Daily Health Care News – 10/23/09

NEWS

Debate rages over public optionUSA Today

Sharon Lantz has insurance but says she must pay for cancer medication out of pocket.

Lawmakers warm to the public optionWashington Post

House Democrats are coalescing around an $871 billion health-care package that would create a government-run insurance plan to help millions of Americans afford coverage, raise taxes on the nation’s richest families and impose an array of new regulations on private insurers, in part by stripping the industry of its long-standing exemption from federal antitrust laws.

Senate Leader Takes Risk Pushing Public Insurance PlanNew York Times

In pushing to include a government-run health insurance plan in the health care bill, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is taking a calculated gamble that the 60 members of his caucus could support the plan if it included a way for states to opt out.

Carper: Senate Bill Will Include A National Public Plan With An Opt Out TPM

After a meeting with Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) discussed the status of the public plan in the Senate health care bill with reporters. Here’s what he said:

Insurers say they still want health overhaul deal Associated Press

Health insurers insist they’re still committed to getting a health care overhaul bill passed this year. But all around Washington, people are wondering if — or when — the industry will change its mind and try to kill it.

WellPoint Attacks Health LegislationWall Street Journal

WellPoint Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer by members, is striking out against proposed health-overhaul legislation with new data it presented to members of Congress Thursday.

OPINION

Trigger UnhappyJacob Hacker

As closed-door discussions continue in the Senate, the idea of triggering the public health insurance option is once again on the table. Advocates of the trigger cast it as a compromise that will attract the support of the small number of conservative Democrats who have expressed reservations about the public option, as well as Republican Olympia Snowe, who has proposed a trigger. But to be a compromise between public plan skeptics and the majority of Senators who support a public plan because it is central to ensuring affordable coverage while limiting the budgetary costs of reform, a trigger must have some prospect of working—and a trigger inserted into the two Senate bills now being merged would not.

Raise Your Pitchforks to the Sky (Health-Care Edition)The New Republic

“Are they going to try to storm the building?” a man in a dark business suit asked a colleague inside the Capitol Hilton ballroom, during a break in the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) conference this afternoon. “Or are we not going to let that happen?”

Hey, AHIP, Who Is The Enemy?Media Matters

As reported by Huffington Post, the lobbyist for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has instructed Congressional Republicans to fight against health care reform by not “giving comfort to the enemy.”

House health-care bill likely to cover more, cost families less, than Senate billEzra Klein

The House of Representatives is readying itself to release three delicious flavors of health-care reform. One of the bills will have a public option trigger. Another will have a level-playing field proposal. And the third will have the Hardy’s Thickburger of public options: Medicare rates plus 5 percent, national, the whole deal. They’re even forming a commission of independent experts to build a new formula that addresses the concerns of rural and Pacific Coast members, both of whom feel that Medicare underpays their hospitals.

(compiled for Health Care for America Now)

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