September 28, 2009

September 28: Health Care Reform Coverage

By Kelley Luckstein

Taking Health Care Courtship Up Another Notch

With its swanky wine bar and jazz pianist, the 701 Restaurant is one of those downtown spots where lobbyists woo clients and couples pursue romance. But it was a political courtship — President Obama’s quest for a health care overhaul — that brought the White House budget director, Peter R. Orszag, and Senator Susan Collins of Maine together for a recent dinner there.


Over entrees — she had lamb loin, he had Scottish salmon — they talked about cutting health costs and about “the Mayo Clinic experience,” Ms. Collins said. Mr. Orszag was so intent on answering her questions that, mid-meal, he took out his BlackBerry to send e-mail queries to the Mayo chief executive.


NY Times by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, 09/27/09



Mayo Clinic gets a local examination

Since I complained earlier this week about the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press not covering the Mayo Clinic's heath care reform lobbying efforts, I must note the Strib's Kevin Diaz did that today. Front page, top of the fold.Good nuts-and-bolts stuff, with contribution levels ($500,000-plus) and a figure on how much Mayo lost treating Medicare patients last year ($785 million). I might've put a finer point on the healers' opposition to a government-run public option, since that is a major decision facing governing Democrats, and found it odd that no one was quoted blantantly criticizing the palm-greasing or Mayo's positions.


MinnPost by David Brauer, 09/25/09



Top stories


Taking Health Care Courtship Up Another Notch

The New York Times

Sept. 28, 2009


White House officials say they have begun an aggressive campaign to line up votes for a health care bill. Story includes mention of Mayo Clinic.


Reid the Quarterback May Call on Obama to Referee

The New York Times
Sept. 28, 2009


As the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, takes on the delicate task of melding two competing versions of major health care legislation, aides say he will lean heavily on President Obama to arbitrate a number of contentious issues that still threaten to divide liberal and centrist Democrats and derail a final bill.


Public Option Debate Continues to Divide Democrats on Healthcare

The Hill
Sept. 28, 2009


The most controversial component of healthcare reform promises to vex Democrats the rest of the year.


Public Option May Be the Deal Breaker

Sept. 28, 2009


There's risk that the push for health care reform will end in gridlock.




Officials, Lawmakers Get Preview of Health Plan Clearinghouse

The Hill

Sept. 27. 2009


White House officials and members of Congress have been meeting with a Silicon Valley-based firm to map out how the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform will look when it is finally implemented.


Insurers Tally Up Baucus Bill Provisions

The Wall Street Journal

Sept. 28, 2009

The health-system overhaul proposed by Sen. Max Baucus would create millions of new insurance customers without subjecting health insurers to government-run competition -- two key victories for the much-maligned industry. But insurers will come out on top only if a requirement that all Americans carry health insurance has teeth.

Baucus Health Bill Would Let Private Group Write Rules
The Los Angeles Times
Sept. 28, 2009

Healthcare overhaul legislation moving through the Senate Finance Committee would put crucial rule-making authority in the hands of a private association of state insurance commissioners that consumer advocates fear is too closely tied to the industry.


Health Care Benefits: Workers to Pay 10% More in 2010, Hewitt Associates Study Predicts

The Chicago Tribune

Sept. 28, 2009


The cost of medical benefits is projected to increase again in 2010 with premiums and out-of-pocket expenses rising 10%, a study released ahead of open-enrollment season for medical benefits predicts.


Not Enough Insurance And Swimming In Medical Bills

Kaiser Health News/NPR

Sept. 28, 2009

A feature on Jim and Martha Martin, who work five part-time jobs yet still struggle every day with medical debts. The burden warps nearly every aspect of their lives.


State news


Mass.: State’s Health System Popular

The Boston Globe
Sept. 28, 2009

Public support for Massachusetts’ closely watched health insurance overhaul has slipped over the past year, a new poll indicates, but residents still support the path-breaking 2006 law by a 2-to-1 ratio.

Montana to Change Drug Coverage

The Billings Gazette
Sept. 26, 2009


Faced with spiraling prescription drug costs in its employee health plan, the state of Montana has devised a new approach that should save $6 million next year and may be a first of its kind nationwide.




On Medicare Spending, a Role Reversal

The Washington Post

Sept. 28, 2009

After years of trying to cut Medicare spending, Republican lawmakers have emerged as champions of the program, accusing Democrats of trying to steal from the elderly to cover the cost of health reform.

Reform efforts


Premiums, Penalties and Political Costs

The New York Times
Sept. 27, 2009

The affordability question vexing Democrats is whether those with moderate income will be able to afford health insurance, even with the subsidies the legislation would provide and all sorts of new rules aimed at controlling costs.

Pelosi Open to Taxing ‘Cadillac’ Plans But Says Baucus Bill Hurts Middle Class; Finance Prepares for Second Week Of Markup, Tax-Related Amendments (full text attached)
Daily Tax Report
Sept. 28, 2009

Two articles outline some of the potential tax implications of health care reform.

Bet on Health Care Reform Passing
Sept. 28, 2009

Democratic strategist Paul Begala says right-wing shouting doesn't work, and Democrats can pass the bill alone.

GOP Can Keep Obama From Scoring
Sept. 28, 2009

Dana M. Perino, former White House press secretary, outlines a plan for Republicans to win the health care debate.




Health Reform Collides With Labor's Cadillac

The Washington Post – editorial

Sept. 27, 2009


Organized labor's tooth-and-nail fight to protect union health benefits is a significant -- but underreported -- obstacle to sensible health-care reform.


Sen. Rockefeller Seeks to Extend Health Bill's Protections

USA Today
Sept. 27, 2009


More than 70 million people who work at large companies would not get health insurance protections sought by President Obama under a closely watched Senate health care bill, a Democratic lawmaker involved in the debate says.


US Chamber Warns Members of Three "Dangerous Amendments" in Finance Committee Bill

Sept. 25, 2009


US Chamber of Commerce chief lobbyist Bruce Josten sent out a memo listing three "dangerous amendments" the business community should weigh in on before the Senate Finance Committee gets back to work on Tuesday.


Employers Try to Limit Rising Health Plan Costs

The Tennessean
Sept. 28, 2009


Many employers are considering changes, including raising co-pays on prescription drugs to increase their employees' share of costs in a bid to curb growth in medical plan costs.


Health Information Technology


E-Records Get a Big Endorsement

The New York Times
Sept. 28, 2009

The nation’s drive toward computerized medical records is getting a push from big hospitals, which hope not only to improve patient care but to gain an edge on competitors. And an effort to be announced on Monday by a big New York regional hospital group may be the most ambitious effort of this type yet.


Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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