KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: October 1, 2009

The progress continues, and so does the drama, as the Senate Finance Committee complete another day of its health bill mark up. Meanwhile, in the House, leaders are counting votes among their members. 

Analysis: Can What Killed California Health Reform Strike Again?
When Congress began working on health care legislation earlier this year, Massachusetts' universal insurance plan was often cited by Democrats as a model to follow. But as the increasingly difficult negotiations enter the fall, legislators might also study the lessons of California (Kaiser Health News).

Rate Of Enrollment In Medicaid Rose Rapidly, Report Says
The recession is driving up enrollment in Medicaid at higher than expected rates, threatening gargantuan state budget gaps even as Congress and the White House seek to expand the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled, according to a survey released Wednesday (The New York Times).

Health Care May Hit House, Senate Floor Mid-Month
Historic health care legislation could be on the floor of both houses of Congress as early as mid-October as Democrats work to answer President Barack Obama's call for greater protections for those who have unreliable insurance or no coverage at all (The Associated Press).

Senate Finance Panel Has Votes To Pass Health Bill, Baucus Says
Democrats on a key Senate panel backed off a plan to impose billions of dollars in new taxes on senior citizens with catastrophic medical expenses Wednesday and defeated Republican amendments on abortion, immigration and other divisive issues, aiming to bring a comprehensive health-care overhaul before the full Senate within two weeks (The Washington Post).

Health Bill Survives Attacks - Vote By Week's End?
A White House-backed overhaul of the nation's health care system weathered repeated challenges from Republican critics over taxes, abortion and more on Wednesday, and the bill's architect claimed enough votes to push it through the Senate Finance Committee as early as week's end (The Associated Press).

Senate Panel Rejects Tightening Of Abortion Restrictions
The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday rejected a Republican proposal to tighten restrictions on abortion in a bill to overhaul the health care system (The New York Times).

Abortion Language Heats Up Healthcare Battle
As the Senate Finance Committee continued to debate its version of a healthcare overhaul bill Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans clashed over abortion -- potentially complicating President Obama's drive for action this fall (Los Angeles Times).

Carper Quietly Devises Third Option
Sen. Tom Carper bided his time on health care reform. Rarely in the spotlight, and unfailingly restrained, the Delaware Democrat never staked out a public position on the government insurance option, solidifying his status as the model of an undecided moderate in need of persuading (Politico).

House Leaders Trying To Give All Democrats A Say
The Senate poses the main hurdle to President Obama's effort to overhaul the health care system. But passing so far-reaching a bill in the House is not going to be easy either (The New York Times).

Caucuses Counting Their Votes On Chances For Public Option For Healthcare
A debate among House Democrats over whether to include a government-run health insurance option in the broader healthcare legislation now comes down to a counting exercise (The Hill).

New Focus As The Democrats Sense That Healthcare Clock Ticking Fast
Democrats at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are gripped with a renewed sense of urgency in their effort to pass healthcare reform (The Hill).

Making Sense Of The Debate On Health Care
Lawmakers are trying to crunch 2,079 pages of health-insurance overhaul proposals into a sweeping new law. As they do, some key decisions could impact your wallet and your coverage (The Wall Street Journal).

What Makes A Health Plan A 'Cadillac'?
In the scramble to find money to overhaul the health-care system, Senate Democrats have been eyeing the most generous insurance packages -- what some call the "Cadillac" plans -- as a lucrative target to tax (The Washington Post).

Compliance Uneven On Health Care Law
Audits of select Massachusetts businesses suggest that a substantial number may not be providing workers the health coverage required by the state's landmark 2006 insurance law (The Boston Globe).

Swiss Health Care Thrives Without Public Option
Like every other country in Europe, Switzerland guarantees health care for all its citizens. But the system here does not remotely resemble the model of bureaucratic, socialized medicine often cited by opponents of universal coverage in the United States (The New York Times).

Compromised Care: Nursing Homes A Risky Business
When Christopher Shelton moved into Maplewood Care nursing home in Elgin, he was just 21 years old and a violent rap sheet testified to his explosive temper. Though in the prime of life, he had a disability that qualified him for nursing home care: mental illness. To keep Shelton and others like him segregated from older, more vulnerable residents, Maplewood officials reserved rooms on the home's second floor for psychiatric patients. It was a barrier easily breached (The Chicago Tribune). 

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.

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