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NATIONAL
October 24, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and James Oliphant
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Friday that states might be able to "opt out" of any nationwide government insurance plan, a compromise that she suggested could unify congressional Democrats and enable President Obama to sign a healthcare overhaul bill later this year. Pelosi remains a leading champion of the "public option," which would establish a federal health insurance program that would give consumers who don't get coverage through their employer an alternative to plans offered by commercial insurers.
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NATIONAL
October 20, 2009 | Kim Geiger
In an effort to reconcile a nearly $250-billion difference between the House and Senate approaches to overhauling healthcare, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is pushing a bill to halt scheduled reductions in Medicare payments to physicians. The measure, introduced last week by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), would end the cuts and set Medicare payment rates at current levels. Doing so would allow Democrats to maintain the American Medical Assn.'s support for an overhaul without having to absorb the cost of higher doctor payments in the final healthcare bill.
NATIONAL
October 19, 2009 | Associated Press
The White House will not commit to healthcare legislation that would cap insurance premiums or tax benefits, taking a wait-and-see approach as congressional negotiators seek a deal, advisors said Sunday. President Obama will not demand that a final bill include a government-run plan as a way of driving down costs through competition, though that's his preference, they said. "There will be compromise. There will be legislation, and it will achieve our goals: helping people who have insurance get more security, more accountability for the insurance industry, helping people who don't have insurance get insurance they can afford, and lowering the overall cost of the system," senior advisor David Axelrod said on ABC's "This Week."
NATIONAL
October 7, 2009 | Peter Nicholas
With congressional Republicans defying him on healthcare, President Obama is trolling for prominent GOP officials and independents outside Washington who will publicly endorse his plans as the legislative fight moves toward a crucial phase. On Tuesday, the White House rolled out its latest trophy -- a letter from Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger saying he shares many of the same healthcare goals as the president, including "slowing the growth in costs" and "enhancing the quality of care."
NATIONAL
October 5, 2009 | James Oliphant and Kim Geiger
Some reader questions on the national healthcare debate: How can we be sure that there will be no rationing of healthcare or pharmaceuticals under the bills being considered in Congress? Democrats argue that there is rationing in the current healthcare system, in part because insurance companies can rate consumers on the basis of preexisting medical conditions or drop them if they get sick. Those practices would be outlawed as part of the current legislation. As for pharmaceutical coverage, it's possible that some consumers could end up with more coverage for prescription drugs than they have now. -- Why is that?
NATIONAL
October 1, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
As the Senate Finance Committee continued to debate its version of a healthcare overhaul bill today, Democrats and Republicans clashed over abortion -- potentially complicating President Obama's drive for action this fall. At issue is how far healthcare legislation should go to prevent insurance companies from offering abortion services to the millions of women who could get taxpayer subsidies to help them pay premiums. Federal funding of abortions has been prohibited since 1976, when an amendment by Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.
NATIONAL
September 29, 2009 | Janet Hook
Congressional Democrats this week will push toward showdowns on two of the toughest issues in the healthcare debate: whether to create a government alternative to private insurance, and how to pay the approximately $1-trillion cost of the overhaul. Neither issue will be settled until after the House and Senate have voted on complete bills and start negotiating the final legislation. But this week's intensive effort will provide the starkest display yet of the political fault lines the party faces as lawmakers search for a path to agreement.
NATIONAL
September 16, 2009 | Peter Wallsten
Trying to quell a conservative uproar over his healthcare agenda, President Obama has proposed barring illegal immigrants from a possible government-arranged health insurance marketplace -- even if the immigrants pay with their own money. The move has surprised some of Obama's fellow Democrats and infuriated immigrant advocates, who on Tuesday attacked the position as political pandering and bad policy. The White House revealed its stance Friday, after a renewed debate over illegal immigration that was triggered when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.
NATIONAL
September 16, 2009 | Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas
Senate Democrats' most concerted quest for a bipartisan compromise on healthcare collapsed Tuesday as finance committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced he would move ahead with his long-delayed proposals without any guarantee of Republican support. Baucus also took a blow from his own party's left, as a senior Senate Democrat declared that too many concessions had been made and that he would not support the emerging bill because it did not include a public insurance option.
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