First Edition: December 21, 2009
From today's headlines, the biggest overnight news is the Senate's vote to move its sweeping health reform bill one step closer to the finish line.
Requirement For Americans To Get Insurance Is Central To Health Overhaul
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in partnership with USA Today, writes about the mandate included in pending health reform proposals. "Both the House and Senate health care overhaul bills require most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. Yet government mandates don't necessarily ensure compliance: Not all Americans buckle up, or get their children vaccinated. Some health experts worry the proposed penalties are too low and that many younger, healthier people may agree with Antonelli, opting to pay the fee and gamble on their health. That could drive up the costs of covering older and sicker people" (12/21).
Democrats Move To Regulate How Insurers Spend Customers' Money
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby explores the following concept advanced in current health overhaul plans. "Both the House measure and the newly recast Senate bill would force insurers to spend the vast majority of premium revenue on medical care for their customers, reducing the amount available for profits, executive salaries, sales and administration. The Senate bill would require insurers to spend at least 80 percent on medical care and quality improvements, while the House bill specifies 85 percent. Insurers that don't comply would owe rebates to customers" (12/21).
Health Bill Passes Key Test In The Senate With 60 Votes
After a long day of acid, partisan debate, Senate Democrats held ranks early Monday in a dead-of-night procedural vote that proved they had locked in the decisive margin needed to pass a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's health care system (The New York Times).
Health-Care Bill Clears Crucial Vote In Senate, 60-40
Senate Democrats won a milestone victory early Monday in the health-care debate, approving a procedural motion to move the reform legislation to final passage later this week, and without a single vote to spare (The Washington Post).
Senate Advances Landmark Health Bill
The Democratic Party's decades-long push to remake the U.S. health care system cleared a major hurdle early Monday morning, with the Senate voting to advance a massive $871 billion bill to extend coverage to nearly all Americans and tighten regulations on private insurers (Politico).
Historic Health Vote Looms
The Democratic-controlled Senate, voting 60-40, swept aside Republican objections and moved to close off debate on health overhaul legislation, marking a milestone moment for President Barack Obama's most pressing domestic initiative (The Wall Street Journal).
After Criticism, Reid Vindicated By Early Morning Healthcare Vote
Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) scored the biggest victory of his tenure as Senate Democratic leader early Monday when every member of his caucus voted to advance the Senate healthcare bill (The Hill).
Health Care Bill Moves Closer To Passage
Despite fierce Republican opposition and the lingering effects of a major Northeast snowstorm, Senate Democrats cleared a critical vote on a 10-year, $871 billion health care bill early this morning, steering the proposal toward approval on Christmas Eve (USA Today).
Health Plans On Collision Course
Despite a last-minute weekend deal that put the Senate on the brink of passing health care reform this week, liberal and moderate Democrats remain on a collision course over the bill, as both sides dug in Sunday for the next phase of negotiations (Politico).
Cloture Vote Foreshadows Conference Tussle Over Final Healthcare Bill
As the Senate prepares for the dead-of-night cloture vote on its healthcare reform bill, lawmakers in both chambers have already begun jockeying over what the final bill should look like (The Hill).
Who Wins, Who Loses In Senate Health Bill
The little town of Libby, Mont., isn't mentioned by name in the Senate's mammoth health care bill, but its 2,900 citizens are big winners in the legislation, thanks to the influence of Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. (The Associated Press).
Deep In Health Bill, Very Specific Beneficiaries
Buried in the deal-clinching health care package that Senate Democrats unveiled over the weekend is an inconspicuous proposal expanding Medicare to cover certain victims of "environmental health hazards" (The New York Times).
Tax Exemption In Compromise A Bright Spot For Insurers
A compromise on the health-care overhaul that the Senate reached this weekend offered some relief for insurance companies, specifically for nonprofits that could win exemption from a new $6.7 billion tax (The Wall Street Journal).
Senate Debate On Health Care Exacerbates Partisanship
Nasty charges of bribery. Senators cut off midspeech. Accusations of politics put over patriotism. Talk of double-crosses. A nonagenarian forced to the floor after midnight for multiple procedural votes. In the heart of the holiday season, Senate Republicans and Democrats are at one another's throats as the health care overhaul reaches its climactic votes. A year that began with hopes of new post-partisanship has indeed produced change: Things have gotten worse (The New York Times).
Abortion Continues To Be Dividing Issue
The Senate nudged its health bill toward tighter restrictions on abortion coverage, a change that left advocates on both sides of the issue unsatisfied (The Wall Street Journal).
Hopes Dim, G.O.P. Still Vows To Fight Health Bill
A day after Senate Democrats said that they had clinched an agreement on a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's health care system, Republicans vowed on Sunday to continue their fight while acknowledging that their chances of stopping Senate passage had faded (The New York Times).
Senate Democrats Pay Dearly For 60 Votes
This day is the year's shortest in terms of daylight, but it may also be one of the U.S. Senate's longest. For the third weekend in a row, senators have remained in session. Early Monday morning in a 1 a.m. procedural vote, the Democratic majority has a chance to show it really does have the 60 votes its leaders claim to have for moving landmark health care legislation to a final vote before Christmas (NPR).
Democrats Pin 2010 Hopes On Bill
Slumping in the polls and struggling to pass climate and financial legislation, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders are counting on an historic health care victory to buoy their electoral prospects in 2010 (The Wall Street Journal).
Neb.'s Nelson Sees Backlash On Health Reform Plan
It was the concern of Nebraska's Republican governor over expanded Medicaid costs in the proposed Senate health care overhaul bill that led to a compromise to cover his state's estimated $45 million share over a decade, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson said Sunday (The Associated Press/The Washington Post).
In Wake Of Mammography Guidelines, U.S. Health Task Force Faces New Scrutiny
The once-obscure federal panel that triggered a firestorm with its new mammography guidelines would get far greater authority under the health-care reform proposals pending in Congress, sparking more debate about its power and independence (The Washington Post).
Is That So? Health Care Myth-Busting
As the Senate continues to debate its health overhaul bill, we continue to check the accuracy of that debate. This time, we focus on assertions about abortion and the life of the Medicare program (NPR).
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