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Health Care Reform

NATIONAL
November 7, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and James Oliphant
With a historic floor vote looming on their healthcare bill, House Democratic leaders worked into the night Friday to round up rank-and-file Democrats who still had not committed to support the legislation despite weeks of cajoling and deal-making. Senior Democrats maintained they would have the 218 votes needed for passage when the House votes, perhaps as early as this evening. "You don't go to the floor unless you're there -- and we're there," said Rep. John B. Larson of Connecticut, the No. 4 Democrat in the House.
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NATIONAL
November 6, 2009 | Janet Hook and Noam N. Levey
With a historic House vote on a $1-trillion healthcare bill barely 48 hours away, battle lines are hardening as lobbying groups for seniors and doctors endorse the legislation, while thousands of protesters swarmed Capitol Hill to oppose it. "Kill the bill! Kill the bill!" chanted conservative and small-government advocates on Thursday, some having traveled on short notice from as far as California and Texas to protest what they saw as tantamount to socialized medicine. "No Marx.
NATIONAL
November 4, 2009 | James Oliphant
House Democratic leaders, while insisting the finish line is in sight on their overhaul of the nation's healthcare system, have hit a last-minute snag over the abortion issue. Senate Democratic leaders, meanwhile, are continuing to have problems winning over moderates in their own party -- raising the possibility that the climactic votes on healthcare might be pushed into next year. The delays in both houses reflect the fact that even though Democrats hold solid majorities, significant divisions exist below the surface, making consensus-building a delicate task at best.
NATIONAL
November 1, 2009 | By Kim Geiger and James Oliphant
Some reader questions on the national healthcare debate, focusing on the House bill unveiled Thursday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco): FOR THE RECORD: Healthcare overhaul: An article in the Nov. 1 Section A that gave questions and answers about the House healthcare bill unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said that the measure would exempt employers with yearly payrolls of less than $250,000 from providing health benefits to employees. Employers with annual payrolls of less than $500,000 would be exempted.
NATIONAL
October 30, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook
House Democrats on Thursday closed in on the votes they need to pass sweeping healthcare legislation, as party leaders introduced a 1,990-page bill designed to guarantee near-universal coverage for the first time in the nation's history. The legislation, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) officially unveiled in a ceremony outside the Capitol, represents a milestone for Democrats and advocacy groups. After more than half a century of pushing to create a government healthcare safety net, Democrats are poised to bring a bill to the House floor next week.
NATIONAL
October 29, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and Janet Hook
Paving the way for a crucial vote on healthcare legislation in the next two weeks, House Democratic leaders plan to unveil a compromise bill today that would create a nationwide government-run insurance plan but omit what many liberals consider the key to cost control. According to senior lawmakers and aides, the so-called public option in the new compromise would not dictate what the plan can pay hospitals, doctors and other providers. Instead, the federal government would have to negotiate rates with providers, much as private insurers do. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco)
NATIONAL
October 28, 2009 | Janet Hook and Noam N. Levey
Faced with opposition from Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) over inclusion of a government-run insurance program in the Senate healthcare bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has intensified negotiations with a handful of Democrats whose support is crucial to passing the legislation. Reid's announcement Monday that he would include a government insurance option in the bill, but allow states to opt out of it if they chose, thrilled liberal allies and Democrats in the House, where support for the so-called "public option" runs strong.
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.
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."
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