First Edition: July 28, 2009
Today's headlines highlight health reform's bipartisan progress in the Senate, and Democratic delays in the House.
Just Rewards? Healthy Workers Might Get Bigger Insurance Breaks
Employers and health insurers could give larger discounts to employees who lose weight or lower their cholesterol under a health care overhaul proposal that's being assailed by AARP, the American Heart Association and other groups that fear it could result in higher premiums for people who don't achieve those fitness goals (Kaiser Health News).
Debate Focuses On A Satisfied Majority
With the Obama administration's top domestic priority struggling in Congress, supporters and opponents of the health-care proposals are focusing on the constituency that both sides agree has become pivotal to the debate: the majority of Americans who have health insurance and are generally satisfied with their care (Washington Post).
AP Sources: Senators Near Bipartisan Health Deal
A bipartisan group of senators is closing in on a health care compromise that omits key Democratic priorities but seeks to hold down costs, as lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol labor to deliver sweeping health legislation to President Barack Obama (Associated Press).
Senators Progress As House Delays Again On Health Bill
A bipartisan group of senators on Monday reported progress toward agreement on a compromise health care overhaul while the House speaker suggested that any House vote on a health plan would be delayed until more was known of the Senate approach (New York Times).
Core Issues Still Divide Democrats In The House
Prospects dimmed for getting a full House vote on a consensus health-care bill this week, despite stepped-up efforts Monday by Democratic leaders in the chamber (Wall Street Journal).
Health Reform Slides As House Democrats Try To Heal Rift
Conceding that she needs more time to pull together House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the House will complete healthcare reform this year, but not on President Obama's timetable (Christian Science Monitor).
Health Policy Now Carved Out At A More Centrist Table
On the agenda is the revamping of the American health care system, possibly the most complex legislation in modern history. But on the table, in a conference room where the bill is being hashed out by six senators, the snacks are anything but healthy (New York Times).
Dems Race August Clock
Democratic leaders launched an education campaign Monday to try to save dwindling hopes for a House vote on healthcare legislation before the August recess (The Hill).
Could Benchmarks Save Reform Push?
When the United States goes to war in Iraq or Afghanistan, the first cry for many is to establish benchmarks to measure progress. Why can't the same be done in health care reform, a huge social endeavor that will take years before it is up and running? (Politico)
Cutting Repeat Hospital Trips -- Simple Idea, Hard To Pull Off
The government spends an estimated $12 billion a year on "potentially preventable" readmissions for Medicare patients, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent congressional agency. U.S. leaders are trying to reduce such costs as they wrangle this week over how to retool the country's health-care system. Though private insurers also pay for readmissions, these charges are especially prevalent among the elderly covered by Medicare (Wall Street Journal).
Healthcare Debate's Next Hurdle: Abortion
With House leaders struggling to reach agreement on healthcare legislation, aiming toward a possible vote this week, a new hurdle has emerged: abortion (LA Times).
Rural Medical Camp Tackles Health Care Gaps
For the past 10 years, during late weekends in July, the fairgrounds in Wise have been transformed into a mobile and makeshift field hospital providing free care for those in need. Sanitized horse stalls become draped examination rooms. A poultry barn is fixed with optometry equipment. And a vast, open-air pavilion is crammed with dozens of portable dental chairs and lamps (National Public Radio).
Mass. Medical Leaders Wary Of Healthcare Overhaul's Cost
If you want to know how the proposed overhaul of the US healthcare system may play out nationally, talk to top executives at the biggest medical and life sciences companies in Massachusetts (Boston Globe).
Med Center Leaders Say Slow Down On Health Reform
In their first unified voice on the subject, Texas Medical Center leaders Monday sent a message to Congress as it tries to reform America's troubled health care system: slow down (Houston Chronicle).
Vermont Could Be Guide On Health Care
Vermont has "one of the most innovative models of prevention and care coordination in the country," one that could be a guide for Congress as it debates an overhaul to the nation's health care system, says Kenneth Thorpe of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (USA Today).
S.C. Senator Is A Voice Of Reform Opposition
As anxiety about health-care reform was being expressed Monday on the medical center's campus in this conservative suburb of South Carolina's capital, Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) was sharpening his opposition to President Obama's attempt to overhaul the health-care industry (Washington Post).
Dodd's Uneasy Dance With Drug Lobbyists
As Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut assumes a central role in the debate over health care, the pharmaceutical industry has helped finance efforts to bolster his image back home as he braces for a potentially bruising re-election contest (New York Times).
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