KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: April 27, 2010

Today's headlines focus on the details of health reform that continue to emerge -- including states' reactions to high risk pools and questions about the sweeping expansion of Medicaid.

A Bitter Pill To Swallow
Reporting for Kaiser Health News in collaboration with The Washington Post, Sandra Boodman writes: "When Jere Carpentier learned last year that she had advanced colon cancer -- her third malignancy in a dozen years -- she worried about spending hours in a clinic tethered to an intravenous line, enduring punishing chemotherapy that would make her hair fall out. Her veins ruined by earlier treatments, Carpentier was elated when her oncologist said this time she could avoid needles and take a pill at home that would specifically target the cancer cells and spare her hair" (Boodman, 4/27). Watch the related video.

With Expanded Coverage For The Poor, Fears Of A Big Headache
Of all the changes wrought by the new health care law, none is more sweeping than the transformation of Medicaid - from the government's health insurance plan for poor families into a much wider program for millions of the poorest Americans who cannot afford insurance on their own (The New York Times).

Some Families Will Face Wait To Cover Young Adults
President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was supposed to take care of a major worry for parents of 20-year-olds making the transition to work: keeping the kids insured (The Associated Press).

States Fret High-Risk Health Pools
The first real test of how cooperative the states will be in implementing the massive new health care reform law comes on Friday, and early indications are that it's going to be at best a bumpy road (Politico).

Inquiry Says Health Care Charges Were Proper
When major companies declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings, Democrats were skeptical. But after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results (The New York Times).

Presidential Commission To Address Rising National Debt
Republicans and Democrats alike say the fiscal challenges have been too long ignored. But with the two parties feuding over health-care reform, Wall Street regulation and a host of other issues -- and the economy still uncertain after a deep recession -- there is considerable doubt that they could join hands to fend off a still-distant potential crisis (The Washington Post).

Liberals Battle For Benefits
A liberal lawmaker on the White House fiscal commission warned its Republican co-chairman against relying on cuts to seniors' entitlement benefits to craft a plan to rein in the deficit (The Hill).

Nurturing Leaders For Health Care
The United States spends about $2.5 trillion a year on health care. That equates to about 17 percent of its annual economic output, nearly double the average for developed countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, while producing some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world (The New York Times).

Hospitals Probed Over Bid-Rigging
Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that bid rigging and fraud at Mount Sinai Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital resulted in the hospitals awarding contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to outside contractors (The Wall Street Journal).

The Heart Disease Trifecta
Nearly half of all adult Americans have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, all conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday (Los Angeles Times).

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