First Edition: August 20, 2009
Based on the headlines, one of today's key health reform questions is whether bi-partisanship is still alive, or will the Democrats choose to go it alone?
Can Health Reform Pass? Experts Weigh In
Will President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have to greatly scale back their health care overhaul proposals to get legislation passed this year? Here's what some experts are saying (Kaiser Health News).
Attacks On Reform May Force Democrats To Scale Back Their Ambitions
Relentless attacks on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul effort, coupled with continued questions on how to pay for it, are prompting some political and health care experts to suggest that Democrats will have to scale back the cost and scope of the legislation to get something through Congress this year (Kaiser Health News).
Obama Calls Health Plan A 'Moral Obligation'
President Obama sought Wednesday to reframe the health care debate as "a core ethical and moral obligation," imploring a coalition of religious leaders to help promote the plan to lower costs and expand insurance coverage for all Americans (The New York Times).
White House Tries To Regain Message Control
Amid White House concerns that it's losing the message war on both its left and right fronts, President Obama on Thursday will try to rally his grassroots army to regain momentum and redefine the battle for health care reform (Politico).
Obama Turns To Religion To Press Health Agenda
President Barack Obama on Wednesday tried to retake the upper ground in this month's healthcare debate by casting reform as a "moral conviction" in a conference call with religious leaders (The Hill).
Obama Takes Healthcare Effort To Grass-Roots Level
President Obama plans today to take his case for healthcare reform to some of his staunchest supporters and harshest critics -- a two-pronged approach designed to energize his so-far lethargic base and gain ground on his critics by confronting them head-on (Los Angeles Times).
New Rx For Health Plan: Split Bill
The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes (The Wall Street Journal).
Healthcare Co-Ops Emerging As Viable Alternative
GOP detractors say the private regional entities would resemble a government-run plan. Advocates say cooperatives would increase access and competition -- and stand a chance of bipartisan support (Los Angeles Times).
Democrats Prepare To Push Health Care Without GOP
Publicly, President Barack Obama is still calling for a bipartisan bill to overhaul the nation's health care system. Privately, Democrats are preparing a one-party push, which they feel is all but inevitable (The Associated Press).
Dems Recommit To Bipartisan Health Deal
Senate Democratic leaders and negotiators have recommitted themselves to a bipartisan healthcare deal, despite an August recess characterized by partisan sniping that prompted senior White House officials to consider a go-it-alone approach (The Hill).
Democrats On Healthcare: Going It Alone Or Not?
At first blush, it may seem the White House has been contradicting itself lately. In The New York Times Wednesday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel appeared to buttress the media's assertion that Democrats are now prepared to go it alone in passing healthcare legislation. Yet White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday that media reports were wrong (The Christian Science Monitor).
Senator Calls For Narrower Measure
Sen. Charles Grassley, key Republican negotiator in the quest for bipartisan health-care reform, said Wednesday that the outpouring of anger at town hall meetings this month has fundamentally altered the nature of the debate and convinced him that lawmakers should consider drastically scaling back the scope of the effort (The Washington Post).
Town Hall Meetings Stir More Conservatives To Action
For Dave Swift, the frustration started with last year's $700 billion bank bailout. For Andrew Molaison, it was the sense his taxes were subsidizing people who bought homes "totally beyond their means." For both men, 1,200 miles apart, such policy concerns led them to congressional town hall meetings on health care this week (USA Today).
Biden To Announce Almost $1.2T For Medical Records
Vice President Joe Biden plans to announce Thursday nearly $1.2 billion in grants to help hospitals transition to electronic medical records (The Associated Press).
Health Care Uproar Swallows Whole Foods
Whole Foods has taken pains to distance itself from founder and CEO John Mackey, but it may be too late (NPR).
For Outsiders, Opening Doors To Health Care
Midcareer managers and other workers have been migrating to health care jobs for years, of course. Now, with the recession, the lure is even stronger. Hospitals, which employ more than four million people, added 135,000 jobs last year and 19,400 more in the first half of 2009, even as millions of American workers wound up unemployed (The New York Times).
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