First Edition: December 11, 2009
Today's headlines track the fits and starts of the Senate's health bill debate, including moderates' concern regarding the recent Medicare expansion deal and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's positive reaction to it. Meanwhile, floor action appears snagged on a drug importation amendment.
Frustrated Workers And Employers Anxious For COBRA Extension
Congress faces mounting pressure to decide the future of a popular but temporary health insurance subsidy program -- and not just from unemployed Americans who would benefit (Kaiser Health News).
Health Care Debate: Hope And Skepticism On The Front Lines
The men and women at the front lines of the national health care debate - who run hospitals, nursing homes, community health care centers and private practices - say they are hopeful, but wary, about the changes that might follow if Congress passes legislation to overhaul the health care system (USA Today).
Pelosi Backs Medicare Buy-In Plan In Senate Health-Care Deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a proposal Thursday that would allow people in late middle age to buy insurance through Medicare, helping to sustain an idea that sprang unexpectedly from the Senate this week (The Washington Post).
Pelosi Indicates Support For Senate's Medicare Deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed support Thursday for a Senate Democratic proposal to expand Medicare, raising prospects that the two chambers of Congress can work out differences on health-care legislation (The Wall Street Journal).
Senate Dems May Change Health Care Compromise
Senate Democrats are considering changing a proposed expansion of Medicare to address complaints from doctors and hospitals and defray costs for consumers, officials said Thursday, two days after party leaders hailed it as part of a breakthrough for health care (The Associated Press).
Moderates Uneasy With Medicare Plan
Senate moderates who are the linchpin to passing a health care reform bill raised fresh worries Thursday about a proposed Medicare expansion, complicating Majority Leader Harry Reid's hopes of putting together a filibuster-proof majority for the legislation in the coming days (Politico).
High Premiums In Senate Democrats' Health Plan
Senate Democrats have provided few details about their latest health care proposal, but this much seems clear: Anyone who wants to buy the same health benefits as members of Congress, or to buy coverage through Medicare, should be prepared to fork over a large chunk of cash (The New York Times).
Senate Tied In Knots Over Proposal To Allow Imported Drugs
Debating an overhaul of the health care system, the Senate found itself tied in knots on Thursday over a bipartisan proposal to allow people to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and certain other countries (The New York Times).
Senate Health Debate Hits Snag Over Imported Drugs
Expanding access to low-cost prescription drugs from overseas might look like a sure winner in the effort to make healthcare more affordable. President Obama supports the idea, as do many Democrats and several Republicans (Los Angeles Times).
Pharmaceutical Deal Holding Up Bipartisan Health Amendment
A deal between the White House and the pharmaceutical industry is holding up a bipartisan amendment to allow the importation of cheaper prescription drugs from abroad, according to a member of the Senate Democratic leadership (The Hill).
Health Care Loophole Would Allow Coverage Limits
A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates (The Associated Press).
Unions Pressure Democrats On Health Insurance Tax
Much of the health care debate in the Senate has so far focused only on a few issues: Medicare, abortion and a government-sponsored public option. Union members on Thursday tried get lawmakers to focus on their top issue: opposition to a tax on high-cost health plans (NPR).
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