First Edition: June 1, 2010
A number of today's headlines focus on the continuing role of health reform in national political calculations and strategies.
Insuring Your Health: Health Care Tax Credit Comes With Benefits, Strings For Small Businesses
In her latest Kaiser Health News consumer column, which also appears in The Washington Post, Michelle Andrews explores the impact of the new health law on small businesses. She writes: "If you own a small business and are struggling to pay for employees' health insurance, the new health-care law could provide quick financial help. The smallest businesses could get temporary tax credits that effectively pay for up to 35 percent of their premium contributions. Slightly larger businesses could get smaller credits" (Kaiser Health News).
Insurance Industry Faces Tough Scrutiny From Federal Watchdogs
In a story produced in collaboration with The Washington Post, Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby writes: "Pounded by the Obama administration for raising premiums, health insurers must now reckon with a foursome of longtime industry watchdogs who are helping steer the federal government's effort to overhaul the private insurance market" (Kaiser Health News).
Americans May Give Health Care Law A Chance
Toss it or fix it? Anxious backers of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law are starting to see a flicker of hope. While polls show Americans remain sharply divided over the Democrats' landmark legislation, they aren't clamoring for its repeal (The Associated Press).
GOP Sees A Way To Revive Old Debate
President Barack Obama spent the last year insisting he doesn't want to turn the American health care system into a carbon copy of the government-run British system. But Obama's pick to run Medicaid and Medicare - Donald Berwick - is a pediatrician and Harvard University professor with a self-professed "love" of the British system (Politico).
Senate Dems Urged To Win Back Seniors
Senate Democrats, wary of losing an important constituency, are using their week-long Memorial Day recess to reach out to senior citizens. The Senate adjourned Friday without acting to prevent a 21.3 percent scheduled cut in Medicaid payments to doctors, and lawmakers are still recovering from the divisive debate over the healthcare reform bill, which was unpopular with many seniors (The Hill).
Union Fails In Move Aimed At N.C. Democrats Who Opposed Health Bill
A defiant move by one of the nation's most powerful unions to help oust Democrats who voted against the health care bill by establishing a third political party in North Carolina has failed because organizers did not collect enough signatures to qualify for the November midterm elections (The Washington Post).
Graduates May See Coverage Gap After All
Amid a flurry of publicity, dozens of the nation's insurers announced this spring that they would put into effect a popular provision of the new health law ahead of schedule. Instead of dropping young adults from their parents' health plans when they graduated this spring, insurers said they could stay on. Early implementation was a welcome graduation gift for many families. Or so they thought (The New York Times).
Sen. Dorgan Faces Powerful Opponent On Drug Reimportation
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) faces a powerful opponent if he brings up drug reimportation as an amendment to the food safety bill (The Hill).
Medtronic Voluntarily Discloses Doctor Pay
Medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. disclosed that it made payments of more than $15.7 million in royalties and consulting fees to U.S. doctors in the first quarter, the first time the big Minneapolis company has provided such details (The Wall Street Journal).
Birth Control Now A Flash Point
As health reform regulations begin to take shape, Planned Parenthood has begun a quiet campaign to ensure that birth control is counted among the free preventive services that health insurers must cover under the Affordable Care Act (Politico).
911 Program Could Ease Emergency Room Problems
Hoping to ease crowded emergency rooms and trim ambulance runs, Louisville Metro Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has launched a program that aims to screen low-priority calls and divert patients from hospitals into more appropriate health care (USA Today).
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