KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

First Edition: August 12

Many of today's major stories come from New Hampshire and President Obama's town hall defense of health reform.

Checking In With Chip Kahn: 'Potential For Hospitals And Our Patients To Be Big Winners'
Charles "Chip" Kahn III, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, has been a major player on the Washington health policy scene for nearly 25 years. As head of the lobbying group representing investor-owned hospitals, Kahn helped negotiate a deal in June among the hospital industry, the White House and the Senate Finance Committee. The hospital industry agreed to $155 billion in Medicare cuts over a decade as long as the reductions did not take effect until coverage of the uninsured occurred. But the industry is still fearful of President Barack Obama's proposals of a public health plan option and an independent commission to have broad authority over Medicare spending (Kaiser Health News).

Analysis: Health Care Debate A Long-Running Story
President Barack Obama's campaign for a health care overhaul is an intense installment in a long-running story, dating to Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 (The Associated Press).

In New Hampshire, Obama Defends Health Care Plan
Pressing ahead with efforts at a health care overhaul, President Obama told a town-hall style meeting in New Hampshire Tuesday that special interest groups are misrepresenting the facts to scare Americans and kill proposed legislation (NPR).

Obama Faces 'Scare Tactics' Head-On
President Obama began a personal effort Tuesday to reclaim momentum for his health-care initiative with a direct rebuttal of what he called "scare tactics," rumors and misrepresentations (The Washington Post).

Obama Offers Reassurance On Plan To Overhaul Health Care
Fans and foes of President Obama's push to overhaul health care descended on a local high school here on Tuesday to challenge him and hear him fight back against the criticisms - some outlandish - that have slowed the legislation's progress (The New York Times).

Obama Takes The Stand On Healthcare
President Obama ventured into the summer's unpredictable town hall meetings on healthcare Tuesday, facing a polite audience, while lawmakers elsewhere continued to confront enraged citizens -- a contrast that showed how far the administration still must go to bridge the divide (Los Angeles Times).

Under Pressure, Obama Defends Health-Care Plan
President Barack Obama, confronting protests out on the street and serious questions about his health plan inside a high school, slammed talk of euthanasia "death panels" and Medicare cuts, urging supporters to confront the opposition that has forced him onto his political heels (The Wall Street Journal).

Obama Steps Up Attack On Healthcare Status Quo
As he tries to regain control of the healthcare debate, President Obama appears to be aiming his arguments at a vast and vital constituency: the tens of millions of Americans who are satisfied with health insurance they already have (The Christian Science Monitor).

At N.H. Forum, Obama Hits Back At 'Wild' Criticism Of Health Bill
President Obama traveled to a town hall meeting in a high school gymnasium here yesterday to counter what he called "wild misrepresentations'' about his proposed healthcare overhaul - his most concerted effort yet to regain momentum in a debate recently dominated by critics' aggressive assault (Boston Globe).

Obama Fires Back At Health Reform 'Misrepresentations'
Editorial writers and columnists assess President Obama's effort to rally support for health reform and his criticism of opponents for trying to "scare people" (News Hour With Jim Lehrer).

Many Seniors Aren't Sure Health System Needs Repair
Far from the hue and cry over healthcare legislation that is erupting at town halls across the country, many senior citizens are quietly confused about what an overhaul might mean for them. And the opinions they form in the coming weeks may well prove crucial (Los Angeles Times).

The Democrats' Senior Problem
Frustrated older Americans are packing the town halls on health care. They are incredibly passionate about their Medicare benefits. Polls show senior citizens largely disapprove of health care reform ideas so far (Politico).

Dem Healthcare Talking Points: Change Over Status Quo
Senate Democratic leaders are driving home a handful of key points during this month's town hall forums on healthcare: Reform will be fully funded, will not jeopardize current doctor-patient relationships, and is the only alternative to the current, broken system (The Hill).

Survey Finds High Fees Common In Medical Care
A patient in Illinois was charged $12,712 for cataract surgery. Medicare pays $675 for the same procedure. In California, a patient was charged $20,120 for a knee operation that Medicare pays $584 for. And a New Jersey patient was charged $72,000 for a spinal fusion procedure that Medicare covers for $1,629 (The New York Times). 

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