First Edition: March 5, 2010
After a week of stepped-up health reform activity, today's headlines highlight that the White House is intensifying its final push by setting a deadline for congressional action. Meanwhile, though, the Democratic party continues to face rifts within its own caucus. Abortion coverage issues again posing challenges to securing Democratic votes.
Bunny's Last Days: When Living Will Isn't Enough
As part of Kaiser Health News' special series on end-of-life care, reporter Susan Brink details certain circumstances related to end-of-life care and living wills. "When 87-year-old Bunny Olenick suffered a massive stroke in December 2008, doctors told her family there was no chance she could recover fully, although her limitations probably wouldn't be known for months. A neurologist told her sons that if she did survive, her ability to communicate would be diminished, and she would likely need around-the-clock care for the rest of her life. What would Bunny want them to do? (Kaiser Health News).
Related KHN content: Living Wills Often Ignored
KHN Column: The President's Health Plan Won't Cut The Budget
In his latest column for Kaiser Health News, James Capretta writes: "One of the central arguments President Barack Obama has made on behalf of the health care plan he wants Congress to approve in coming weeks is that it would begin to address the problem of rising costs and thus also begin to bring down future federal budget deficits" (Kaiser Health News).
Obama Takes Health Care Deadline to Democrats
President Obama, beginning a full-court press for his health care overhaul, met Thursday with insurance industry executives and House Democrats as party leaders on Capitol Hill struggled to figure out whether they could meet the president's timetable for enacting legislation within a few weeks (The New York Times).
Obama Intensifies Health-Care Efforts
An aide to President Obama urged lawmakers on Thursday to make substantial progress on his health-care plan before he leaves on a foreign trip in mid-March, as Obama summoned wavering House Democrats to the White House for a private sales pitch (The Washington Post).
Pressure Mounts For/Against Healthcare Bill
As President Obama pushes for a prompt up or down vote on his health initiative, lobbyists and activist groups on both sides of the issue have launched grass-roots and high-dollar advertising campaigns on the roughly two dozen members of Congress who may be the final swing votes on the controversial issue (Los Angeles Times).
Ten People Who Could Decide Health Care Reform
At this point, a yearlong health reform effort will live or die in Congress by a few votes that go one way or the other, all in the next few weeks (Politico).
Opponents Mount Full-Court Press On Health Bill
President Obama and the Democrats have decided to try to pass their version of health care legislation on a simple majority vote. But maintaining even a narrow majority won't be simple in the House, where many members are already looking ahead to tough reelection battles in November (NPR).
Dems Have Trouble With Health Care Rifts
Some oppose abortion, some are worried about premiums, and some have zeroed in on taxes. But House Democrats do have this in common: They're all being heavily courted to support President Obama's health care legislation (USA Today).
Democratic Leaders Working To Win Over Abortion Opponents For Health-Care Reform
As President Obama makes his final plea for a health-care overhaul, Democratic leaders in Congress are embarking on a delicate strategy to win over abortion opponents, a gambit that could determine whether the legislation becomes law (The Washington Post).
Abortion Coverage Dispute Divides House Democrats
On the other side of the obstacle course that President Barack Obama must clear to get his health care overhaul, a final trapdoor is lurking: the divisive politics of abortion (The Associated Press).
Democratic Abortion Foe On Health Care Measure
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) says he is concerned the health care bill could contain what he deems lax language on abortion. But he says he's waiting to see the final language in the bill before he decides on his vote. Stupak says he won't support a measure that changes current law on federal funding of abortions (NPR).
Bishops Offer Help With Senate
The Roman Catholic bishops signaled Thursday that if agreement is reached with House leaders on anti-abortion language, the church would work to get the votes needed to protect the provisions in the Senate - and thereby advance the shared goal with Democrats of health care reform (Politico).
Liberals Grill Obama On Health Reform
House liberals pressed President Barack Obama on healthcare reform Thursday and left the White House without making any commitments to vote for the final bill (The Hill).
Will Obama's Healthcare Plan Reduce Costs
As President Obama tries this week to put his healthcare plan on a fast track toward passage, he's still struggling to persuade Americans that the plan will reduce costs (The Christian Science Monitor).
Health Insurers Challenged To Justify Rate Increases To The Public
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the nation's leading health insurers Thursday to justify publicly a spate of double-digit premium hikes that have infuriated consumers in at least half a dozen states (Los Angeles Times).
White House Confronts Insurers On Premiums
The government's top health official summoned health-insurance chief executives to the White House Thursday and told them they need to disclose more data justifying sharp premium increases (The Wall Street Journal).
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