First Edition: August 4, 2010

Today's health policy headlines include reports about yesterday's Missouri vote on a ballot measure to challenge the health reform law and the latest on today's likely Senate consideration of  Medicaid assistance for states.

Health On The Hill –August 3, 2010
Kaiser Health News editor Laurie McGinley talks with KHN staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and the Los Angeles Times’ Noam Levey about health policy developments, including the prospects for a $16 billion Medicaid package for states and the impact of a judge's ruling to allow a Virginia lawsuit challenging the health law's individual mandate to proceed (Kaiser Health News).

Wave Of Health Reform Provisions Coming Next Month
Health care reform hits another milestone next month, with new provisions that include a coverage expansion for young adults and restrictions on an insurer's ability to impose annual coverage limits or to reject children with pre-existing medical conditions (The Associated Press).

In Missouri, Health Law Is Rejected By Voters
Missouri voters on Tuesday easily approved a measure aimed at nullifying the new federal health care law, becoming the first state in the nation where ordinary people made known their dismay over the issue at the ballot box (The New York Times).

Missouri Voters Approve Challenge To Federal Healthcare Law
Striking a largely symbolic blow at President Obama's healthcare overhaul, Missouri voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday challenging the new law's requirement that Americans buy health insurance starting in 2014 (Los Angeles Times).

Missouri Voters Oppose Mandatory Health Insurance
Voters in Missouri overwhelmingly opposed requiring people to buy health insurance, in a largely symbolic slap at the Obama administration's health overhaul. The referendum was the first chance for voters to express a view on the overhaul, although turnout in the state was low and Republican voters significantly outnumbered Democrats (The Wall Street Journal).

Maine, Pain Drive Senate Vote Today
Indeed, Wednesday's vote is the last best shot the White House has of recovering from its past errors and securing $10 billion in aid for state and local school boards to avert the threatened layoffs of tens of thousands of school teachers this fall. The remaining $16.1 billion in the bill would go to help cash-strapped governors meet their Medicaid bills for the first six months of 2011. The aid would be phased out under a formula reflecting Collins influence. And Maine has a real stake in the dollars to keep its own budget in balance and avert layoffs (Politico).

Democrats Seek GOP Help For Last-Ditch Jobs Bill
The measure is scaled back from versions that stalled earlier this summer as part of a larger tax-and-spend measure extending jobless benefits and a variety of expired tax breaks. The first piece is $16 billion to help states with their Medicaid budgets in the first six months of next year. It's less generous than the help provided under the stimulus law but is still desperately sought by governors, who have already made big budget cuts as tax revenues have plummeted in the recession — and warn of even worse cuts if the federal help is not continued (The Associated Press).

CDC: Obesity Is A 'Major Public Health Threat'
The U.S. obesity epidemic continues its alarming increase. Federal health officials say the number of states where nearly one third of the adults is obese has tripled. Officials say states are going to have to work hard to stop the epidemic (NPR).

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