First Edition: March 18, 2010
Today's headlines indicate that Democrats are inching closer to securing the votes necessary to pass their health bill while the GOP is planning steps to bottle neck the measure's progress.
States Weigh Taxes To Help Fund Medicaid -- And Raise Federal Contributions
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, wrestling with a massive hole in the state's Medicaid budget, has proposed a new tax on hospitals and managed care plans. In addition, hospitals in Iowa and Tennessee, as well as in rural Wisconsin, are calling for higher taxes on themselves (Kaiser Health News).
Democrats Seeking Health Care Votes Get 'Yes' From 200 Groups
Kaiser Health News staff writer Andrew Villegas reports on organizations which announced support yesterday for the pending health reform proposal. "As Democrats worked feverishly Wednesday to corral votes in support of a health care overhaul, they picked up the endorsement of more than 200 advocacy groups and medical associations who urged lawmakers to pass the bill (Kaiser Health News).
No CBO Score Wednesday Night; Saturday Healthcare Vote Unlikely
House Democratic leaders on Wednesday night said the long-awaited Congressional Budget Office score of the reconciliation bill will not come out until Thursday, forcing an acknowledgement that a Saturday healthcare vote is likely off the table. But leaders are still hoping for a score on Thursday, and are still preparing for a possible vote before the end of the weekend (The Hill).
Democrats Inch Toward Securing Votes For Health Bill
House Democrats are inching toward the majority they need to pass health care legislation, giving them added confidence as they work out the last details of the bill and gird for a showdown as soon as this weekend (The New York Times).
Lawmakers Struggle To Finish Health Overhaul Bill
Pushing toward a history-making vote, Democrats struggled to eliminate lingering complications standing in the way of House action this weekend on President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul (The Associated Press).
Health Bill Picking Up Key Votes
President Obama and Democratic leaders gathered momentum for their sweeping healthcare overhaul Wednesday, picking up support from Democratic factions where defections were most feared: liberals, abortion opponents and backbenchers (Los Angeles Times).
Democrats Yet To Decide On Health-Care Bill Bear The Weight Of Washington
Rep. Jason Altmire has met with President Obama twice this month and received a phone call from Air Force One. Two planes circled his western Pennsylvania district, trailing banners urging him to vote against the health-care bill. And conservative "tea party" activists confronted him at his office, trying to force him to answer: "Are you for or against the bill" (The Washington Post)?
Democrats Hunt Votes For Deal On Health
Democrats inched closer to building a majority that could pass a monumental restructuring of the health-care system, with two key House members announcing plans to vote yes, but they remained short of the total required and struggled over changes in how the bill would tax certain insurance plans (The Wall Street Journal).
Obama Team Wrapping Up Health Package
President Obama and his chief allies in Congress struggled Wednesday to finish writing historic health care legislation that meets strict fiscal targets in time for a vote in the House of Representatives this weekend (USA Today).
Obama Persuades Kucinich To Back Health-Care Bill
President Obama claimed his first convert on health-care reform Wednesday, as senior Democrats, labor unions and an array of interest groups intensified their efforts to sway wavering lawmakers before a climactic vote in the House this weekend (The Washington Post).
Twisting Path To 216 For Pelosi
Add a Kucinich, subtract a Kaptur. Every tough vote has its arithmetic, and health reform is no different. Get to 216, score a win. But to make it, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to minimize the defections among "yes" votes and flip a few "no" votes (Politico).
Obama Lobbying Style: All Ears
Rep. Dennis Kucinich boarded Air Force One opposed to President Barack Obama's health bill. He landed moving toward yes, still not impressed with the substance of the bill, but persuaded the president had heard him out (The Wall Street Journal).
President Obama's Pitch: Fate Of Presidency On The Line
President Barack Obama had exhausted most of his health care reform arguments with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a White House meeting last Thursday when he made a more personal pitch that resonated with many skeptics in the room. One caucus member told POLITICO that Obama won him over by "essentially [saying] that the fate of his presidency" hinged on this week's health reform vote in the House (Politico).
Democrats Stress Immediate Effects Of Health Bill
Republicans have threatened to make the controversial health care overhaul a central issue in every congressional race next fall. So Democrats want to have something to show for their efforts - before the November elections. And President Obama has begun telling voters not just what the overhaul will do for them, but what it will do for them right away (NPR).
Health Bill Drops Ban On Brand, Generic Deals
A proposal that would ban patent-settlements between brand-name pharmaceutical companies and makers of generic medicines won't be included in legislation overhauling the U.S. health-care system (The Wall Street Journal).
Rally Rx: Resolution To Health-Care Overhaul
Pass the health-care overhaul. Kill the health-care overhaul. Let's just get on with it already. After more than a year of emotion, invective and argument, there is a growing chance the health-care debate will soon end. While the overhaul push may yet falter, Democrats have grown optimistic that President Obama may be able to sign a bill into law this weekend, ahead of his Asian sojourn (The Wall Street Journal).
Nancy Pelosi's Biggest Test
As President Barack Obama left a St. Patrick's Day luncheon at the Capitol on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked beside him, speaking softly. When the two came upon a Democrat who hasn't committed to voting yes on the health care bill, Pelosi would tell Obama, "We could use help on this one," according to a person who saw the stroll. Obama, in turn, would tell the wavering Democrat, "We're counting on you" (Politico).
Ad Wars Ramp Up As Health Bill Draws Near
You can tell the health care debate is reaching a critical point just by the number of ads flooding the airwaves of local and cable television (NPR).
Nuns In U.S. Back Healthcare Bill Despite Catholic Bishops' Opposition
Their numbers and influence may be declining, but American nuns demonstrated Wednesday what generations of schoolchildren already knew: They are a force to be reckoned with (Los Angeles Times).
Catholic Opposition To Health Bill Fades
Roman Catholic opposition to the health care overhaul package is crumbling, with some church officials and lawmakers concluding that their long-sought goal of health care overhaul trumps the desire to adopt the severest restrictions on abortion funding (The Boston Globe).
Republicans Will Bottle Up Health Care Reform In Senate
Democrats might like to think that health care reform is all but a done deal if it clears the House, but the Senate is where Republicans have been plotting for months to sentence it to a painful procedural death (Politico).
GOP Lawmakers, Candidates Pledge To Repeal Health-Care Legislation
Even as House Democrats search for the votes to send a health-care reform bill to President Obama, dozens of Republican lawmakers and candidates have signed a pledge to back an effort to repeal the measure, should the GOP take control of either chamber of Congress after this fall's elections (The Washington Post).
How Two Little-Known Offices Will Shape Healthcare Reform
The complex, highly partisan closing push for healthcare reform is, in many ways, coming down to two Washington institutions whose devotion to nonpartisanship and a mastery of the arcane make them virtually inside-the-Beltway priesthoods: the Congressional Budget Office and the Senate Parliamentarian's Office (The Christian Science Monitor).
Idaho First To Sign Law Against Health Care Reform
Idaho is leading the charge in a states-rights push to defeat a proposal in Congress that would require people to buy health insurance, a key piece of reforms being pushed by President Barack Obama (The Associated Press).
Sign up to receive this list of First Edition headlines via email. Check out all of Kaiser Health News' email options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.