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Health Care Reform

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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."
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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."
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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.
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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.
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September 14, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
President Obama on Sunday dismissed the uproar over Rep. Joe Wilson's heckling during the president's Wednesday speech to a joint session of Congress, suggesting it was only a distraction -- even as some members of Obama's party threatened to punish the South Carolina Republican. "This is part of what happens. I mean, it becomes a big circus instead of us focusing on healthcare," Obama said in an interview on the CBS news program "60 Minutes." Obama noted that Wilson later apologized, which "I appreciated."
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September 13, 2009 | James Oliphant
Here are some reader questions on the national healthcare debate: What kind of insurance do members of Congress have, and what do they pay for it? Members of Congress can buy insurance through the Federal Health Benefits Program, which is open to all federal employees. It offers a large variety of plans that can be tailored for individuals and families. There are no exclusions for preexisting medical conditions. Because of the large pool of employees covered by the program, it can encourage insurers to offer affordable premiums.
NATIONAL
September 10, 2009
Text of a letter the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy wrote to President Obama, released Wednesday: May 12, 2009 Dear Mr. President, I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for your repeated personal kindnesses to me -- and one last time, to salute your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth. On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these difficult months a happy time in my life.
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