KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: February 9, 2010

Today's headlines reveal more reactions to President Obama's bi-partisan health care summit. Chief among them are low expectations.

For Senior Care, Sometimes It Does Take A Village
In an article for Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post, Howard Gleckman writes about elder villages. "Nearly three years ago, Harry Rosenberg and his wife, Barbara Filner, met with nine of their neighbors about starting an aging-in-place "village" in the Burning Tree community of Bethesda, Maryland. The idea: If neighbors could help one another with basic services such as transportation and simple home maintenance and with friendly visits, people could stay in their homes longer as they aged" (Kaiser Health News).

Sebelius To GOP: 'Don't Get Wrong Impression' About Obama Health Summit
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "A day after President Barack Obama invited Republicans in Congress to a bipartisan health care summit, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said no one should get the wrong impression. "A lot of people ask if this is starting over (on a health overhaul), the answer is absolutely not," she said Monday in a talk at the AcademyHealth policy conference in Washington" (Kaiser Health News).

No High Hopes For Health Care Summit
Immediately after President Barack Obama announced a bipartisan health reform summit, Democrats and Republicans made clear they have almost no expectation the half-day meeting can break a bitter yearlong standoff (Politico).

Expectations Low For Obama's Health Care Summit
President Obama's plan to hold a televised health overhaul summit with Republicans and Democrats is still more than two weeks away, but reviews of the get-together are already in. And they're not optimistic (NPR).

Obama Health Summit Sets Up A Showdown
President Obama's call for a televised bipartisan meeting to discuss stalled healthcare legislation comes as his party unfolds a strategy to force Republicans to put policy ideas on the table that Democrats believe they can exploit in the fall elections (Los Angeles Times).

Top House Republicans Throw Cold Water On Health Care Summit
Leading House Republicans raised the prospect Monday night that they might refuse to participate in President Obama's proposed health care summit if the White House chooses not to scrap the existing reform bills and start over (The Washington Post).

GOP Wary Of Pitfalls In Obama's Health Care Summit
Even as Republicans publicly welcome President Barack Obama's call for a bipartisan confab on health care, some privately worry that he might be laying a trap to portray their ideas as flimsy (The Associated Press).

Leverage Sought In Health Care
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) made their concerns clear in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel highly critical of the White House approach to health care. If the Democratic bills are the starting point for discussion, they wrote, then Republicans would "rightly be reluctant to participate" (The Wall Street Journal).
GOP Leaders: Don't Use Current Bills For Summit Starting Point
House Republican leaders said Monday the healthcare summit should not use House and Senate bills as a starting point (The Hill).

On Health Bill, GOP's Road Is A New Map
When Republicans take President Obama up on his invitation to hash out their differences over health care this month, they will carry with them a fairly well-developed set of ideas intended to make health insurance more widely available and affordable, by emphasizing tax incentives and state innovations, with no new federal mandates and only a modest expansion of the federal safety net (The New York Times).

GOP Cool To Obama's Offer To Meet On Healthcare Reform
President Obama has invited Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to meet him on Feb. 25 for a televised discussion of healthcare reform alternatives. Will this be the spark needed to get the administration's top domestic priority moving again? (The Christian Science Monitor).

Bills Stalled, Hospitals Fear Rising Unpaid Care
President Obama says he aims to keep trying. But what happens if the health care legislation cannot be revived, and tens of millions of uninsured Americans continue without coverage? (The New York Times).

Obama Official 'Very Disturbed' By Anthem Blue Cross Rate Hikes
California insurance regulators asked Anthem Blue Cross to delay controversial rate increases of as much as 39% for individual policies, hikes that have triggered widespread criticism from subscribers and brokers -- and now from the federal government (Los Angeles Times).

Calif. Insurer's Rate Increases Draw Attention Of Federal Government
President Obama's secretary of health and human services fired off a sharply worded letter to a California insurer Monday, demanding to know why it is raising rates for individual policyholders by as much as 39 percent (The Washington Post).

States Ready For Health Care Returns
President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats may be stymied in their drive for health care reform. But state lawmakers in at least three dozen states are pushing ahead with a series of measures aimed at pre-empting whatever might come out of Washington (Politico).

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