First Edition: September 11, 2009
Today's headlines are full of second-day stories about the policies and politics involved in President Obama's Wednesday night address to Congress.
Living In A Medical Home
When Rita Pinard learned she had diabetes three years ago, she never imagined she would end up in an ambitious experiment that has become part of the national health care debate. Pinard's case is part of a state effort to improve care and reduce costs for the chronically ill. Under the approach, primary care doctors get extra money to put together teams, which might include nutritionists and behavior specialists, to treat people with illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. They get bonuses if their patients show progress. This coordinated approach, called "medical homes," is being tried in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Maryland and other states, and is a major issue in the health care overhaul being debated in Washington (Kaiser Health News).
Ohio Health Care Lobbyist Pays $30,000 A Year For Health Insurance
When Columbus, Ohio, health care lobbyist Rick Colby writes his monthly check of $2,556 for his family's health insurance, his hand trembles (Kaiser Health News).
Children Gain Insurance, Adults Lose In 2008
More children had health insurance last year, partially offsetting a growing number of adults who lacked coverage as the troubled economy helped push insurance out of reach for many workers (Kaiser Health News).
Last Year's Poverty Rate Was Highest In 12 Years
In the recession, the nation's poverty rate climbed to 13.2 percent last year, up from 12.5 percent in 2007, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Census Bureau. The report also documented a decline in employer-provided health insurance and in coverage for adults (The New York Times).
Government Becoming Insurer For More People
More people are getting their health insurance from the government as the number of individuals with coverage from an employer declines, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau (The Wall Street Journal).
Obama's Speech Is Seen As Unifying Democrats
President Obama's speech on health care failed to bridge the gulf with Republicans, but Democrats said on Thursday that the president had largely succeeded in unifying his own party by making a cogent, persuasive pitch to the American public and by casting his plan to overhaul the health care system as a political and moral imperative (The New York Times).
Obama's Healthcare Speech Helps Unify Democrats
A day after President Obama went to Capitol Hill to renew his call for a sweeping healthcare overhaul, Democrats on Thursday rallied behind him, giving important momentum to the push for legislation this year (Los Angeles Times).
Barack Obama Eases Democrats' Doubts
If President Barack Obama's main goal Wednesday was to stitch his party back together on health care reform, there were tentative signs Thursday that his speech to Congress was doing just that (Politico).
Some Democrats Still Undecided On Obama Plan
Although Democratic leaders in Congress praised his remarks and made fresh pledges to approve a health care bill, President Obama in his speech Wednesday night did not immediately win over some moderate Democrats who have expressed reservations and who would be key to winning final passage (The Boston Globe).
Obama Tries To Build Momentum On Healthcare Reform
Fresh off his big healthcare speech, President Obama is trying to build momentum on the biggest policy initiative of his first year in office (The Christian Science Monitor).
Health Care Speech Reassures Some
President Obama hoped to reshape the national health care debate and give his reform proposals a boost through his address to Congress. For Anne Fredrickson, his plan worked (USA Today).
Abortion Foes Aren't Buying Obama's Assurances
President Obama, a supporter of reproductive rights, forcefully reiterated in his speech to Congress this week that his healthcare plan would not lead to government funding of abortion (Los Angeles Times).
President's Speech Allays Some Fears In The Insurance Industry
During the summer's heated discussions over health care, when Democrats seemed quick to portray the health insurance companies as the system's main villains, the industry seemed to be in policy makers' cross hairs (The New York Times).
Details Still Lacking On Obama Proposal
One day after President Obama pitched his plan for comprehensive health-care reform to a joint session of Congress, administration officials struggled Thursday to detail how he would achieve his goal of extending coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans without increasing the deficit (The Washington Post).
Can Obama Pay For His Health Bill?
President Obama laid out a lot of specifics in his speech to Congress and the nation Wednesday night, but when it came to how he would finance the measure - not so much information (NPR).
Obama Sets Stage For Using Budget Maneuver To Pass Health Reform
President Barack Obama this week has been laying the foundation for Senate Democrats to use a controversial budget maneuver to pass healthcare reform (The Hill).
Automatic Cuts Could Help Push Past A Health Hurdle
President Obama's new call to impose automatic spending cuts if the health care overhaul adds "one dime" to federal budget deficits could help push his top domestic priority over one of the biggest hurdles in its path through Congress (The New York Times).
On Malpractice Reform, Fine Print Is Still Hazy
When President Obama broached medical malpractice laws in his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, it was one of the few times that Republican lawmakers stood to applaud. But the ideas the president embraced stopped considerably short of the federal limits on awards in malpractice lawsuits that the GOP and the nation's physicians have sought for years (The Washington Post).
Obama Tells Supporters That It's time For Action On Healthcare
President Obama, attempting to maintain some momentum in the aftermath of an appeal to a joint session of Congress for an overhaul of healthcare, assembled supporters today to reiterate his appeal that "the time for talk is winding down" and the time for action is at hand (Los Angeles Times).
Senators Continue Work On Health-Care Bill, But Obstacles Remain
Senators are proposing changes to a draft health-care bill offered this week by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), but their work has made plain that deep divisions remain among the lawmakers a week before they are due to make their bill official (The Washington Post).
Democrats Say Health Care Bill To Pass This Year
Democratic congressional leaders predicted passage of health care legislation within a few months despite undimmed Republican opposition, claiming momentum Thursday from President Barack Obama's speech and renewed commitment from lawmakers fresh from a month of meetings with constituents (The Associated Press/The Washington Post).
Democrats Promise Action On Health
Democratic congressional leaders on Thursday promised action this fall on legislation to overhaul the nation's health-care system, as partisan tensions simmered a day after President Barack Obama's appeal for progress on the matter (The Wall Street Journal).
Congress Faces Backlash Whether Overhaul Passes Or Not
When American political discourse has reached the point where a congressman shouts "You lie!" at the president during a nationally televised address, it must be a sign that the stakes are running pretty high (The Wall Street Journal).
Sign up to receive this list of First Edition headlines via email. Check out all of Kaiser Health News' email options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.