First Edition: November 3, 2009
Today's headlines focus on the the timing, politics, costs and contents of pending health overhaul bills, as well as a soon-to-be released GOP alternative.
Medicare Experiments To Curb Costs Seldom Implemented On A Broad Scale
The Democratic health reform legislation comes studded with cautious plans to test proposals reining in Medicare costs. But history suggests that even if the experiments are successful, the odds aren't high that their lessons will be applied to the entire program (Kaiser Health News).
Abortion Language Creates Snag For Health Bill
As health overhaul bills head toward the House and Senate floors this month, the divisive issue of abortion is threatening to derail them. Already in the House, one anti-abortion lawmaker, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), says he has enough votes to block the bill's consideration unless he is allowed to offer an amendment to strengthen language in the bill banning federal abortion funding (NPR).
Democrats' Concerns Over Abortion May Imperil Health Bill
While House leaders are moving toward a vote on health-care legislation by the end of the week, enough Democrats are threatening to oppose the measure over the issue of abortion to create a question about its passage (The Washington Post).
2 Tough Health Care Issues Remain In The House
Just a few unsolved problems - and one final sales job - stand between House Democratic leaders and a landmark vote on President Barack Obama's promised remake of the nation's health care system (The Associated Press).
Flash Points Linger In Health Bill
House Democrats are wrestling with how their health-care bill will deal with abortion and immigration issues as they prepare to bring the bill to the floor as soon as Friday (The Wall Street Journal).
Chambers Seek Common Ground On Health Care
If it seems like the public insurance option and taxes are the only major differences between the House and Senate health care bills, think again (Politico).
Reid Reassures The Left Lieberman Is On Board
Sen. Joe Lieberman has reached a private understanding with Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will not block a final vote on healthcare reform, according to two sources briefed on the matter (The Hill).
Sen. Roland Burris Hedges On Health Care Reform Vote
Appointed Democratic U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has gained some publicity on Capitol Hill for saying he won't vote for a health care reform bill that doesn't contain the so-called public option requiring private insurers to compete with a government-run plan. But on Monday, Burris was less than specific following a health care speech at Stroger Hospital when asked by reporters if he would vote for a proposal allowing states to opt out of the public option if enough competition exists among private health insurers (Chicago Tribune).
Pelosi Picks Up Centrist 'Yes' Votes In House
Centrist Democrats in the House are moving toward the "yes" column on healthcare reform, triggering optimism among leadership officials that they will soon have the votes to pass their $894-billion measure (The Hill).
Health Bill Could Slip Into Next Year
Democrats have blown so many deadlines for getting health reform done this year that insiders are increasingly skeptical they can finish by year's end - and some even suggest the effort might slip to a new deadline, before the State of the Union address (Politico).
AP Sources: House Health Bill Totals $1.2 Trillion
The health care bill headed for a vote in the House this week costs $1.2 trillion or more over a decade, according to numerous Democratic officials and figures contained in an analysis by congressional budget experts, far higher than the $900 billion cited by President Barack Obama as a price tag for his reform plan.
GOP Health Bill Focuses On Lower Costs
The Republicans' health care bill in the House focuses more on lowering costs than on expanding coverage, party leaders said Monday - setting up a stark divide between the GOP and Democrats who have made near universal coverage a top priority of their bills (Politico).
House GOP Set To Release Healthcare Bill
House Republicans are on the cusp of releasing their alternative healthcare bill, according to GOP leadership aides. They are likely to release their bill when Democrats release the manager's amendment of their healthcare bill, according to aides familiar with the GOP strategy (The Hill).
Hospitals Cite Worry On Fees In Health Bill
As Congress struggles to rein in health care costs as part of its sweeping reform efforts, hospitals in New York City and other urban areas that provide some of the most expensive care are among the primary targets (The New York Times).
Democrats Say House Bill Cuts Premiums For Many
As the House moved toward climactic votes on legislation to remake the health care system, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday that middle-income families might be required to pay 15 percent to 18 percent of their income on insurance premiums and co-payments under the proposal (The New York Times).
Senate Pressing Insurers On The Amount Of Premiums They Spend On Care
The health insurance industry likes to cite figures showing that 87 cents of every dollar in premiums is spent on medical claims (The New York Times).
Healthcare Provision Seeks To Embrace Prayer Treatments
Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses (Los Angeles Times).
What Health Care Reform Means For: The Uninsured
This story, the first in a series which is exploring how proposed health reforms will affect people facing common health care coverage situations, profiles Anne Johnson. She lost coverage for herself and her 18-year-old son in February when she lost her job as a secretary at a solar energy company, where she was earning about $25,000 per year. Shortly before she was laid off, a cardiologist told her she needs her aortic valve replaced, but without insurance she can't afford the surgery (ProPublica).
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