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NATIONAL
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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NATIONAL
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 11, 2009 | Robin Abcarian
President Obama, a supporter of reproductive rights, forcefully reiterated in his speech to Congress this week that his healthcare plan would not lead to government funding of abortion. The trouble is, abortion foes don't believe him. They are working hard to persuade Americans that Obama is wrong -- and have even created ads that evoke "Harry and Louise," the fictional couple that helped tank the Clinton-era attempt at healthcare reform: "They won't pay for my surgery," says an elderly man sitting at a kitchen table.
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.
NATIONAL
September 7, 2009 | Janet Hook
President Obama and his congressional allies are entering the next phase of their push to overhaul healthcare with lower expectations of what can be accomplished -- but with far greater certainty that significant legislation will be enacted by the end of the year. After a long summer of raucous protests, discouraging poll numbers and unplanned tactical shifts, administration officials and Democratic leaders now are focusing on their two greatest challenges: scaling back the overall cost, and developing alternatives to the government-run insurance option that liberals have championed.
NATIONAL
August 21, 2009 | Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Public confidence in President Obama's leadership has declined sharply over the summer, amid intensifying opposition to a healthcare overhaul that threatens to undercut his attempt to change the system, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Among all Americans surveyed, 49% express confidence that Obama will make the right decisions for the country, down from 60% at the 100-day mark in his presidency. Forty-nine percent say they think he will be able to spearhead significant improvements, down nearly 20 percentage points from before he took office.
NATIONAL
August 20, 2009 | Associated Press
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) lashed out at protester who held a poster depicting President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache during a heated town hall meeting on the healthcare overhaul. "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Frank asked the woman, who had stepped up to a microphone at a senior center to ask why Frank supported what she called a Nazi policy. "As you stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler and compare the effort to increase healthcare to the Nazis . . . it is a tribute to the 1st Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated," Frank said.
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.
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 9, 2009
What's on Congress' to-do list The Senate left town Friday for its August recess, a week after the House. Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene Sept. 8. When the lawmakers return, a proposed overhaul of the nation's healthcare system will be just one of the weighty matters on their agenda. Here is a look at the status of several measures before Congress. Healthcare reform President Obama's effort to expand and improve insurance coverage is likely to dominate Capitol Hill for most of the fall.
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