First Edition: February 24, 2010
Today's headlines focus on the run-up to tomorrow's White House health summit as well as the latest from Capitol Hill regarding the outlook for health reform.
The Democrats' 2010 Health Reform Plan Evokes 1993 Republican Bill
In 1993, at the height of President Bill Clinton's health care reform initiative, Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., along with 19 other Republicans and two Democrats, put forth a bill which was considered the major GOP proposal. One of the co-sponsors was then-Sen. Dave Durenberger, R-Minn. The bill, just like the Democratic version, never passed. But in a sense, it's been revived this year. KHN's Maggie Mertens spoke with Durenberger (Kaiser Health News). Read a summary of the 1993 bill.
The Antitrust Exemption For Health Insurers: Meaningful Or Not?
In this updated story, Kaiser Health News staff writer Jenny Gold details the dynamics of the exemption. "With comprehensive health care legislation foundering in Congress, the House is turning to a narrower piece of legislation that lawmakers hope has widespread, populist appeal: repealing the antitrust exemption for health insurers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will vote on the legislation this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday" (Kaiser Health News).
Obama Hopes Summit Propels Health Care Overhaul
NPR News Analyst Juan Williams talks to Steve Inskeep about the political aims and perils of President Obama's bipartisan health care summit tomorrow (NPR).
Democrats On Track To Revive Healthcare Overhaul
On the eve of President Obama's planned healthcare summit, Democratic lawmakers are increasingly confident that they can resurrect their sweeping overhaul legislation after weeks of uncertainty about whether they could overcome the unified opposition of Republicans (Los Angeles Times).
GOP Expects Little From Obama's Health Forum
Republican Congressional leaders on Tuesday rejected President Obama's challenge to come up with a single comprehensive proposal to achieve his goal of guaranteeing health insurance for nearly all Americans (The New York Times).
Republicans Plan To Stress Private-Sector Alternatives To The President's Plan
Republicans are preparing to use Thursday's White House health-care summit to sell their own ideas for using the private marketplace to expand coverage and reduce costs, but they remain wary of fumbling away what they believe is an advantage on the issue heading into this year's critical midterm elections (The Washington Post).
Dems, GOP: Summit Will Not Break Logjam On Health
Here's one point on which Democrats and Republicans agree on health care: President Barack Obama's much-touted televised summit has virtually no chance of breaking the political logjam. That means Democrats will be forced to find a way to pass an overhaul on their own or face a huge political defeat (The Associated Press).
For Dems And GOP Alike, Optics Are Everything
The GOP's first demand for Thursday's health care summit was simple. No podium. They wanted the six-hour talks to take place around a table with House and Senate members sitting at the same height as President Barack Obama, according to a senior Senate GOP aide (Politico).
Obama's Task: Deliver One Message To Five Audiences
President Barack Obama's "summit" Thursday is officially billed as a meeting of the minds with congressional Republicans - but, in truth, Republicans are the least of his concerns (Politico).
Impact Of Bipartisan Summit To be Felt Beyond Health Care
Lights. Camera. Traction. That's what President Obama will be seeking Thursday at a televised summit with Republicans and Democrats on his stalled effort to revamp America's health care system (USA Today).
Democrats Warm To Obama's Plan To Pass Health Bill
Democrats in Congress showed signs of enthusiasm for passing a health care bill yesterday after President Obama offered his own proposal Monday. But it remained far from clear whether they could muster enough votes to pass a bill, and the political focus remained on tomorrow's "summit" between Obama and congressional Republicans, which is threatening to become more of a showdown than a sober policy debate (The Boston Globe).
Gentle White House Nudges Test The Power Of Persuasion
Tempers were fraying in the White House Cabinet Room as night turned into morning on Jan. 15. President Obama had been cloistered nearly all day with House and Senate Democrats, playing "marriage counselor," an aide said, as he coaxed, cajoled and prodded them on a health care overhaul (The New York Times).
Health Bill Faces Big Hurdles In House
The sweeping health-care package unveiled this week by the White House appears to face big hurdles in the House, with abortion and unease among moderates potential stumbling blocks to winning passage of the legislation (The Wall Street Journal).
Economic Scene: On Eve Of Health Meeting, Big Questions Still Linger
Three years ago this month, a presidential candidate - John Edwards, as a matter of fact - started a debate on health reform by announcing a plan to cover the uninsured. Since then, we've had an election, town hall meetings, speeches, Congressional hearings and a special election in Massachusetts (The New York Times).
Health Care No Stranger To Reconciliation Process
To reconcile or not to reconcile - when it comes to a health overhaul bill, that seems to be the biggest argument of the moment (NPR).
Senate Dems Warm To Reconciliation
An idea that seemed toxic only weeks ago - using a parliamentary tactic to ram health reform through the Senate - is gaining acceptance among moderate Democrats who have resisted the strategy but now say GOP opposition may force their hands (Politico).
Perennial Feud Remains On Abortion
Many obstacles need to be cleared if the Democrats are to pass their health-care legislation, but one of the toughest will be the persistent issue of abortion (The Wall Street Journal).
Democrats Give Up The Fight - Public Option For Healthcare Is Dead
After months on life support, the public option died Tuesday. The White House and House leaders on Tuesday pronounced the government-run health program dead even as some Democratic senators continued their effort to resurrect it (The Hill).
Anthem Blue Cross Plans To Go Ahead With Rate Hikes In California
Executives from California health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross, under fire for scheduled rate hikes of up to 39%, insisted Tuesday that their premiums were fair and legal, and they told lawmakers they expected that the increases would go forward (Los Angeles Times).
Obama Backs Bill To Boost Competition Among Health Insurers
The Obama administration took another swipe at health insurers Tuesday, announcing it "strongly supports" House legislation that would lift the antitrust exemption of the health insurance industry (The Christian Science Monitor).
Lobbyists Swarm Capitol To Influence Health Reform
When President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leadership on Thursday to jump start stalled health reform efforts, industry lobbyists will not be in the room. But if the successful 2009 lobbying effort to influence health reform legislation is any indication, special interests will be well represented (The Center For Public Integrity).
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