First Edition: November 20, 2009
Headlines today are focusing on Saturday's Senate health bill vote as well as how some of the specific provisions within that legislation are playing.
A Consumers' Guide To The Health Reform Bills
The health care overhaul debate in Congress now centers on two bills: the House measure and the Senate Democrats' version unveiled Wednesday. They differ in important ways. KHN staff writers provide answers to questions about the bills (Kaiser Health News).
Plastic Surgeons Cry Foul Over 'Botax' Proposal In Senate Health Bill
KHN staff writer Phil Galewitz reports on a provision in the recently released Senate health bill. Here's what he writes: "If you're considering Botox to erase frown lines or liposuction to get rid of love handles, you might want to move fast. The "botax" may be on the way. The $848 billion health care bill unveiled Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., includes a 5 percent tax on cosmetic procedures and surgeries" (Kaiser Health News).
Senate Health Care Bill Faces Crucial First Vote
The Senate version of sweeping health legislation would cover five million fewer people than a companion bill passed by the House, but it would cost less, in part because Senate Democratic leaders felt they had to win support from fiscally conservative members of their party (The New York Times).
Reid Pushes For Votes On Health-Care Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid worked Thursday to nail down the votes needed to move to a final debate on health-care legislation, but a tepid assessment of the public insurance plan he crafted emerged as the latest potential obstacle to the passage of the far-reaching changes (The Washington Post).
Reid Builds Healthcare Anticipation: 'We'll Find Out When Votes Are Taken'
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is not making any bold predictions before Saturday's vote to proceed on healthcare reform (The Hill).
Reid, Dems Stay Cautiously Optimistic
He doesn't have the votes - yet - but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats projected confidence they could clear the first hurdle for health reform, a rare Saturday vote to open debate on the sweeping measure (Politico).
Republicans Blast 'Bait And Switch' Health Bill
Digging in for a long struggle, Republican senators and governors assailed the Democrats' newly minted health care legislation Thursday as a collection of tax increases, Medicare cuts and heavy new burdens for deficit-ridden states (The Associated Press).
Democrats Risk Taxing The Wealthy For Healthcare
Amid all of the uncertainties about how healthcare legislation would affect each American, one thing is clear: The more affluent would pay higher taxes (Los Angeles Times).
Medicare Tax On High Earners And Other Levies Stir Debate
The Senate health-care bill does without a new surtax on the wealthy that House Democrats' legislation relies on to offset costs of overhauling the system. But Senate Democrats have their own taxes that are stirring controversy and likely to be at the center of debate on the floor (The Wall Street Journal).
Reid, As Legislative Tactician, Takes Ownership Of Health Care Overhaul
The majority leader's deep personal involvement in assembling the overhaul of the health care system - now on the brink of a historic Senate debate - has, for better or worse, conferred ownership of the legislation on Mr. Reid, Democrat of Nevada (The New York Times).
Five Questions That Could Decide Fate Of Healthcare Reform Bill
Washington's struggle over healthcare reform President Obama's top domestic priority now is within days of a historic turning point (The Christian Science Monitor).
Hispanics Blame Rahm For Immigrant Ban
Hispanic lawmakers say an old adversary, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, has his fingerprints all over a push to prohibit illegal immigrants from buying health insurance plans in a new market for people who don't get insurance through their employers (Politico).
Health Care's 'Public Option' Would Cover Little Of The Population
A proposed government-run health insurance program, among the most divisive issues in the health care debate, would cover less than 1.5% of the population, new estimates show (USA Today).
Plastic Surgeons Fight Proposed Excise Tax
Vanity was an easy target as the White House and Senate Democrats turned to a proposal to tax breast implants, tummy tucks, and wrinkle-smoothing injections as they search for ways to pay for the health care overhaul (The Boston Globe).
Pelosi: Abortion Issue Won't Sink Health Care Bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday predicted that she can corral enough moderate Democrats to guarantee passage of health care overhaul legislation - even if it doesn't contain a controversial House proposal that would expand abortion limits (NPR).
Business Sours On Overhaul As Legislation Veers To Left
Chances of business supporting the Obama administration's health overhaul are fading fast, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's bill took a liberal turn (The Wall Street Journal).
Free Clinics Tied To Health Care Debate
A nonprofit group's campaign to hold free medical clinics for the uninsured in three states is turning into a not-so-subtle jab at moderate Democrats to support their party's efforts to reform health care (The Associated Press).
House Votes To Cancel Medicare Pay Cuts For Doctors
The House did Thursday what the Senate couldn't do a month ago: pass a bill to cancel a 21 percent pay cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients that's set to take effect Jan. 1 without legislative intervention (NPR).
House Passes Medicare 'Doc Fix,' 243-183
The House overwhelmingly approved a physician repayment bill to permanently fix the way doctors who cover Medicare patients are reimbursed (The Hill).
Culture Clash In Medicine
This week, the science of medicine bumped up against the foundations of American medical consumerism: that more is better, that saving a life is worth any sacrifice, that health care is a birthright (The New York Times).
California Adopts Stricter Rules For Drug Abusers In The Health Industry
In a major shift, California will impose tough new standards on drug-abusing health professionals, strictly scrutinizing those in treatment and immediately removing from practice anyone who relapses (Los Angeles Times).
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