KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: February 8, 2011

Today's headlines include reports news about possible tweaks to the CLASS Act, some Democrats' new take on the health law's individual mandate and GOP efforts to defund the overhaul.

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health:  Some Doctors Dispute Benefits Of Early Diagnosis
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, Michelle Andrews writes: "In a new book, 'Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health,' Dartmouth researchers and physicians H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin argue that the medical establishment's embrace of early diagnosis and treatment as the key to keeping people healthy actually does the opposite" (Andrews, 2/8).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Democrats On Defense As Republican Plan Attack On Health Law
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talk with KFF's Jackie Judd about the latest developments on Capitol Hill, including discussions about House Republican's plans to hold committee hearings this week on the health law's provisions governing Medicare, abortion and small business (27). Watch the video.

Kaiser Health News: Sebelius Vows To Ensure CLASS Program Is Financially Viable
Kaiser Health News staff writer Marilyn Werber Serafini reports: "The Obama administration is working aggressively to fend off critics of the CLASS Act, a voluntary insurance program created by the new health law to help individuals who require long-term care remain in the community. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today promised to pursue changes to ensure the program is financially self-sustaining into the future" (Werber Serafini, 2/7).

Kaiser Health News Column: '1099' Repeal Speaks Volumes About ObamaCare
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Michael Cannon writes: "When 34 Senate Democrats joined all 47 Republicans last week to repeal ObamaCare's 1099 reporting requirement, their votes confirmed what their talking points still deny: ObamaCare will increase the deficit, no matter what the official cost projections say" (2/7).

Politico: A New Dem Threat To Health Care Law
A handful of moderate Senate Democrats are looking for ways to roll back the highly contentious individual mandate - the pillar of President Barack Obama's health care law - a sign that red-state senators are prepared to assert their independence ahead of the 2012 elections (Raju, 2/7).

Politico: GOP Hedges On Health Care Funds
House Republicans say they're all on the same page about wanting to choke off funding for President Barack Obama's health care law, but in their first real spending bill of 2011, it looks like they're leaving that priority on the cutting room floor (Nather and Sherman, 2/8).

The Washington Post: Health-Care Law Supporters Tap Democratic Strategist To Defend It
Supporters of the new health-care law have tapped a top Democratic strategist to help defend it against Republican criticism as they settle in for what many expect will be a protracted battle to shape the public's view of the law through the 2012 elections and beyond. …  The initiative is being headed by Paul Tewes, a political consultant who directed field operations in key states for President Obama's campaign (Aizenman, 2/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Officials Might Tweak Health-Law Program
The Obama administration is looking at modifying a workers' long-term-care insurance program included in last year's health-care overhaul, responding to criticism that the plan is fiscally unsustainable (Adamy, 2/8).

The Washington Post: Governors From Both Parties Plan Painful Cuts Amid Budget Crises
Democratic and Republican governors alike are sounding similar themes, as they slash once sacrosanct programs such as those covering education, health care for the poor and aid to hard-pressed local governments. Cutbacks on the state and local levels are expected to be a major drag on the economic recovery (Fletcher, 2/7).

The Wall Street Journal: Florida Governor Seeks Cuts In Budget
Gov. Rick Scott called Monday for overhauling Florida's Medicaid program, curbing its pension system and trimming government services as he detailed a budget proposal he had promised would be full of big cuts (Campo-Flores and Levitz, 2/8).

Politico: Abortion Rights Forces Mobilize
A pair of House hearings on abortion legislation beginning Monday riled forces on both sides of the issue that are gearing up for a fierce fight (Kliff, 2/8).

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