinking maybe the insurer had discovered something in her history to make her ineligible.  But then the Philadelphia resident read on and realized that it wasn't just her; the entire program, Pennsylvania's state-funded health plan for low-income adults, was about to be cancelled" (Gold, 2/23).

Kaiser Health News: Sebelius Squad's Mission: Medicaid Savings
Kaiser Health News staff writer Marilyn Werber Serafini reports: "The Obama administration is deploying squadrons of in-house experts to help budget-strapped states figure out how to save money on Medicaid, the health program for the poor that has been the source of rising tensions between state capitals and Washington" (Werber Serafini, 2/22). This story also appeared in The Washington Post.

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Republicans Take Steps To Defund Health Law Implementation, Planned Parenthood
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with KFF's Jackie Judd about the Republican efforts to defund health law implementation as well as funding for Planned Parenthood. In addition, as part of legislation to keep the government funded through March 4, House Republicans passed a series of amendments aimed at defunding implementation of the health care law (2/22). Watch the video.

The New York Times: A Third Judge Validates Health Care Overhaul Law
A third federal judge upheld the constitutionality of the Obama health care law on Tuesday, reinforcing the divide in the lower courts as the case moves toward its first hearings on the appellate level (Sack, 2/22).

The Wall Street Journal:  Judge Upholds Health Law's Coverage Requirement
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday evening became the third U.S. trial judge to uphold the constitutionality of the new health-care law's requirement that individuals maintain health coverage or pay a penalty (Kendall, 2/22).

NPR SHOTS Blog: GOP Counts The Ways To Defund Health Law
Did House Republicans keep their promise to defund the health care overhaul as part of their bill to cut more than $60 billion from the federal budget for the rest of the fiscal year? You betcha. ... Now you may be thinking, well, this particular bill isn't going anywhere, since the Senate has already said it won't vote for cuts as deep as the House is demanding ... But it's worth a look at some of these other GOP health amendments, not only to get a peek at the party's strategy going forward for the rest of the year, but to get an idea where Republicans think the health measure's soft spots are that could win over some wavering Democrats (Rovner, 2/22).

The New York Times: Cuomo Adviser Takes Pay From Health Industry
When Andrew M. Cuomo married Kerry Kennedy in 1990, Jeffrey A. Sachs served as an usher. When Mr. Cuomo's daughter Michaela was born, he asked Mr. Sachs to be her godfather. When his marriage fell apart years later, Mr. Cuomo stayed in Mr. Sachs's triplex near the United Nations (Confessore, 2/22).

The Wall Street Journal: Budget Pushes Christie's Goals
A year after making a name for himself by slashing spending, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie presented a $29.4 billion budget on Tuesday that makes nips and tucks to programs-notably Medicaid-but puts much of the state in a holding pattern (Fleisher, 2/23).

The Wall Street Journal Venture Capital Dispatch: IT Companies Stand To Gain From Health Care's 'Y2K' Problem
Some venture-backed information-technology companies that serve hospitals and health insurers are getting a boost from what analysts call the "Y2K" of health care. The problem is caused by a coming change in the coding system used to bill for medical procedures. Most industrialized nations, such as Canada, France and the U.K., switched to the newest system, ICD-10, years ago, but the U.S. lags behind. U.S. health-care providers and payers can't wait much longer, however, since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has mandated that they move from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013 (Gormley, 2/22).

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