First Edition: March 11, 2010
Today's headlines offer details of President Obama's continued full-court press on health reform with an appearance in Missouri. Meanwhile, work to move the bill toward a vote continues on Capitol Hill.
New Insurance Plan To Link A Patient's Cost To Effectiveness Of Treatments
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby, working in collaboration with USA Today, writes about potentially controversial policies that are a trend toward value-based design. "Workers at a Portland, Ore., steel mill soon will be able to pick a new type of insurance that offers free care for some illnesses, such as diabetes or depression, but requires hefty extra fees for treatments deemed overused, including knee replacements, hysterectomies and heart bypass surgery" (Kaiser Health News).
Powerful Catholic Quietly Shaping Abortion, Health Bill Debate
Richard Doerflinger doesn't look the part of a high-powered political strategist. Bearded and bespectacled, he works in a small, cluttered office out of one of Washington's less fashionable neighborhoods, far from the lobbying bastions of K Street (Kaiser Health News).
KHN Column -- Public Reverse Mortgages And Long-Term Care: Can They Work Together?
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Howard Gleckman writes: "Here's the problem: By the time we need long-term care services we often don't have readily available resources to pay for them. Only about seven million Americans have private long-term care insurance. And, on average, retirees have financial assets of less than $100,000-usually in the form of a 401(k) or other retirement plan. If a 65-year old turned that into steady monthly income, he'd get less than $600. That would pay for a home health aide for barely seven hours a week" (Kaiser Health News).
Blog Watch: He Said/She Said
Kaiser Health News' Kate Steadman monitors the cyber chatter to gather what the bloggers are saying about the health reform debate: "Cusp of victory or death throes? Bloggers on the right and left have very different interpretations of the health reform debate this week" (Kaiser Health News).
In St. Louis Area, Obama Pounds Drum For Health-Care Initiative
President Obama made an impassioned case Wednesday for his health-care proposal, delivering a folksy, partisan argument for reform as industry groups prepare a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to defeat it (The Washington Post).
Obama Touts Plan To Cut Waste In Medicare, Medicaid
Promoting a new initiative to reduce waste in Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs, President Obama traveled to suburban St. Louis on Wednesday to keep up momentum behind his push to complete work on a health overhaul this month (Los Angeles Times).
Democrats, White House Close In On Health Bill
A final agreement nearly in hand, President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders are about to embark on one last sales job that will determine the outcome of the president's signature health care overhaul. (The Associated Press).
Obama Campaigns For Health Overhaul In Missouri
President Barack Obama traveled to St. Charles, Missouri, to sell his health care overhaul plan Wednesday. He also helped raise some cash for Democrats made vulnerable by the long legislative fight (NPR).
Obama Gets Tough On Health Care Fraud
President Obama continued his drive for a health care overhaul on Wednesday, ordering a crackdown on Medicare and Medicaid waste and fraud, while in Washington, House leaders said they hoped to have a completed bill to present to rank and file members Thursday morning (The New York Times).
Obama Makes Closing Argument For Health Overhaul
President Barack Obama pitched the cost-saving benefits of his health plan Wednesday, and made a campaign-style closing argument for the overhaul in his second trip outside Washington this week (The Wall Street Journal).
Obama Aims Fire At McConnell
President Obama has met the enemy, and his name is Mitch. For the second time this week, President Obama has called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell personally after the leader suggested Democrats who back Obama's health care proposals should fear GOP retribution in November (Politico).
Key Senators Balk At Adding Student Loan To Health-Care Legislation
As they push to finish health-care legislation by the end of the month, Democratic leaders in Congress are weighing whether to add another of President Obama's priorities to the package: a popular proposal to overhaul the federal student loan program (The Washington Post).
Immigration Provision Has Hispanic Caucus Threatening 'No' Health Vote
A group of Hispanic lawmakers on Thursday will tell President Barack Obama that they may not vote for healthcare reform unless changes are made to the bill's immigration provisions (The Hill).
Obama Presses Reid To Cut Special Deals From Health Bill
President Barack Obama is pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to go further than Obama has previously disclosed to strip the final health care reform bill of the narrow deals aimed at appeasing specific senators (Politico).
Sebelius Cautions Health Insurers About Premiums
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned health insurers that opposing the Obama administration's health-care agenda and letting premium increases continue would hurt the health industry (The Wall Street Journal).
Face-Off: Kathleen Sebelius Confronts Insurers
In a sharply focused snapshot of the bitter fight over health care reform, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius confronted insurance executives Wednesday at their annual conference, challenging them to divert millions in anti-reform advertising dollars toward cutting premiums (Politico).
Surgical-Device Firms Walk Fine Line
Some 25,000 people last year underwent an operation in which tiny bits of heart tissue were burned into a maze pattern to reroute the heart's electrical system. This is done to fix the most common type of faulty heartbeat, atrial fibrillation (The Wall Street Journal).
Virginia: Opting To Refuse Health Overhaul
The General Assembly became the first state legislature to approve a measure that bucks any effort by President Obama and Congress to carry out a national health care overhaul in individual states (The New York Times).
Pricey Imaging Pushes Up Health Costs
In just two years, spending on MRIs, mammograms, and other imaging tests climbed by at least $214 million in Massachusetts, helping to fuel a dramatic rise in the cost of outpatient hospital care (The Boston Globe).
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