KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: October 12, 2009

Today's headlines continue to focus on certain aspects of pending health overhaul measures, while also noting that the timeline for Capitol Hill action is now stretching closer to the Christmas holiday. 

Dr. Donald Berwick: We Need to Have More Consequences In The Health Care System
KHN staff writer Phil Galewitz talks with Dr. Berwick about the dynamics of the health overhaul debate. Berwick says that most of the focus has been on cutting costs and finding the money to cover the uninsured. But often lost in the legislative tussling is a third, just as important goal: Improving the quality of care (Kaiser Health News). Watch the video.

Don't Forget About The Other Determinants Of Health
In her latest KHN column, Gail Wilensky writes, " After months of discussion and debate, the House has passed its version of health care reform. But as many observers, including me, have already noted, health care reform has primarily become health insurance reform over the course of the year" (Kaiser Health News).

Initially Waved Off, Hispanic Advocates Jump Into Health Debate
After trying to carefully balance their interests in health-care reform and immigration, the nation's Hispanic lawmakers and largest advocacy groups are scrambling to develop a strategy to counter what they see as efforts to shortchange immigrants in health bills on Capitol Hill (The Washington Post).

Health Savings? No One Knows
Barack Obama ran for president on a promise of saving the typical family $2,500 a year in lower health care premiums. But that was then. No one in the White House is making such a pledge now (Politico).

AP Sources: Reid Eyes Payroll Tax Hike On Wealthy
Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering a plan for higher payroll taxes on the upper-income earners to help finance health care legislation he intends to introduce in the Senate in the next several days, numerous Democratic officials said Wednesday (The Associated Press/The Washington Post).

Health-Bill Battle Won't Get A Recess
The fight over the future of the U.S. health-care system is heading outside the Beltway this week, as groups on all sides take advantage of Congress's Veterans Day recess to put pressure on lawmakers (The Wall Street Journal).

Hoyer, Reid Move To Finish Health Reform Legislation By December
The House could be in session until nearly Christmas Eve to try to win final passage on a healthcare bill (The Hill).

Abortion Activists Call For Backup
Abortion-rights advocates are calling in the cavalry to help fight off an anti-abortion provision House Democratic leaders swallowed in order to win passage of their health care reform bill (Politico).

Q & A: Abortion Issue And Health Care Bill
A ban on abortion coverage in the health care legislation passed by the House of Representatives is being interpreted in different ways by each side of the abortion debate (USA Today).

HUD Threatens To Cut Off D.C. AIDS Funding Next Year
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, worried about widespread lapses in oversight of the District's AIDS program, is threatening to cut off $12.2 million in federal funding next year if the problems are not fixed (The Washington Post).

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