First Edition: April 12, 2010
Among today's headlines are stories about House lawmakers facing the music back home regarding their health votes.
Americans Asking: 'How Will Health Reform Help Me?'
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey writes about the questions stemming from the new health reform law: "David wanted to know how the new health care overhaul law would impact retiree health care coverage. Sal asked if Medicare would cover a yearly physical. Tom and Janet get their Medicare coverage from a private health insurance plan. Could they keep their doctor? The questions went to Department of Health and Human Services officials conducting the second in a series of weekly "Web chats" on the new health care law. The queries are part of an avalanche of questions aimed at government officials, physicians and nonprofit groups as Americans struggle to understand the complexities of the new law" (Kaiser Health News).
KHN Column - Medicare Advantage Competitive Pricing: The Political Failure Of A Good Idea
In a column for Kaiser Health News, Austin Frakt writes: "Few Americans should be satisfied with the way the government pays private health insurance plans that participate in the Medicare Advantage program. Taxpayers pay 14 percent more to insure a beneficiary through the Advantage program than through traditional, fee-for-service Medicare, the program's 'public option.' The new health reform lawthe Affordable Care Act--will reduce, but not eliminate, the additional payments to Advantage plans. Medicare beneficiaries are concerned about the reductions in Advantage plan availability and generosity that will result from those payment cuts" (Kaiser Health News).
Promises, Promises: Health Plan Maps Obama Pledges
The nation may be divided over the wisdom of President Barack Obama's big new health care law, but it largely delivers on more than 30 specific promises he made as a candidate (The Associated Press).
Back Home, Defending Their Healthcare Votes
The congressional battle over healthcare may have ended, but not the political fight (Los Angeles Times).
Bill To Extend Jobless Benefits Faces Showdown
On its first day back in session following a two-week recess, the Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to end debate on a measure extending jobless benefits, subsidies for the COBRA health insurance program and federal flood insurance through May 5. Democrats will need at least one Republican supporter to get the 60 votes necessary to proceed (The Washington Post).
Rep. Bart Stupak To Retire, Casualty Of Health Care Reform Battle
The retirement of Rep. Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat who shot to prominence over the abortion issue in the healthcare reform debate, represents a blow to the Democratic Party in its battle to retain control of the House this fall (The Christian Science Monitor).
Orszag: CBO Lowballs Savings From Obama's Healthcare Reform
White House Budget Director Peter Orszag is arguing that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underestimates the savings from President Barack Obama's healthcare bill (The Hill).
Thousands Of Anthem Blue Cross Customers Await Decision On Rate Hikes
Thousands of worried Californians who buy individual insurance policies from Anthem Blue Cross will soon learn whether they face rate increases of up to 39% that were put on hold for two months amid a public outcry that helped revive national healthcare legislation (Los Angeles Times).
As St. Vincent's Closes, Other Hospitals Get Busier
Outside St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan over the weekend, the streets of Greenwich Village and Chelsea were busy with the usual assortment of nightlife inhabitants. But inside the hospital, in operation since 1849, the emergency room was strangely deserted (The New York Times).
Jamie Oliver Trims The (Fiscal) Fat
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has targeted overweight kids in the unhealthiest city in America, and is looking to change them from the inside out. But the ripple effect of his efforts could extend far beyond shrinking the bulging bellies of Huntington, W. Va.'s citizens; ultimately, slimming down could mean fattening up their wallets (The Fiscal Times).
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