First Edition: October 26, 2009
Today's headlines focus on details of the Democrats' health overhaul legislation, including the latest on the public insurance option.
Tulsa Hospital Gives Medicare Patients Cash Back For Surgery
This story highlights a surgery done at the 691-bed Hillcrest Medical Center. It is part of an experiment testing a new "bundled" payment system. Medicare makes a single reimbursement for all the hospital and doctor care for heart and joint procedures, rather than making separate payments to the facility and physicians (Kaiser Health News and USA Today).
Fight Erupts Over Health Insurance Rates For Businesses With More Women
The Pennsylvania home health care company Linda Bettinazzi runs is charged about $6,800 per worker for health insurance $2,000 more than the national average for single coverage. One reason: nearly every one of her 175 employees is a woman (Kaiser Health News).
Obama Needs Win, Could Settle On Bill
Costs and the political calendar are catching up with health care reform. Having bet the farm, President Barack Obama needs a win and is willing to settle for a cheaper bill and a weaker public insurance option. Democrats in Congress, increasingly worried about the 2010 elections, want stronger medicine for fear the reforms will prove to be a house of cards if working-class voters can't afford the coverage promised (Politico).
Insurers Poised To Reap Benefits From Healthcare Overhaul
As President Obama's push for a healthcare overhaul moves toward its final act, the oft-vilified health insurance industry is on the verge of seeing a plan enacted that largely protects its financial interests (Los Angeles Times).
Lieberman: Health Bill Concern Not Based On State's Insurers
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of a handful of Senate wild cards in this fall's healthcare reform debate, says his concern about the Senate bill is based on the national deficit - not the insurers that dominate his state (The Hill).
If You Build A Coverage Mandate, Will They Come?
People are more likely to buckle their seat belt than follow the speed limit, even though the penalties for speeding are higher. They are more likely to go along with hotel efforts to reduce linen laundry if told that other guests are doing the same (The Washington Post).
AP Sources: Health Bill May Cut Employer Mandate
Businesses would not be required to provide health insurance under legislation being readied for Senate debate, but large firms would owe significant penalties if any worker needed government subsidies to buy coverage on their own, according to Democratic officials familiar with talks on the bill (The Associated Press).
Democrats Are Optimistic That Public Option Will Be Approved
Several Democratic senators voiced optimism on Sunday that Congress would pass a health care bill containing at least the germ of a government-run insurance program. Their expectations were grudgingly seconded by Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in 2008 (The New York Times).
Senate On Verge Of Health Bill
Top Senate Democrats are close to finalizing their health bill and could unveil a measure as soon as early this week that would include stiffer penalties on employers who fail to provide health coverage (The Wall Street Journal).
Next Phase In Health-Care Debate: The Art Of The Deal
With a growing sense that Democrats may have the votes to pass health-care reform, many participants are now attempting to shape the components of landmark legislation rather than to defeat it (The Washington Post).
Clock Ticking On Democrats' Health Care Reform
Time growing short, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate still face key decisions if they are to achieve President Barack Obama's goal of passing legislation to remake the nation's health care system by year's end (The Associated Press).
Dems Push For Benefits To Start By 2010
Democrats are pushing Senate leaders and the White House to speed up key benefits in the health reform bill to 2010, eager to give the party something to show taxpayers for their $900 billion investment in an election year (Politico).
Who Might, Or Might Not, Be Covered Under The Healthcare Bills
Low-income people could get federal assistance, but even a 'public option' may leave out some individuals (Los Angeles Times).
Politics Aside, Annual Medicare Fix Is Same Old Story
Congress is at an impasse over how to fix a perennial problem in Medicare. Just about every year a formula glitch threatens to cut payments to doctors who treat seniors and the disabled. And just about every year Congress cancels the cut. This year lawmakers are complaining about the bill because it's not paid for. But, despite what both Republicans and Democrats are claiming, that's nothing new (NPR).
Kaiser Health News also provides weekend news summaries. Check out Saturday's developments with the public option and Medicare's doughnut hole as well as headlines regarding the public option on the Sunday talk shows and Democratic infighting on abortion and health reform.
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