First Edition: October 23, 2009
The latest developments surrounding health reform's public option grab a lot of headlines today, including news regarding a version of the plan that allows states to opt not to participate in it.
Texas Dr. Antonio Falcon: We're Facing A Catastrophic Situation On The Border
Dr. Antonio Falcon, a physician in the border town of Rio Grande City, Texas, says the current efforts to overhaul the nation's health system will benefit both the Hispanic community, which has the highest rate of uninsured of any ethnic group; and Texas, which consistently fares among the worst for state health care measures. Still, he worries that lawmakers in Washington are failing to address several important border health issues, including illegal immigrants' health care (Kaiser Health News). See related KHN story detailing how health reform bills would - and would not - affect illegal immigrants.
Senate Leader Takes Risk Pushing Public Insurance Plan
In pushing to include a government-run health insurance plan in the health care bill, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is taking a calculated gamble that the 60 members of his caucus could support the plan if it included a way for states to opt out (The New York Times).
Lawmakers Warm To The Public Option
House Democrats are coalescing around an $871 billion health-care package that would create a government-run insurance plan to help millions of Americans afford coverage, raise taxes on the nation's richest families and impose an array of new regulations on private insurers, in part by stripping the industry of its long-standing exemption from federal antitrust laws (The Washington Post).
Offer To Let States Opt Out Of Health Plan Gains Support
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, stepping deeper into the health-care debate, put his weight Thursday behind a proposal that would create a new government-run insurance plan while giving states the option not to participate (The Wall Street Journal).
Reid Leaning Towards Public Option
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is leaning toward putting a public insurance option in the Senate health reform bill - a signal that Reid increasingly believes he can get the votes needed for a plan that would allow states to opt out of the program, senators said Thursday (Politico).
Snowe Rejects Public Option As Democrats Weigh Measure
Senator Olympia Snowe rejected the idea of backing the immediate creation of any government-run insurance program even as top Democrats are leaning toward including such a plan in U.S. health-care legislation (Bloomberg).
Whip Count Shows Democrats Lack Votes On 'Robust' Public Option For Healthcare
Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) drive for a public option in healthcare reform ran into turbulence Thursday when a survey of her caucus showed she needs more votes to pass such a bill (The Hill).
Healthcare For Christmas: Reid Under Pressure To Go Slow
The healthcare reform debate will be pushed deep into December and possibly beyond by a lengthy floor debate, several senators predicted Thursday (The Hill).
Democrats Push To End Insurers Antitrust Exemption
In the ongoing health care overhaul drama, the Obama administration and the health insurance industry have gone from uneasy allies to bitter adversaries. One result is that health insurers stand to lose a privilege their industry has enjoyed for the past 64 years: They, like Major League Baseball, have been exempt from federal antitrust laws. Congressional Democrats are now pushing to strip the health insurance industry of that exemption (NPR).
WellPoint Attacks Health Legislation
WellPoint Inc., the nation's largest health insurer by members, is striking out against proposed health-overhaul legislation with new data it presented to members of Congress Thursday (The Wall Street Journal).
In Massachusetts, Obama Won't Promote State's Plan
President Obama will travel Friday to Massachusetts, one of only two states to implement a universal health-care program similar to his ambitions for the entire country. But he does not plan to use the trip to make his case for far-reaching reform; he will tout clean energy and raise money for the Democratic governor (The Washington Post).
Accidents Of History Created U.S. Health System
If you want to understand how to fix today's health insurance system, you'd be smart to look first at how it was born. How did Americans end up with a system in which employers pay for our health insurance? After all, they don't pay for our groceries or our gas (NPR).
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