First Edition: August 6, 2009
Although health reform protests continue to pop up at town hall meeting in Congressional districts, Senate negotiators show signs of progress towards bipartisan agreement.
Checking In With Health Insurance Chief Lobbyist Karen Ignagni
Ignagni, 55, the President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans sat down Wednesday with KHN's Laurie McGinley, Julie Appleby and Eric Pianin at her office on Pennsylvania Avenue, overlooking the U.S. Capitol. She discussed her take on the Democratic political assault, her industry's end-game strategy and her unflagging opposition to the Democrats' efforts to create a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers (Kaiser Health News).
Senators Closer To Health Package
Senate negotiators are inching toward bipartisan agreement on a health-care plan that seeks middle ground on some of the thorniest issues facing Congress, offering the fragile outlines of a legislative consensus even as the political battle over reform intensifies outside Washington (The Washington Post).
Centrist Democrats Upbeat On Health Care Bill
After a meeting among Senate Democrats to hone their message on revamping health care, some centrist lawmakers who could deliver crucial votes expressed confidence Wednesday that they would be able to sign on to the legislation and sell it to their constituents back home (The New York Times).
Baucus Aims For Middle With Health Care Overhaul
In Big Sky country, there's no limit on strong opinions about Democratic Sen. Max Baucus and his struggle to fulfill President Barack Obama's goal of health care overhaul (The Associated Press).
Dems Seek To Unite For Recess Push
White House officials and Democratic lawmakers scrambled in the final week before the August recess to dispel the notion that Congress has tuned out President Barack Obama in the healthcare reform debate (The Hill).
Chris Dodd To Colleagues: Stick To Basics
The August score card on health care reform isn't what the White House or congressional Democratic leaders initially had in mind: two chambers, zero completed bills and one long, hot recess ahead (Politico).
Sen. Enzi Won't Rush Into Health-Bill Deal
A key Republican senator said Wednesday he wouldn't be rushed into backing bipartisan health legislation, and suggested some Democratic priorities -- such as a public health-insurance plan -- couldn't be part of any bill that wins his support (The Wall Street Journal).
Healthcare Debate Gets Uglier
Much of the fiercest opposition has been fanned by talk radio and conservative advocacy groups. But the bitter intensity is a pointed reminder of how hard it will be for Democrats to sell voters on a broad reworking of the healthcare system, even though they hold commanding majorities in the House and Senate (Los Angeles Times).
Rowdy Protestors Overrun Health Care Meetings
Traditionally sleepy town hall meetings have become rowdy shout-fests across the nation, including Northern California, with opponents hanging members in effigy and mocking them with Nazi and devil imagery in an effort to derail discussions of health care (San Francisco Chronicle).
Protests At Democrats' Health-Care Events Spark Political Tug Of War
Hectoring protesters at a handful of Democratic town hall forums became a flash point Wednesday in the health-care debate, as party leaders cast the critics as "angry mobs" trying to "destroy President Obama" while Republicans accused Democrats of dismissing public opposition to their proposals (The Washington Post).
Studies Question Using Cement For Spin Injuries
The new studies are exactly the kind of research that health policy experts and President Obama have been calling for, to find out if the nation is spending its health care dollars wisely, on treatments that work. A bill passed by Congress this year provides $1.1 billion for such so-called comparative effectiveness research (The New York Times).
Study: Treating Fractured Vertebrae May Not Help
One of the key issues for a health care overhaul is how to pay only for necessary care - and how to identify which procedures and treatments are most advantageous to patients. Two studies published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine show how difficult making medical decisions based on comparative effectiveness can be (NPR).
White House Affirms Deal On Drug Cost
Pressed by industry lobbyists, White House officials on Wednesday assured drug makers that the administration stood by a behind-the-scenes deal to block any Congressional effort to extract cost savings from them beyond an agreed-upon $80 billion (The New York Times).
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