KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: April 5, 2010

Both the politics and policies of health reform continue to grab headlines, with reports highlighting how lawmakers are faring in their districts during this congressional recess. News outlets also are exploring how specific provisions of the new law will work.

NIH Chief Francis Collins: Medical Research 'Ought To Tell Us What Works'
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jennifer Evans talked to physician-geneticist Francis Collins, a person "who isn't afraid to think big about science. For over a decade, Collins led the Human Genome Project, overseeing the federal government's race to map people's DNA. The project finished in April 2003, some 18 months early and $300 million under budget, and has been transforming the understanding of human health and disease ever since. Today, as director of the National Institutes of Health, Collins is on a mission to guide his agency to use science to improve the nation's health system, starting with individual patients (Kaiser Health News). Watch the video.

KHN Column: Why Americans Should Support An Individual Mandate
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, done in collaboration with The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn writes: "Imagine for a moment that you work in a hospital emergency room. And just outside the door, a man has collapsed from a heart attack. Inside the facility, literally feet away from where he lies, are the equipment and knowledge to save his life. But this man doesn't have health insurance" (Kaiser Health News).

New Healthcare Law Is Full Of Unknowns
About the only thing Dr. Philip Schwarzman can be sure of under the national healthcare overhaul is that he is adding his daughters, ages 23 and 25, to his health plan immediately (Los Angeles Times).

New Health Initiatives Put Spotlight On Prevention
Amid all the rancor leading up to passage of the new health care law, Congress with little fanfare approved a set of wide-ranging public initiatives to prevent disease and encourage healthy behavior (The New York Times).

Health Care Reform Leaves Out Illegal Immigrants
Paula Medrano shifts uncomfortably on the doctor's examination table, holding out a wrist inflamed and swollen by arthritis. The 78-year-old has no health insurance, lives below the federal poverty level, and can't pay for the medication she needs (The Associated Press).

Will Health Law Mean More Hospital Visits From Young Adults
One provision of the health-care bill that is now law says that parents will be able to keep their dependent children on their health insurance policies up to age 26. New work by a trio of economists, circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggests that could produce a significant increase in demand for health care from previously uninsured young adults (The Wall Street Journal Real Time Economics Blog).

In Colorado, Health-Care Debate Reverberates In Congressional Race
Rep. Betsy Markey, a first-term Democrat in a Republican district, was one of just eight House members who switched their votes from "no" to "yes" when President Obama's health-care bill finally passed Congress. Her vote left the endangered incumbent in an even more precarious position (The Washington Post).

Halter Challenges Arkansas' Lincoln From Left In Senate Race
Backed by national labor unions and Democratic activists, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is attacking Sen. Blanche Lincoln from the left as an uncertain senator who too often tilts right on major issues, including Wall Street, health care and the environment (The Washington Post).

Democrats' Rage Fades On Health Care Heretics
In Logan, Ohio, Democrats are furious with Rep. Zack Space's vote against the recent landmark health care legislation. His once-strong relationship with local labor chapters is strained. Past campaign supporters claim their congressman's decision to flip from 'yes' on the bill in November to 'no' in March reinforced a deep sense of cynicism about politics (Politico).

Health Tax May Wallop Towns
Massachusetts municipalities that offer employees, retirees, and elected officials the most generous and costly health insurance plans will feel the squeeze of the new national health care law's tax on "Cadillac'' insurance plans (The Boston Globe).

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