KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: October 13, 2009 – Senate Finance Vote Today

All eyes are watching for the outcome of today's Senate Finance Committee health bill vote. Will the measure pass? How will Sen. Olympia Snowe vote? And what about that insurance industry report?  

Health Reform Proposals Enhance Children's Dental Care
Pediatric dental care, long a concern of children's health advocates, is poised to get a major boost with each of the Democratic health reform proposals (Kaiser Health News). Related content: Children's Dental Health, By The Numbers.

Selling Sickness: How Drug Ads Changed Health Care
David Couper went to his doctor after watching a small green creature jump up and down on the nail of an infected toe. For Anne Nissan, a 17-year-old in Prescott, Ariz., the image that stayed with her was of a party. Women were on a roof in a city, pimple-free and laughing, utterly unbothered by the cramps that immobilized her once a month. And then there is Samantha Saveri, a transportation planner in Baltimore. She remembers bunnies and the promise of digestive regularity. Three different people in three different places were all driven to contact their doctors after watching an ad for a prescription medication on television. Each walked into a doctor's office with a specific request, and walked out with a prescription for exactly the medication they desired (NPR).

Democrats Call Insurance Industry Report Flawed
Obama administration officials and Congressional Democrats fired back on Monday at a new insurance industry report that said premiums would climb sharply with the passage of comprehensive health legislation (The New York Times).

Insurance Dispute Heats Up Before Vote
Tensions between the White House and insurers exploded into open warfare Monday, with the two sides arguing over what the financial impact of comprehensive health-care legislation moving through Congress would be for average Americans (The Washington Post).

Insurers Push Back As Senate Health Vote Nears
Democrats are poised Tuesday to push health-overhaul legislation through the influential Senate Finance Committee, but they face new hurdles from insurers ratcheting up concerns about the sweeping bill (The Wall Street Journal).

Insurers Face Blowback After Report
In the health care reform debate, where playing nice has been the rule, a scathing insurance industry report looked to critics Monday like a grenade aimed at scuttling progress in Congress (Politico).

As Panel Votes Today, Democrats Look Ahead
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a landmark vote on health-care reform legislation Tuesday that is expected to underscore the deep partisan divisions that have emerged and hardened over five months of debate (The Washington Post).

Senate In The Home Stretch On Its Healthcare Reform Bill
An intense, final push is on for a version of healthcare reform to take to the floor of the Senate (The Christian Science Monitor).

Health Care Bill Faces Key Vote In Senate
President Obama's effort to revamp the nation's $2.6 trillion health care system faces a critical vote Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee that sets the stage for the next series of arduous negotiations Congress must take to finish a health care bill this year (USA Today).

Grassley Opposes Health Bill
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley plans to oppose health care legislation in the Senate Finance Committee today, arguing that the bill hits consumers and small businesses too hard while not guarding against politically sensitive side effects. Grassley, the committee's ranking Republican, said he has no regrets about working with majority Democrats on the committee, only to oppose the bill. Given more time, he might have struck a deal, he said (Des Moines Register).

Universal Healthcare Coverage Appears Elusive
As a key Senate committee prepares today to pass its plan to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, senior Democrats are acknowledging that it may be impossible to provide coverage to all Americans -- a central goal of President Obama and his congressional allies (Los Angeles Times).

Crunch Time For K Street On Healthcare
Powerful health industry groups that have held back in their criticisms of specific reform proposals will soon have to choose whether to endorse, or formally oppose, President Barack Obama's top domestic priority (The Hill).

Congress Is Split On Effort To Tax Costly Health Plans
A proposed tax on high-cost, or "Cadillac," health insurance plans has touched off a fierce clash between the Senate and the House as they wrestle over how to pay for legislation that would provide health benefits to millions of uninsured Americans (The New York Times).

Dems Infight Over Health Bill Funding
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a tax problem: The so-called millionaire's tax that her fellow House Democrats want to use to pay for the bulk of their health care legislation won't keep pace with rising costs (Politico).

Employers Are Pushing Ineligible Dependents Out Of Plans
Call it a sign of the times: A growing number of area employers, including the Commonwealth of Virginia, Johns Hopkins University and the Navy Federal Credit Union, are cracking down on workers who enroll ex-spouses, over-age children, grandchildren and others not entitled to coverage under their health plan. It's a cost-control strategy that Ford, AT&T and other Fortune 500 companies have used for years (The Washington Post).

Mayo Clinic Faulted For Limiting Medicare Patients
The renowned Mayo Clinic is no longer accepting some Medicare and Medicaid patients, raising new questions about whether it is too selective to serve as a model for health-care reform (The Washington Post).

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