First Edition: December 7, 2009
President Obama took to the Hill this weekend to boost Senate Democrats' health reform efforts. Meanwhile, the negotiations on flashpoint issues such as the public option continue.
Health Reform: The Big Issues Bedeviling Harry Reid
KHN's Mary Agnes Carey writes about the outlook in the Senate during its weekend session. "No one knows how long the Senate health care debate will last. But at least one thing is clear: until Majority Leader Harry Reid gets consensus on two volatile issues whether to include a government-run 'public option' health insurance plan and abortion coverage it's unlikely that the Nevada Democrat will able to get 60 votes for a health care deal" (Kaiser Health News).
Push For Deal On Public Health Plan
President Obama exhorted Senate Democrats on Sunday to put aside their differences and seize their moment in history by passing landmark health legislation. But senators said he did not mention sticky issues like abortion or a new government-run insurance plan (The New York Times).
New Government-Run Health Proposal Eyed
Democrats wrestled with a new proposal on a government health-insurance plan that would give private entities a central role in running the program, in a bid for compromise on one of the health bill's most divisive issues (The Wall Street Journal).
Chances Shrink For Pure Public Option
Senate Democrats in search of a health reform compromise Sunday zeroed in on a new alternative to a government-run insurance plan signaling that the chances a final bill will include a pure public option are diminishing (Politico).
Obama Urges Democrats To Pass Health Overhaul
Casting health care overhaul as a legacy for the American people and failure as politically unthinkable, President Obama on Sunday rallied Senate Democrats to deliver on their party's half-century quest to expand the social safety net by providing access for all (NPR).
Obama's Senate Visit Moves Dems Closer To Healthcare Reform Deal
During a rare weekend session of Congress, President Obama met with Democrats just off the Senate floor today to boost momentum for a 'historic' healthcare reform that requires every one of their votes (The Christian Science Monitor).
Senate Democrats Get 'Pep Talk' From President Obama
President Obama used a rare meeting on Capitol Hill on Sunday to urge Senate Democrats to consider the historic significance of revamping the nation's health care system as his legislation faced a crucial second week of debate (USA Today).
Obama Presses Democrats On Health-Care Bill
President Obama made a rare Sunday visit to the Capitol to urge a fractious Democratic caucus to pull together to pass landmark health-care legislation (The Washington Post).
Obama Prods Democrats On Health Care
President Obama made a rare Sunday visit to Capitol Hill yesterday, imploring Senate Democrats in a closed-door session to resolve their disagreements on health care and finish work on the sweeping legislation (The Boston Globe).
Senate Healthcare Talks Pick Up Pace
President Obama traveled to Capitol Hill on Sunday to rally Democrats on his signature healthcare initiative as the Senate moved closer to addressing two of the biggest land mines in the bill's path: the terms of a new public insurance option and limits on federal abortion funding (Los Angeles Times).
Senate To Confront Abortion In Health Care Debate
Buoyed by a presidential pep talk and intense rounds of negotiations, Senate Democrats hope to move closer to embracing a major health care bill this week by tackling the nettlesome issue of abortion (The Associated Press).
Abortion Emerges As Top Bill Threat
Antiabortion lawmakers in the Senate plan to introduce an amendment as soon as Monday to restrict insurance coverage of abortion in the health bill, setting up a showdown that has no clear path to resolution (The Wall Street Journal).
Drugmakers' Support For Health Overhaul Tested
The pharmaceutical industry may have to cough up more than the $80 billion it agreed to contribute to President Barack Obama's health overhaul effort, reflecting pressure from Democrats and their supporters for more money to cover older and low-income people (The Associated Press/The Washington Post).
A Broader Definition Of Healthcare
Acupuncturists, dietary-supplement makers and other alternative health practitioners, some of whose treatments are considered unproven by the medical establishment, would be brought more squarely into the mainstream of American medicine under the health legislation now before the Senate (Los Angeles Times).
Senators Buckle Down For A Long Holiday Season In Session
Senate Republicans and Democrats are digging in for a long December, vowing they have no objection to the possibility of a working Christmas to debate healthcare reform (The Hill).
Kaiser Health News tracked the weekend's Capitol Hill developments and headlines, including Saturday's negotiations, President Obama's visit to the Hill and Democrats' efforts to find compromises.
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.