First Edition: December 10, 2010
In today's health policy headlines, reports about the Obama administration lawyer charged with defending the health law as well as the latest action in this lame duck Congress.
KHN: New Rules Spell Out Protections For Consumers With 'Limited Benefit' Insurance Policies
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby reports: "At least 1.5 million people will soon receive notices from employers or insurers that their health plans fall short of meeting a key standard in the new health overhaul law and by how much" (Appleby, 12/9).
The New York Times: Long Road For Lawyer Defending The Health Care Law
Memo to the third floor at Justice Department headquarters: Ian Gershengorn will soon be pacing the corridors again. There has been a lot of pacing lately. Since March, it has fallen to Mr. Gershengorn, 43, a deputy assistant attorney general, to defend the Obama administration against nearly two dozen legal challenges to the president's health care overhaul (Sack, 12/9).
The New York Times: House Passes Bill Averting Cut In Medicare Reimbursements
The House gave final approval on Thursday to a bill that would avert a 25 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors by freezing reimbursement rates at current levels until the end of next year (Pear, 12/9).
Politico: Fox News: Avoid 'Public Option' In Health Care Debate
Fox News executives told the network's journalists to avoid referring to the "public option" when discussing Democrats' proposals for a government-run health insurance plan, according to internal e-mails released Thursday (Epstein, 12/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Senate Vote Falls Short On 9/11 Bill
Senate Republicans on Thursday voted down a bill to provide health care and compensation to sick Ground Zero workers, a major setback for one of New York's biggest legislative priorities and one that left the bill's supporters scrambling for one more chance against shrinking odds (Barrett, 12/10).
The New York Times: After Aetna, Pondering Health Care
When tensions between the Obama administration and the nation's health insurers were at their highest earlier this year, Ronald A. Williams, the chief executive of Aetna, stood out as one of the few industry voices that still resonated within the White House (Abelson, 12/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Community Health Makes Bid For Tenet
In a sign of how the health-care overhaul is reshaping the economics of medicine, Community Health Systems Inc. made a $3.3 billion unsolicited offer for smaller rival Tenet Healthcare Corp. in a deal that would create the country's largest hospital operator as measured by number of facilities (Chon, Das and Adamy, 12/10).
NPR: Youth In Nursing Homes Seek Alternative Care
In a hotel ballroom outside Atlanta, a young man glides his wheelchair to the front of the meeting room. With his twisted hand he hits a button on a small gray box attached to the front of the chair and a machine speaks for him (Shapiro, 12/9).
The Wall Street Journal: City Vows To Fill Potential Ambulance Void
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city will add more ambulances if private hospitals decide to stop providing ambulance service because of a new fee the city plans to impose. But the mayor on Thursday predicted that the hospitals will pay up because they would stand to lose patients and revenue if they get out of the ambulance business (Saul, 12/9).
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