KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Trade Groups To Church Groups Share Evolving Views On Health Reform

Many groups fear, or are fiercely advocating for, provisions in Democratic health care reform proposals. Others are softening their stances on certain parts of the bills.  Here's a sampling from today's clippings.

Los Angeles Times: Antiabortion black ministers planned to announce their support for President Obama's health care agenda with a "full embrace of the government-run insurance option that white evangelical leaders and many Republicans have said opens the door to taxpayer-funded abortions" (Wallsten, 9/24).

Politico: A major union has softened its stance on whether it would support a bill without a public, government-run insurance option that it has previously supported. "A top-ranking SEIU official says that the powerful union could support a health care bill that doesn't include a public option - a striking contrast to the more hard-line stance on the issue taken by the new president of the AFL-CIO" (Martin, 9/24).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: A new poll of 200 small, Virginia businesses found that 54 percent do not offer insurance and 66 percent said health reform was important for restoring the economy. "We cannot let an honest conversation be obscured by death panels and the hyperbole," a business group leader said, noting that more than half of small business employees are uninsured or underinsured (Smith, 9/24).

Meanwhile, CQ Politics reports that "...while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it wants to cut costs and expand coverage, it is also sponsoring a 13-state advertising campaign attacking [Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.,]'s proposed tax on some employee health care plans and other fees" (Ota, 9/23).

Roll Call: Pharmaceutical lobbyists are warning an amendment to lower the rate the federal government pays for drugs for poor seniors could unravel their agreement with the White House and other Democrats to cut $80 billion in costs over the next ten years (Murray, 9/24).

Congress Daily: A letter from two major insurance industry groups -- America's Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association -- said changes made in mark-up sessions this week to the Senate Finance reform proposal could "undermine the shared goals of the broader reform effort" (Edney and Hunt, 9/24).

San Antonio Express-News: A veterans advocacy group, Hope4Heroes, was prompted by the overhaul's cost estimate of $900 million to cover 30 or 40 million uninsured people, to wonder why the Veterans Administration anticipated spending half that over the same time frame to care for only 6 million people. "Either the VA is wasting tens of millions of dollars or they're lying through their teeth (about health care)," the group's leader said (Reeder, 9/24).

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