First Edition: October 18, 2010
Today's news includes continuing coverage of the run-up to the mid-term elections and how health reform is playing in the discourse.
California's Costliest Hospitals
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jordan Rau, in collaboration with the Bay Area News Group, reports: "Hospital rates in the Bay Area now are among California's most expensive, propelled upward by prominent hospitals and networks, including Sutter Health, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and John Muir Health, according to private and government data. Statewide, hospital prices have been rising rapidly for years. For privately insured patients, the cost of a stay has increased annually by an average of 8.5 percent over the past five years, while the cost of an outpatient visit has grown by 9.6 percent a year, state records reveal (Kaiser Health News). This story is part of an occasional KHN series on hospitals. Check out the interactive graphic.
A Productive Congress Gets No Respect From Voters
The public panned it. Republicans obstructed it. Many Democrats fled from it. Even so, the session of Congress now drawing to a close was the most productive in nearly half a century (The Associated Press/Washington Post).
GOP Hopefuls Narrow Focus
The Senate is likely next year to see the largest group of strong conservatives enter the chamber since 1995, with Republican candidates calling for an end to the minimum wage, a phase-out of federal involvement in education and for challenging federal regulations they say have no foundation in the U.S. Constitution. But Senate candidates and the tea-party activists pressing them say they view their initial mandate narrowly: Cut federal spending significantly, even in defense programs, and block the health-care law (The Wall Street Journal).
Dems On Health Reform: Let Us Fix It
Nervous Democrats are grasping for a new message on their party's health care reform bill: Give us another shot, and we'll get it right this time (Politico).
Orszag Crunched On Healthcare Reform
A review of Peter Orszag's daily schedules shows his sustained focus on healthcare reform as soon as he joined President Obama's Cabinet (The Hill).
Review Your Medicare Part D Options Before Sign-Ups Start
The sign-up period for Medicare Part D (Medicare's prescription drug program) for 2011 runs Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. Here's our best tip: Start reviewing your options now (Los Angeles Times).
Weekend Investor: Long-Term-Care Premiums Soar
People with long-term-care insurance policies are getting hit with a new round of steep premium increases. But there are options that can help both existing policyholders and new buyers cut some of the costs (The Wall Street Journal).
Kaiser Health News tracked weekend headlines, including reports related to politics and the health law.
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