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Health Care Reform

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.
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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 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."
NATIONAL
October 14, 2009 | Noam N. Levey and James Oliphant
After months of wrangling over how to reshape the nation's healthcare system, the last of five congressional committees on Tuesday endorsed its sweeping blueprint for expanding coverage and containing costs. The 14-9 vote by the Senate Finance Committee sets the stage for the final legislative push amid intense lobbying by healthcare providers, consumer advocates, labor unions and other interest groups. Tuesday's vote also offered the first tangible sign that President Obama and his congressional allies might gain some GOP support in their healthcare campaign.
NATIONAL
October 8, 2009 | Janet Hook
As Democratic leaders prepare to bring healthcare legislation before the full House and Senate for votes this month, they soon must decide who will be taxed to pay for expanding coverage -- the wealthy or the insurance companies. Legislation emerging from the House would slap a surtax on upper-income people. But many Democrats, especially in the Senate, fear the political fallout over voting to raise anyone's income taxes. The most prominent Senate bill would impose a tax on insurance companies that provide expensive policies, sometimes dubbed "Cadillac" plans.
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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