First Edition: November 10, 2009
As the focus of health overhaul efforts move to the Senate, abortion issues have become hot topics.
Current 'Death Panel' Uproar Echoes Decades-Old Controversy
It was early summer. A senior federal health official wrote a memo suggesting that living wills -- documents that can convey patients' wishes about when to end life support -- could help curb health-care costs. The memo leaked to the media. By August, a New York Times' column said the official "likes euthanasia." Sound like this year's angry August? Well, this story unfolded in 1977, and the official in question was Robert Derzon, the first administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Kaiser Health News).
Democrats Raise Alarms Over Costs Of Health Bills
As health care legislation moves toward a crucial airing in the Senate, the White House is facing a growing revolt from some Democrats and analysts who say the bills Congress is considering do not fulfill President Obama's promise to slow the runaway rise in health care spending (The New York Times).
Effort To Assist Older Voters May Raise Costs For The Young
A provision in the House health-care bill sets up a stark choice for Democrats between the interests of younger voters and older ones (The Wall Street Journal).
Political Memo: Trick For Democrats Is Juggling Ideology And Pragmatism
Democrats have displayed a striking degree of pragmatism in seeking to push the health care bill through Congress, embracing or rejecting ideological considerations as needed to keep the legislation moving (The New York Times).
For Left, House Bill May Be As Good As It Gets
Saturday night's House vote on health care reform was the most significant liberal legislative triumph in years, and progressives are now scrambling to capitalize on the fast-fading momentum. There's only so much they can do (Politico).
Senate Abortion Foes Take Aim At Overhaul
A key Democratic senator said Monday he will follow House colleagues in insisting on tough antiabortion language before he votes for a health overhaul bill, causing new headaches for Senate leaders even before debate on a final bill begins (The Wall Street Journal).
Senate Faces Abortion Rights Rift
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid found his health reform efforts seriously complicated Monday by the explosive issue of abortion, as key centrist senators said they wanted to see airtight language in the bill blocking federal funding for the procedure (Politico).
Obama Seeks Revision Of Plan's Abortion Limits
President Obama suggested Monday that he was not comfortable with abortion restrictions inserted into the House version of major health care legislation, and he prodded Congress to revise them (The New York Times).
Abortion Battle Moves To The Senate
Liberals furious over a last-minute deal that secured passage of healthcare legislation in the House by restricting abortion coverage threatened Monday to derail the massive overhaul bill (Los Angeles Times).
Breaking Down Abortion Language In Health Bill
The health care overhaul passed by the House of Representatives over the weekend was almost scuttled by one issue: abortion (NPR).
Liberals Threaten To Sink Health Bill Over Stupak Abortion Amendments
More than 40 lawmakers vowed to oppose the final healthcare bill if the House language on abortion is not removed (The Hill).
Coakley Decries Health Care Bill
Opening up a major fissure in the US Senate race, Attorney General Martha Coakley said yesterday that she opposes the landmark health care bill approved by the House Saturday because it contains a provision restricting federal funding for abortion (The Boston Globe).
Groups Redirect Health-Care Ads To Cheer And Jeer Democrats
The House's passage Saturday of a sweeping health-care bill has pushed the advertising battle over reform into a new phase, as competing groups have taken to the airwaves to thank or punish Democrats for their votes (The Washington Post).
Five Flash Points As Healthcare Reform Move To The Senate
Passing comprehensive healthcare reform in the House on Saturday took a lot of sweat and a few tears. But passage in the Senate will be even tougher, raising questions about the effort's ultimate viability (The Christian Science Monitor).
Senate Democrats Look To Start Health Reform Debate Next Week
Senate Democratic leaders expect their long-awaited healthcare bill to hit the chamber floor as early as Monday (The Hill).
Bill Clinton Meets With Senate Dems On Health Care
Former president Bill Clinton knows just how high the political stakes are in the fight to overhaul America's health care system. His failed attempt to revamp the delivery of medical care contributed to the Republican takeover of the House and Senate in 1994. Now, with the fate of health care legislation in the Senate's hands, Clinton is heading to Capitol Hill where he's expected to speak to Senate Democrats about health care legislation during their weekly caucus on Tuesday, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his schedule (The Associated Press/USA Today).
For Doctor, The Senate Is A Bitter Pill
Tom Coburn is a Southern Baptist deacon, a family man married to a former Miss Oklahoma, a white-coated physician back in Muskogee who has delivered more than 4,000 babies and sees patients free of charge every Monday. But there's a darker side of the story, something that Coburn, a Marcus Welby type in ostrich-skin boots, confesses is his less honorable side. He's a member of the United States Senate (The Washington Post).
Med Schools Offer Doses Of New Reality
When Aaron Laviana started medical school at Georgetown University in 2007, he dissected a cadaver in his first week, in anatomy class. Today, classes such as "Physician-Patient Communication" and "Social and Cultural Issues in Health Care" come first. Dissection doesn't begin until month four at Georgetown -- as part of a unit on limbs -- and anatomy class no longer exists (The Washington Post).
Dutch View Of Choice In U.S. Care: It's Limited
The health system in the United States may be twice as expensive as those in Europe, and the population may be less healthy, but at least Americans have access to many more choices of doctors and insurers. Right? (The New York Times).
Sign up to receive this list of First Edition headlines via email. Check out all of Kaiser Health News' email options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.