First Edition: October 20, 2009
A new poll finds increased support for a public insurance plan in health reform just as Senate leaders discuss and debate in closed door meetings the various versions of this approach that might still draw enough votes to gain passage.
Baucus Doubts Public Option Can Get 60 Votes In Senate
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said yesterday that the Senate is unlikely to approve major health care legislation this year that includes a pure form of the controversial government-operated insurance program, following White House signals over the weekend that President Obama did not consider the public option essential to passage of legislation this year (Kaiser Health News).
Public Option Gain Support: Clear Majority Now Backs Plan
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public (The Washington Post).
Public Option Gets New Life In Senate
The idea of creating a government-run health-insurance plan, once on life support in the Senate, is making a recovery among Democrats writing health-care legislation. So far, no one is talking about a nationwide Medicare-like plan of the sort sought by many liberals, but several variations short of a national plan are being considered (The Wall Street Journal).
Health Insurance Worries Keep Rising
The number of Americans worried about losing their current health care coverage keeps rising, even as President Barack Obama and a Democrat-led Congress strive to extend society's safety net to cover the uninsured, a new poll has found (The Associated Press).
Basic Medicare Premium To Rise 15% Next Year
The basic Medicare premium will shoot up next year by 15 percent, to $110.50 a month, federal officials said Monday (The New York Times).
Congress Wrestles With Yearly Medicare Fee Cuts
It seems just about every fall in Washington, the leaves turn, the weather cools and Congress looks for a way to avert cuts in payments to doctors in the Medicare program (NPR).
Bill Would Halt Reductions Of Medicare Payment To Doctors
In an effort to reconcile a nearly $250-billion difference between the House and Senate approaches to overhauling healthcare, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is pushing a bill to halt scheduled reductions in Medicare payments to physicians (Los Angeles Times).
Analysis: Courting Doctors In Health Care Debate
In the special interest war over health care, the White House and congressional Democrats have the nation's drug makers and hospitals generally on their side; the insurance industry, not so much (The Associated Press).
White House Pushes to Shape Health Bill
Proponents of revamping the nation's health care system will hold phone-bank events in 50 states today. Here in the nation's capital, a coalition of more than 100 liberal interest groups will convene its weekly meeting, with health care atop the agenda. Congressional leaders will seek to meld five health care bills into two for House and Senate votes (USA Today).
Tensions Rise Among Senate Democratic Leaders
A recent incident among key negotiators revealed the tension that's now gripping the Senate's Democratic leadership as it struggles for an endgame compromise on health care reform. The pressure is rising, and relationships are being tested, staffers and senators say. As the Democratic players huddle behind closed doors to hammer out a deal, nerves are a little more frayed and egos are a little more bruised than during the usual course of Senate business (Politico).
GOP Risks Becoming The Party Of 'No'
Through the summer, congressional Republicans were able to stand back and let the health care debate play out around them - watching public support for the idea plummet amid bitter town halls and Democratic infighting. But even now, as the odds grow that President Barack Obama will have a chance to sign a health reform bill, Republicans say they're content to stick by that strategy - believing they can define the Democratic plan as a bad mix of higher premiums, more taxes and cuts to Medicare (Politico).
Rift Between Obama And Chamber Of Commerce Widening
The White House is moving aggressively to remove the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from its traditional Washington role as the chief representative for big business, the latest sign of a public feud ignited by disagreement over the administration's effort to overhaul the health-care system (The Washington Post).
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