First Edition: July 17, 2009

Health reform continues to dominate the headlines, with yesterday's comments by the Congressional Budget Office director leading many stories:

Comments By CBO Director Underscore Conservatives Health Bill Concerns
A leader of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative House Democrats said today that he and six others in the group will vote together to block health care legislation in committee unless changes are made to slow the rate of growth of federal health care spending and to ensure that rural hospitals are adequately reimbursed for treating new patients under the legislation (Kaiser Health News).

Lawmakers Warned About Health Costs
Congress's chief budget analyst delivered a devastating assessment yesterday of the health-care proposals drafted by congressional Democrats, fueling an insurrection among fiscal conservatives in the House and pushing negotiators in the Senate to redouble efforts to draw up a new plan that more effectively restrains federal spending (Washington Post).

Budget Blow For Health Plan
Congress's chief budget scorekeeper cast a new cloud over Democratic efforts to overhaul the nation's health-care system, telling lawmakers Thursday that the main proposals being considered would fail to contain costs -- one of the primary goals -- and could actually worsen the problem of rapidly escalating medical spending (Wall Street Journal).

House Committee Approves Health Care Bill
The House Ways and Means Committee approved legislation early Friday to overhaul the health care system and expand insurance coverage after a marathon session in which Democrats easily turned back Republican efforts to amend the bill (New York Times).

Success On Health Care Still A Long Way Off
For a brief moment Thursday, Senate Democrats could celebrate. Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus suggested for the first time publicly he was hoping for a bipartisan deal to pay for health care reform by the end of the day. The good feelings didn’t last long (Politico).

Doctors Lift Healthcare
The American Medical Association (AMA), which helped torpedo the Clinton administration’s effort to revamp the nation’s healthcare system 15 years ago, endorsed the House Democrats’ health bill on Thursday (The Hill).

Drug Makers Score Early Wins As Plan Takes Shape
The pharmaceuticals industry, which President Barack Obama promised to "take on" during his campaign, is winning most of what it wants in the health-care overhaul (Wall Street Journal).

Harry And Louise Return, With A New Message
Harry and Louise have changed their minds about health care reform (New York Times).

Pay For Care A New Way, State Is Urged
A state commission recommended yesterday that Massachusetts dramatically change how doctors and hospitals are paid, essentially putting providers on a budget as a way to control exploding healthcare costs and improve the quality of care ( Boston Globe).

Mass. Panel Backs Radical Shift In Health Payment
A high-level state commission recommended Thursday that Massachusetts seek to rein in health care costs by radically restructuring the way doctors and hospitals are paid (New York Times).

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