KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: December 21, 2010

Today's headlines reveal the health law challenges presented by the Senate's current deal to fund the federal government and from a antitrust suit in Michigan.  

Kaiser Health News: Innovative Day-Care Program Seeks To Keep Frail, Low-Income Seniors In Their Homes
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with The Washington Post, Susan Jaffe writes: "PACE, first authorized by Congress in the 1980s as a pilot project, is intended to help seniors stay in their homes as long as possible. If done effectively, supporters say, the program can reduce costly hospital and nursing home stays. And keeping seniors healthy can save money for Medicare, the federal program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor and disabled" (Jaffe, 12/21). Watch a related video.

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Some Policies Restrict Coverage By Limiting Visits To The Doctor
In her latest KHN consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "When examining your health benefits for the new year, you'll probably notice that your plan has eliminated lifetime and most annual dollar limits on coverage. That was mandated by the federal health-care overhaul. But for some consumers, coverage may still be restricted: Limits on the number of doctor visits or prescriptions or other services continue to be permitted and can stymie patients' efforts to get necessary care" (Andrews, 12/21). Watch a related video.

The Wall Street Journal: Funding Deal Snags Health Law
A Senate deal to fund the federal government until early March doesn't include money to enact the health-care overhaul or stepped up regulation of Wall Street, boosting Republican efforts to curb key elements of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda (Holzer, Mitchell and Adamy, 12/21).

The New York Times: Antitrust Suit In Michigan Tests Health Law
When the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in October, the unusual action was widely seen as a warning shot to dominant health insurance carriers in many other states (Abelson, 12/20).

Los Angeles Times: GOP Lawmakers Face Criticism For Opposing Sept. 11 Responders Bill
Congressional Republicans are coming under growing criticism for their opposition to a bill that would provide medical care for Sept. 11 attack responders and survivors, including ailing police officers and firefighters (Mascaro, 12/21).

Politico On Congress Blog: Coburn May Block 9/11 Bill
The Oklahoma Republican and physician -- known in the Senate as "Dr. No" for his penchant in blocking bills -- told POLITICO Monday night he wouldn't allow the bill to move quickly, saying he has problems with parts of the bill and the process Democrats are employing (Raju, 12/20).

Los Angeles Times: Congress Poised To Pass Ambitious Food-Safety Bill
In a world where we get garlic from China, shellfish from Thailand and sugar cane from Mexico, Congress is poised to approve an ambitious food safety bill that would strengthen the nation's top regulator and impose new rules on domestic production and trading partners (Zajac, 12/21).

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Nursing Homes Escape Paying Full Fines After Residents Harmed
Throughout Illinois, facilities caring for children and young adults with severe developmental disabilities have escaped serious penalties when kids have been harmed or died on their watch (Roe and Hopkins, 12/20).

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