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Healthcare Reform Update - November 5-11, 2009

 

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Compiled by La Vonda R. DeWitt*

November 11, 2009

Small Business Group Lobbies For Reform While Trade Groups See Cuts In Business
November 4, 2009

Small business owners lobby Congress while trade associations and a seniors' group worry about what lawmaker's efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system could mean for them.

The Las Vegas Sun reports that Las Vegas small business owners went to Washington Tuesday to tell lawmakers about their desire for health reform. "With the insurance and pharmaceutical industries unleashing their thousands of lobbyists on [Capitol] Hill, the pro-reform groups were firing back with stories from people like [Las Vegas small business owner Michael] MacQuarrie to tell their side."

"Small-business owners have mixed views on health care reform. Some oppose the proposed taxes to help pay for health care subsidies and the mandates that they provide health care for their workers or pay fines. Others, including many of those gathered on the Hill who have advocated for reform, say changes being considered by Congress would give them access to cheaper insurance premiums so they can provide health care to their workers at lower costs" (Mascaro, 11/4).

Roll Call reports that some groups are preparing to take a hit if health reform passes. "As Congressional leaders and the White House finalize an overhaul to the domestic health care system this month, [Philadelphia Main Line Chamber of Commerce President Stan] Schuck and other trade association executives are worried about how Democratic-proposed changes may eviscerate a major moneymaker for their organizations: the sale of health insurance plans." Roll Call reports that the overhaul's most vocal opponents often have a stake in the health insurance system in that they offer health insurance plans to their members (Murray, 11/4).

Finally, one group that's becoming increasingly vocal about such changes and how it could affect their members is "The 60 Plus Association." Kaiser Health News runs an ad audit on its latest ad, "Greatest Generation," an anti-reform ad that "uses testimony from sympathetic older Americans to warn that a health care overhaul would impair Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly." The ad exaggerates the impact of Medicare cuts, KHN reports (Rau, 11/4).

Democrats Face More Challenges After House Health Reform Vote
November 9, 2009

Kaiser Health News staff writers Eric Pianin and Mary Agnes Carey report on what lies ahead for Democrats in their push to overhaul the health care system. "Now comes the really hard part. After a brief celebration of House passage of landmark health legislation, House and Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama face weeks, if not months, of difficult negotiations in constructing a final package that will win congressional approval" (11/8).

Should Health Insurance Companies Be Allowed To Sell Individual Policies Across State Lines?
November 9, 2009

Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports on this element of GOP-backed health reforms. "A core feature of the health overhaul proposal unveiled by House Republicans--and of GOP plans for years--would allow individual health insurance policies to be sold across state lines. Currently, consumers can buy policies only from insurers licensed by the states where they live."

Recent 'Death Panel' Uproar Echoes Age-Old Controversy
November 10, 2009

Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver details events similar to this summer's "death panel" controversy, but that happened decades ago. "It was early summer. A senior federal health official wrote a memo suggesting that living wills--documents that can convey patients' wishes about when to end life support--could help curb health-care costs. The memo leaked to the media. By August, a New York Times' column said the official 'likes euthanasia.' Sound like this year's angry August? Well, this story unfolded in 1977, and the official in question was Robert Derzon, the first administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (11/10).

This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

*We would like to thank La Vonda R. DeWitt, Esquire (Parks IP Law, Atlanta, GA), for selecting the articles for this week's update

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