KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: August 10, 2010

In today's news, the House is back in town... though just for a day. Lawmakers will consider a state aid package that includes $16 billion in federal Medicaid assistance.

Insuring Your Health: Health Law Expands Medicare Coverage Of Preventive Care
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "Preventive health care is important at any age, but never more so than as we get older. Many of the major cancers that can be screened for - such as breast and colorectal cancer - are typically diagnosed at about age 70. After age 55, people have a 90 percent chance of developing high blood pressure, putting them at higher risk for heart disease and stroke" (Kaiser Health News).

Obama's Health Care Hard Sell
Despite the administration's focus on persuading seniors that the health care law is a good deal for them, there are increasing signs that they are not being swayed (Politico). 

Pay Practices In Health Care Are Investigated
The Obama administration is investigating pay practices throughout the health care industry after finding that many hospitals and nursing homes do not pay proper overtime to nurses and other employees who work more than 40 hours a week (The New York Times).

House Moves To Help Teachers, Public Workers
Hoping to show disenchanted voters that they are the party that cares about jobs, House Democrats are convening an emergency session to pass a bill aimed at saving hundreds of thousands of teachers and other public workers from unemployment. … The other half of the bill has $16 billion for six more months of increased Medicaid payments to the states. That would free up money for states to meet other budget priorities, including keeping more than 150,000 police officers and other public workers on the payroll. Some three-fifths of states have already factored in the federal money in drawing up their budgets for the current fiscal year (The Associated Press).

House Democrats Return From Brief Recess For Unfinished Business
House Democrats are set to approve $26 billion in emergency state aid, fight off a lame-duck lockout and pass a border-security bill before they wrap up their work period Tuesday and repack their bags for home. The unusual August work session was prompted by the Senate's surprise passage last week - after the House had recessed until mid-September - of a $26 billion package of teacher and Medicaid funding for states (The Hill).

Food Stamp Cuts Hard For Dems To Digest
As they prepare to slash food stamps to pay for Medicaid and teachers' salaries, House Democrats are facing up to a harsh reality: To save some social programs, they'll have to sacrifice others (Politico). 

Former Anthem Blue Cross President Says She Fought 39% Rate Hikes
The abrupt resignation last month of Anthem Blue Cross' president is offering a glimpse of an internal struggle that has roiled California's largest for-profit health insurer for months (Los Angeles Times). 

Statistics: Who Visits The Emergency Room? 20 Percent Of Americans, Insured Or Not
Americans, insured and not, make ample use of hospital emergency rooms: One out of every five visited an E.R. at least once in 2007, the latest year for which the National Center for Health Statistics has data (The New York Times).

As Older People Grow In Numbers, Experts Seek Ways To Handle The Coming Boom
By 2050, nearly 90 million Americans will have passed age 65, and every corner of society will feel the impact. With our inadequate health-care workforce, outmoded retirement ideas and rigid housing policies, how can our country prepare? Beyond rethinking ways to ensure retirement savings (mandatory government savings plans?) and redefining retirement (phased retirements? working longer?), researchers and professionals are trying out, and in some cases reviving, some ideas (The Washington Post).

Companies Help Employees Provide End-Of-Life Care
Juggling a caregiving role with a full-time job is daunting. But it can be even more difficult working during the end stages of a loved one's life. Some companies are exploring end-of-life initiatives to help their employees manage the ultimate transition (NPR).

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.