First Edition: February 25, 2010
Today's news is all about today's White House health summit -- with highlights of how WellPoint got grilled about proposed premium rate increases during a congressional hearing and how the House voted to repeal insurers' antitrust exemption.
Preparing For Health Debate, And Its TV Audience
In convening Thursday's bipartisan health session, President Obama is angling to recreate the kind of spontaneous, unscripted debate that gave him a decided advantage when he took questions on live television at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore last month (The New York Times).
More Than Healthcare Riding On Thursday's Summit
The healthcare summit that convenes Thursday in Washington has emerged as a high-stakes gambit for President Obama and opposing Republican lawmakers, carrying risks for both sides that could not only alter the outcome of the healthcare debate but also November's midterm elections (Los Angeles Times).
Poll: Expectations Low On Health Summit
Public expectations are low for today's high-profile White House summit on health care: Three of four Americans in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll predict President Obama and congressional leaders won't reach agreement on a bill (USA Today).
Democrats Looking Beyond Health-Care Summit To Final Talks Within Party
Congressional Democrats are already looking beyond the White House health-care summit, reckoning that Thursday's session will amount to little more than political theater and focusing instead on a final round of intraparty negotiations that are likely to determine the fate of President Obama's top domestic priority (The Washington Post).
Live From Washington: Obama's Health Care Summit
President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are pleading their case for health care overhaul in an extraordinary summit with Republicans, broadcast live to a divided public on daytime TV (The Associated Press).
Democrats Face Internal Battles Over Health Bill
Congressional Republicans are scheduled to join President Obama and Democratic leaders Thursday for a six-hour televised summit on the White House's stalled drive for a national health care overhaul (NPR).
Democrats Want Obama To Push Health Bill
Congressional Democrats are already looking beyond the White House health care summit, figuring that today's session will amount to little more than political theater and focusing instead on a final round of intraparty negotiations that are likely to determine the fate of President Obama's top domestic priority (The Boston Globe).
Obama Readies A Fallback Health-Care Proposal
President Barack Obama will use a bipartisan summit Thursday to push for sweeping health-care legislation, but if that fails to generate enough support the White House has prepared the outlines of a more modest plan (The Wall Street Journal).
Heading Into Healthcare Summit, Republicans Fear Obama Trap
The White House's unwillingness to discuss what steps will follow Thursday's bipartisan healthcare summit is intensifying GOP worries that the party is walking into a public-relations trap (The Hill).
Republicans To Offer Health Plans At Summit
Republicans plan to offer a handful of incremental proposals during this week's health-care summit after pushing for broad changes to the country's health-insurance system in recent years (The Wall Street Journal).
Health Changes: Incremental Or Comprehensive
As President Obama sits down with Congressional leaders to talk about health care, one big dividing line between Democrats and Republicans is how ambitious they are about changing the existing system. The GOP mantra has been that the U.S. should proceed "step by step." The Obama administration argues that the most important steps only work in combination (NPR).
White House Punts On Containing Health Costs
At Thursday's health summit, President Barack Obama is almost certain to highlight the importance of reining in skyrocketing health care costs (Politico).
Healthcare Summit: Is Obama Ready To Tee Up Tort Reform?
Expectations could not be lower heading into Thursday's bipartisan healthcare summit (The Christian Science Monitor).
Congressional Memo: As Senate Majority Shifts, So Does View Of A Procedural Power Play
It is tempting to think that the authors of the 1974 federal budget law were feeling mischievously ironic when they chose "reconciliation" as the name for a particularly arcane process the bill established (The New York Times).
Missing Element In Obama's ties With GOP Leaders: Good Chemistry
President Obama and Representative John A. Boehner, the House Republican leader, share a love of golf. But the prospect of the two men hitting the links together would seem as likely as, say, the president and Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, exchanging a hearty "bro hug" before Thursday's meeting on health care (The New York Times).
Hopes For Bipartisanship Faded Long Before Summit
If President Barack Obama really wanted to show he's serious about winning over Republicans on health care reform, he could offer up some key concessions at Thursday's summit, like caps on malpractice awards or allowing insurers to sell across state lines (Politico).
Lawmakers Accuse WellPoint, Parent Company Of Anthem Blue Cross, Of Profiteering
Congressional Democrats on Wednesday accused the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross of putting profits ahead of policyholders, saying the giant insurer padded its proposed rates while lavishing generous salaries and benefits on top executives (Los Angeles Times).
Health Executive Defends Premiums
A top health insurance company executive told a Congressional committee on Wednesday that higher premiums were justified by soaring medical costs, and warned that pending legislation could make the problem worse, further driving up costs for young, healthy people (The New York Times).
Lawmakers Lay Into WellPoint Over Rates
Insurers faced harsh criticism Wednesday during a congressional hearing on steep premium increases by a Wellpoint Inc. unit in California (The Wall Street Journal).
House Votes To Strip Health Insurance Companies Of Antitrust Exemption
The House voted Wednesday to strip health insurance companies of their exemption from federal antitrust laws, a Democratic measure that could resonate with public concerns about insurers but that has an uncertain future in the Senate (The Washington Post).
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