First Edition: July 31, 2009
The count-down to recess continues with Senate leaders conceding that there will be no committee vote on reform before August while the House Dems wrestle with liberal displeasure over Blue-Dog deal.
Blue-Dog Deal Dogs Health Overhaul Effort
The House leadership's agreement with conservative Democrats on health care legislation drew fire from state officials worried about increased Medicaid costs and liberal lawmakers upset about a proposed reduction in subsidies for low-income families to buy insurance (Kaiser Health News).
House Health Care Bill Criticized As Panel Votes For Public Plan
The House Energy and Commerce Committee resumed work Thursday on major health care legislation, voting to establish a government-run health insurance plan, as top Republicans stepped up their criticism of the ambitious legislation (New York Times).
Liberal Democrats Threaten To Reject House Healthcare Compromise
After months of marching in line as senior Democrats worked with the White House to develop healthcare legislation, liberal lawmakers from solidly Democratic districts are threatening a revolt that could doom President Obama's bid to sign a major bill this year (LA Times).
GOP Senators Try To Slow Health Talks
In a setback for President Obama, Senate GOP negotiators sought Thursday to slow down health-care talks, likely delaying a long-awaited bipartisan deal until after the August recess (Washington Post).
No Senate Finance Bill Before Recess
A day after some unexpectedly positive signs for health care reform in Congress, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Thursday that his committee would be unable to complete work on a bill before the August recess (Politico).
Grassley Promises Not To Sell Out His Party
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, has assured his GOP colleagues that he will not sell them out and strike a private deal with Democrats on healthcare reform, according to Republican senators (The Hill).
Key Senate Panel Won't Vote Till Fall
Sen. Max Baucus Thursday ended any hope the influential Senate Finance Committee would take up bipartisan health legislation this summer, kicking the issue to the fall amid lingering divisions over a bill intended to provide insurance coverage to tens of millions of Americans (Wall Street Journal).
Proposed Tax Tests Obama On Campaign Vow
A proposed tax on generous health-insurance packages presents a challenge to President Barack Obama, who promised during his campaign not to raise taxes on the middle class (Wall Street Journal).
Congress Armed For Health Care Battle During Recess
The House of Representatives is shutting down for the August recess; senators leave after next week. And even though Congress won't be in session, that doesn't mean politics stops for the summer. In fact, August is when political battles can heat up. This congressional recess, health care will be on the front lines (National Public Radio).
Dems Launch August Healthcare Defense
House Democrats have started to pick up the pieces on healthcare reform, but they face a difficult month at home defending their legislation to skeptical constituents (The Hill).
Pols Vow To Fight For Health Care
An increasingly intense battle over health care legislation in Congress will now shift to states across the country as lawmakers begin returning home for a month-long recess and outside groups prepare to flood the airwaves (USA Today).
Pelosi's Biggest Healthcare Task: Holding Her Party Together
The massive healthcare overhaul has made managing the Democratic Party a much tougher assignment (Christian Science Monitor).
Checking In With Rep. Lois Capps: Public Option Is A 'Must Have'
As a registered nurse, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., has worked hard on health legislation throughout her 10 years in Congress. For example, she's introduced legislation to expand health screening, and improve public information on cancer and stroke (Kaiser Health News).
In House, Freshman Democrats Make A Stand
It took Representative Dan Maffei of New York two tries, $4 million and the retirement of a Republican incumbent to win his House seat last year. After all that, he wants to avoid becoming a one-term wonder because of an unpopular vote on health care (New York Times).
Blue Dog Democrats: Industry Is Generous To Influential Bloc
The group has set a record pace for fundraising this year through its political action committee, surpassing other congressional leadership PACs in collecting more than $1.1 million through June. More than half the money came from the health-care, insurance and financial services industries, marking a notable surge in donations from those sectors compared with earlier years, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity (Washington Post).
Blue Dogs Pulled In Two Directions
Battered in the polls, a desperate White House is hailing the bargain as a way to preserve momentum before the August recess. But for all the brave talk of change, it mostly illustrates that great constant of American politics: the relentless pressure on Southern, white Democratic lawmakers to steer a course between conservative elites at home and their often lower-income constituents (Politico).
Doctors Reap Benefits By Doing Own Tests
In focusing on health-care reform this year, President Obama pledged that a revamped system would hold down exploding costs. But none of the players -- Congress, the administration or the array of interests involved in the process -- has offered a clear path to that goal. And efforts to control medical practices that have driven up expenses, including physician "self-referrals," underscore how difficult it is to alter entrenched patterns (Washington Post).
Routine GI Health Needs Not Met
The number of Army medical centers and clinics that provide timely access to routine medical care has hit a five-year low, Army records show, often forcing soldiers and their families to seek treatment off base (USA Today).
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