First Edition: August 25, 2010

In today's headlines, news about a Medicare change that may cause an estimated three million seniors to switch their drug coverage.

Rep. Gerry Connolly Sees Strong Shift In Public View Of Health Reform
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with first term Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who says the health care debate has changed dramatically since the combative town hall meetings of last August when some protesters across the country said passage of sweeping overhaul legislation would amount to a government takeover of the health care system (Kaiser Health News).

D.C. In Front Of The Health Reform Curve, Officials Say
In this Kaiser Health News short take, staff writer Jessica Marcy reports: "As states across the country scramble to meet the requirements for national health reform, the nation's capital is 'way ahead,' according to Dr. Julie Hudman, director of the Department of Health Care Finance and a member of the city's Health Reform Implementation Committee. … At a recent public meeting, officials eagerly highlighted some of the city's accomplishments" (Kaiser Health News).

More Than 3M Seniors May Have To Switch Drug Plans
A plan by Medicare to try to make it simpler for consumers to pick drug coverage could force 3 million seniors to switch plans next year whether they like it or not, says an independent analysis (The Associated Press).

AARP Says Brand-Name Drug Prices Up 8% In 2009
A new report on retail prices of brand-name drugs shows the 217 products most used by older Americans increased by an average of 8.3 percent during 2009, the largest increase in years, even as inflation was negative (The New York Times).

Minnesota Legislative Leaders Urge Use Of Medicaid Money
Minnesota legislative leaders urged Governor Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday to apply for enhanced federal funding for Medicaid that was passed by the U.S. Congress earlier this month (Reuters).

NIH Cuts Off Stem Cell Funding After Court Order
The National Institutes of Health announced Tuesday that it has suspended funding new human embryonic stem cell research and that all federally funded experiments already underway will be cut off when they come up for renewal if a new court order is not overturned (The Washington Post).

U.S. To Freeze New Grants After Stem-Cell Decision
Blindsided by a court ruling blocking federal funding for research involving human embryonic stem cells, the U.S. government plans to freeze all new grants for scientists and impose other restrictions on this burgeoning area of science (The Wall Street Journal).

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