First Edition: October 2, 2009
Democratic-backed health legislation approaches clearing a major hurdle, but possible difficulties regarding tax and fee issues are likely to gain more attention.
Medicare Advantage Plans To Increase Premiums For Some -- But Not All Seniors -- In 2010
In Miami next year, seniors once again won't have to pay any monthly premiums for a Medicare health plan sold by HMO giant Humana Inc. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, seniors will pay premiums of $52 up from zero for the least expensive HMO plan from Independence Blue Cross. The new information underscores the drastic differences in how seniors will be affected depending on where they live -- by federal funding cuts next year to private Medicare health plans known as Medicare Advantage (Kaiser Health News).
Frist Predicts Congress Will Approve A $1 Trillion Health Care Bill That Won't 'Bend The Cost Curve'
KHN's Eric Pianin talks with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., about his new book, "A Heart to Serve, The Passion to Bring Health, Hope, and Healing." Frist offers his views on the health care debate on Capitol Hill (Kaiser Health News).
Obama-Backed Health Bill Gains Ground
Health care legislation backed by President Barack Obama all but cleared a major hurdle in the Senate early Friday as Democratic liberals and moderates on a key committee closed ranks behind the most sweeping set of changes in a half-century (The Associated Press).
Senate Panel Stays Late To Work On Health-Care Bill
The long quest to reform the nation's health-care system entered uncharted legislative territory early Friday when a key Senate panel wrapped up work on its bill and House and Senate leaders prepared for historic floor debates (The Washington Post).
Republicans Call Health Legislation A Tax Increase
First came the warnings that government would take over health care and panels of bureaucrats would decide when America's elderly should die. Then came assertions that President Obama would force reductions in Medicare spending that would cut off the elderly from favored doctors and critical lab tests (The New York Times).
Senate Republicans Criticize Taxes In Health-Care Bill
As it drew close Thursday to finishing work on a health-care overhaul, a key Senate panel engaged in a spirited debate about whether the measure is "riddled" with tax increases that would violate President Obama's campaign pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans (The Washington Post).
Insurance Executive Pay Curbed In Health Bill
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to encourage limits on the compensation of insurance executives, responding to charges that expanding health insurance coverage would enrich insurance companies (The Wall Street Journal).
Senate Panel Softening Insurance Penalties
The Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to soften the impact of financial penalties that would be imposed on people who did not obtain insurance under sweeping health care legislation (The New York Times).
Senate Leaders Facing Crunch On Health Plans
The Senate Finance Committee planned to finish work on sweeping health care legislation early this morning and is expected to take a final vote next week, as Senate leaders forged ahead to the next painstaking steps: merging that bill with an earlier version written by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy's committee, then moving the combined package to the Senate floor (The Boston Globe).
Seniors Worry As Medicare Advantage Is Threatened
For more than 40 million senior citizens, questions about plans to overhaul the nation's health care system come down to one word - Medicare (NPR).
Snowe, Democrats Unite On Crucial Healthcare Deal
The Senate Finance Committee leaped over a considerable hurdle to passing its sweeping healthcare reform legislation late Thursday night via a bipartisan amendment designed to make health insurance more affordable for people with moderate incomes (The Hill).
Medical Device Makers Press Senate On Tax
The industry that makes wheelchairs, pacemakers and other medical devices has launched a lobbying blitz to kill a tax on its products proposed in a health care bill moving through the Senate (USA Today).
Pelosi Moves To Center On Public Health Option
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is shifting to the center on a government-run public health insurance plan, warming to a version that is being supported by some Blue Dog Democrats (The Hill).
Apologies For Healthcare Scares Must Be By All Sides, Pelosi Says
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that anyone using harsh rhetoric to raise fears about the healthcare overhaul should apologize and get on with writing policy but that there's no reason to single out a Florida Democrat who said Republicans want sick Americans to "die quickly" (Los Angeles Times).
A Rule On Eye Treatment Is Likely To Cost Millions
Medicare is putting in place a new policy that may sharply curtail the use of the cancer drug Avastin as a treatment for eye diseases. But the way the bureaucratic gears mesh in this case, the move could end up costing Medicare itself hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and individual patients thousands of dollars (The New York Times).
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