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Health Care Reform

NATIONAL
August 16, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
A centerpiece of President Obama's healthcare agenda -- and of the bills being developed on Capitol Hill -- is extending insurance to all Americans. Here is a rundown of the basics about what health coverage looks like now and what may change: Where do most people in America get their insurance now? An estimated 253.4 million people had coverage in 2007, according to the most recent analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau. The majority of those had private insurance, most of it obtained through an employer.
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NATIONAL
August 12, 2009 | Judith Graham and Janet Hook
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. Seniors are an influential group of voters who bring a unique perspective to the topic: They already have guaranteed healthcare under Medicare, and they also are the heaviest users of medical services. On a recent afternoon, a group of people in their 80s and 90s at a Denver retirement complex voiced some of the same questions about healthcare that are circulating in living rooms and senior centers throughout the country.
NATIONAL
August 8, 2009 | Janet Hook
As Congress adjourns for a summer recess, Democrats are in the uncomfortable position of trying to defend a plan for vast change in the nation's healthcare system that has not yet been written. Critics have ramped up their protests, and disruptions of lawmakers' town hall meetings have dominated news coverage. And yet, the Democrats also find themselves in a surprising place: When they return after Labor Day, they will be well-positioned to pass a bill that would touch the lives of almost everyone in America.
BUSINESS
August 5, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
As they work to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, President Obama and his congressional allies have pledged to help small-business owners such as Rhonda Ealy and Kelli Glasser. Ealy, who owns a coffee roasting company in Bend, Ore., has put off buying new equipment so she can offer health benefits to her 13 full-time employees.
NATIONAL
August 3, 2009 | Kristina Sherry
As Congress struggles to decide how America should take care of its sick, another controversy is simmering over whether the healthcare legislation should include billions of dollars aimed at keeping people well. A draft Senate bill would provide up to $10 billion annually for a "prevention and public health investment fund" -- a portion of which could be used for infrastructure projects, such as bike paths and farmers markets meant to curb chronic and costly conditions like obesity.
NATIONAL
July 31, 2009 | Associated Press
An anti-abortion amendment to a sweeping healthcare overhaul bill was rejected by a House committee late Thursday -- a dramatic reversal that came just hours after the measure had been approved. The amendment said that healthcare overhaul legislation may not impose requirements for coverage of abortion, except when a woman's life is in danger or her pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
NATIONAL
July 24, 2009 | James Oliphant and Christi Parsons
A day after President Obama made an aggressive public appeal for swift healthcare reform, the Senate officially gave up on the notion that it can pass a comprehensive package before its scheduled recess early next month. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) conceded Thursday that it would take more time than originally expected for the Senate to pass a bill. "I don't think it's unreasonable," he said. "This is a complex and difficult issue."
NATIONAL
July 18, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
The Obama administration delivered to Congress its first detailed proposal for a piece of the healthcare overhaul Friday, suggesting that a new independent board make the decisions on how Medicare pays hospitals and doctors.
NATIONAL
July 2, 2009 | Associated Press
Democrats on a key Senate committee outlined a revised and far less costly healthcare plan Wednesday night that includes a government-run insurance option and an annual fee on employers who do not offer coverage to their workers. The plan carries a 10-year price tag of slightly more than $600 billion, Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) said in a letter to other members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
NATIONAL
June 24, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and Peter Nicholas
In an effort to maintain control of the healthcare debate, President Obama on Tuesday ridiculed critics of his government-run insurance proposal, saying private insurers have nothing to fear if they are efficient and consumer-friendly. "If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best-quality healthcare -- if they tell us that they're offering a good deal -- then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business?"
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