KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: July 22, 2009

Today's headlines focus on the continuing political divisions and negotiations surrounding health overhaul efforts, and President Obama's plan to take to airwaves tonight to rally support. 

Local Hospitals And Doctors Join Forces To Improve Health Care, Restrain Costs
Communities across the country aren't waiting for Congress to take action to improve health care quality and contain costs (Kaiser Health News).

Conservative Democrats Push Health Bill Changes
Fiscally conservative House Democrats forced leaders of their party on Tuesday to slow the pace of work on major health care legislation so Congress and President Obama could address their concerns about the cost of the bill, its impact on small businesses and the shape of a proposed new government health insurance plan (New York Times).

Waxman, Blue Dogs Strike Deal On Costs
Moderate House Democrats and a key committee chairman emerged from a three-hour meeting at the White House on Tuesday with a tentative agreement to give an outside panel - rather than Congress - the power to make cuts to government-financed health care programs (Politico).

Political Divisions Intensify Over Costs Of Health Reform
President Obama pushed back today against stepped-up Republican efforts to question his health reform agenda. Meanwhile, lawmakers in the House and Senate continued to try to hammer out a way to pay for health care reform. After an update of the day's news, four members of key congressional committees discuss the divides on Capitol Hill (The News Hour With Jim Lehrer).

Dems At Odds On How To Turn Tide On Health
House Democrats' drive to overhaul the nation's healthcare system sputtered Tuesday, fueling doubts that the complex legislation can be passed before lawmakers leave town for the August recess (The Hill).

If A Healthcare Bill Passes, This Group Might Be Why
As Congress presses toward an August recess, two campaigns for healthcare reform are shifting into overdrive on Capitol Hill. One is public, hot, and deeply partisan, with one Republican senator saying healthcare could be Obama's Waterloo, and Democrats accusing Republicans of playing politics with Americans' health…. The other campaign, however, is fluid, complex, and even collegial. That's the bid to find what's doable on healthcare during the next few months on Capitol Hill. It comes from a shifting group of lawmakers in the Senate Finance Committee. (Christian Science Monitor).

Challenge To Health Bill: Selling Reform
What's in it for me? On the subject of health care reform, most Americans probably don't have a good answer to the question. And that, obviously, is a problem for the White House and for Democratic leaders in Congress (New York Times).

Like Care Insurance, Health Coverage May Be Mandated
President Obama's dream of dramatically remaking the nation's health-care system is still a long way from reality. But if lawmakers can reach an accord, one thing is virtually certain: For the first time ever, every American would be required to carry health insurance (Washington Post).

Obama Urges Action, Not Just Politics, On Healthcare
Urging lawmakers to move quickly to overhaul American healthcare, President Obama on Tuesday criticized the "politics of the moment" and said some in Congress were trying to put off decisions on legislation "until special interests can kill it" (LA Times).

Obama Ups Ante On Health
President Barack Obama is significantly raising his personal stake in the effort to overhaul America's health-care system, as Democrats and the public express growing unease about the costs (Wall Street Journal).

Obama Courts Health Plan Skeptics Tonight
After weeks of bad news about costs, the defection of moderate Democrats, and a negative drumbeat from Republicans, President Obama will use a televised news conference tonight in a bid to shore up public support for his sweeping plan to cover the uninsured and reform the healthcare system (Boston Globe).

Obama To Hit Airwaves As Health Care Plan Wanes
President Obama will take to the bully pulpit tonight as his signature ambition to remake the health care system reaches a tipping point on Capitol Hill, his poll numbers are slipping, and the health care debate moves into open-throttle political warfare (San Francisco Chronicle).

Obama May Have To Wait For Health Care Passage
After more than week of tirelessly pressuring Congress to move his top domestic priority, it appears increasingly likely President Barack Obama may have to settle for a fallback strategy on health care overhaul (Associated Press).

Abortion Roils Already Tense Health Debate
A coalition of anti-abortion groups is set to open a new front against Democrats' efforts to restructure American health care, claiming the plans open a back door to publicly financed abortions (Politico).

Health Bill A Boon To Doctors
House Democrats want to give doctors a $245 billion sweetener that helps ensure their critical support for a health care overhaul bill. Next up: trying to explain how they could do it without breaking President Barack Obama's promise that health legislation won't increase the federal deficit (Associated Press/Washington Post).

Costly Drugs Known As Biologics Prompt Exclusivity Debate
A bitter Congressional fight over the cost of super expensive biotechnology drugs has come down to a single, hotly debated number: How many years should makers of those drugs be exempt from generic competition? (New York Times) 

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