KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: April 8, 2010

Today's health policy news coverage explores the political and policy implications of the new health reform law.  

Tennessee Removes About 100,000 People From Medicaid Rolls
Anita Wadhwani reports for Kaiser Health News: "After losing the use of her arms and legs in a car accident five years ago, Jessica Pipkin received around-the-clock nursing care through Tennessee's Medicaid program. Pipkin, 28, said the care -- which cost an average of $37 an hour -- allowed her to live at home here with her husband and two children. In September, however, Pipkin lost her benefits as part of a state reassessment of many of the program's enrollees" (Kaiser Health News).

Savings From Computerized Medical Records Are Hard To Measure
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver writes: "When it comes to health policy, few ideas find as much bipartisan support as the notion that widespread adoption of health information technology could improve medical care and save money. But putting a realistic number on those savings remains an elusive goal for health IT advocates" (Kaiser Health News).

KHN Column: Can Massachusetts' Experiment Tell Us What's Next?
In his latest KHN column, James Capretta writes: "Now that the year-long debate in Congress over health care legislation has come to a close, it's reasonable to ask: What's next?" (Kaiser Health News).

Vulnerable Democrats Are Tiptoeing On Health Care
First-term Rep. Betsy Markey is convinced that once people learn what's in President Barack Obama's new health care overhaul law, they'll support it (The Associated Press).

AARP, Dems Lobby Older Voters On Healthcare Law Before Midterms
The AARP, the Obama administration and lawmakers are trying to convince skeptical older voters of the benefits of healthcare legislation before they go to the polls in November (The Hill).

Internal Grumbling Over Republican Healthcare Messages Intensifies
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are facing a mini-rebellion against their message on healthcare reform (The Hill).

Tax Burden Mounting For High Earners
With enactment of his signature healthcare law, President Obama has also made good on another major campaign promise: to ease the tax burden on middle-class Americans and pay for his domestic agenda by raising taxes on the wealthy. And for upper-income taxpayers, the tab for healthcare is just the beginning (Los Angeles Times).

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Sounds A Warning On Growing Deficit
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Wednesday that Americans may have to accept higher taxes or changes in cherished entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security if the nation is to avoid staggering budget deficits that threaten to choke off economic growth (The Washington Post).

Bernanke Says Nation Must Take Action Soon To Shape Fiscal Future
Mr. Bernanke, speaking before the Dallas Regional Chamber, said that the economy was still fragile, and he made it clear that he did not expect the federal government to raise taxes or cut spending anytime soon. But he spoke about the budget pressures posed by Social Security and Medicare with greater urgency than he has in the past (The New York Times).

2 Insurers To Resume Sales With Old Rates
Seeking to tone down their dispute with state regulators, two Massachusetts health insurers yesterday said they will, as ordered, resume making new policies available for individuals and small businesses - using last year's base rates, not the requested double-digit increases rejected by the state last week (The Boston Globe).

States Reignite Abortion Debate
Less than three weeks after the passage of the landmark national health-care bill, the abortion debate is being reignited: Lawmakers in least six states are pushing for legislation to block abortion coverage in some health plans (The Wall Street Journal).

GOP Govs Bypass Dem AGs
Three Republican governors are going around their Democratic attorneys general to file lawsuits against the recently signed health care law (Politico).

Federal Authorities Arrest Man For Threatening Calls To Pelosi
Federal authorities arrested a California man Wednesday for allegedly making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (USA Today).

Sign up to receive this list of First Edition headlines via e-mail. Check out all of Kaiser Health News' e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.