First Edition: January 13, 2010
Today's health policy headlines include reports about House Democrats' work to advance their positions in ongoing health bill negotiations as well as the latest news on the reform measure's employer mandate and health exchanges.
Chamber Of Commerce Says Health Fight Over -- But Sees Room To Maneuver
KHN staff writer Phil Galewitz reports on the latest perspectives on health reform from the Chamber. "Despite unleashing a new round of TV spots last week that blasts congressional Democrats' health overhaul, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce acknowledged at a media briefing Tuesday that the fight is just about over" (Kaiser Health News).
Congress Fights Healthcare Fatigue To Finish Bill
Facing an electorate more worried about jobs and the economy than healthcare, House and Senate Democrats have stepped up efforts to get a compromise bill to President Obama by the end of the month (Los Angeles Times).
House Dems Mount Health Assault
Furious with the Senate and desperate to regain a foothold in the health care debate, a wave of rank-and-file House Democrats assailed the Senate's tax on high-end health care plans Tuesday night, on the eve of a critical White House meeting with the president (Politico).
Obama, Congressional Democrats Meeting On Health
With congressional negotiators starting to make decisions on a final health overhaul bill, top Democrats are hoping a White House session with President Barack Obama will narrow differences between the House and Senate (The Associated Press).
Pelosi, Hoyer, Panel Chairmen Will Represent House On Health Reform
House Democrats have opted to send five of their biggest guns to the healthcare negotiating table to iron out a deal with the Senate, according to a House leadership aide (The Hill).
Support Grows For U.S. Health Exchange
The White House wants to include a national health-insurance exchange in the health bill, which would give House Democrats one of their top remaining demands, according to an official involved in the discussions (The Wall Street Journal).
Labor Campaigns Against Tax On Health Plans
Having failed to persuade President Obama to scrap a proposed tax on high-cost health insurance policies, labor leaders took their case Tuesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and they said they received a more favorable response (The New York Times).
Rangel: Dems Face 'Serious Problems' On Healthcare Reform
Congressional Democrats face "serious problems" in getting a healthcare reform bill to the president's desk, according to a House panel chairman (The Hill).
AP Sources: Employer Health Mandate May Be Dropped
House and Senate negotiators working on President Barack Obama's health overhaul bill appear likely to drop a proposed income tax increase on high-wage earners and possibly jettison a requirement for large businesses to offer coverage to their employees, Democratic officials said Tuesday (The Associated Press/The Washington Post).
Health Bill May Be Lenient On Employers
Democratic leaders negotiating a compromise health care bill appear likely to reject a House provision requiring employers to offer generous coverage to their workers or else pay a steep payroll tax, specialist say (The Boston Globe).
Congress Debates Medicare Payroll Tax
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are still looking for ways to pay for the health bill. Democrats are considering a proposal to extend the Medicare payroll tax to dividend and investment income (NPR).
Economic Scene: Lack Of Medicare Chief Is A Strike Against Reform
Almost a year after taking office, President Obama has not yet nominated anybody to run Medicare (The New York Times).
Talks To Begin On Creating a Bipartisan Budget Panel
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will begin talks this week with leading lawmakers about creating a bipartisan budget commission, an idea that has long languished in Congress but could become central to the Obama administration's promise to reduce annual deficits (The New York Times).
Deals To Restrain Generic Drugs Face A Ban
A group of House lawmakers and the head of the Federal Trade Commission want Congress to include a provision in the health care legislation that they say could save American consumers several billion dollars a year on prescription drugs (The New York Times).
Big In Capitol, Reid Stumbles In Nevada
In the nation's capital, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on the brink of pushing through a national health program that Democrats rank alongside the creation of Social Security and Medicare. In Nevada, that very achievement is imperiling his re-election prospects (The Wall Street Journal).
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