First Edition: February 19, 2010

Today's headlines highlight a White House plan to "get specific" on health reform, an analysis showing a nationwide jump in Medicaid enrollment and more on the firestorm surrounding health insurance premium increases.

Obama To Offer Health Bill To Ease Impasse As Bipartisan Meeting Approaches
President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday (The New York Times).

Obama Keeps All-Democratic Health Care Option Open
The White House signaled Thursday that an aggressive, all-Democratic strategy for overhauling the nation's health care system remains a serious option, even as President Barack Obama invites Republicans to next week's televised summit to seek possible compromises (The Associated Press).

Obama To Get Specific On Healthcare Legislation
President Obama, after sustaining months of criticism for not being clear about what he wanted in healthcare legislation, will post specific proposals for a comprehensive plan on the Internet by Monday, according to the White House (Los Angeles Times).

States Consider Medicaid Cuts As Use Grows
Facing relentless fiscal pressure and exploding demand for government health care, virtually every state is making or considering substantial cuts in Medicaid, even as Democrats push to add 15 million people to the rolls (The New York Times).

Medicaid Enrollment Rises Nationwide, Analysis Finds
The recession has fueled the greatest influx of Americans onto Medicaid since the earliest days of the public insurance program for the poor, according to new findings that show caseloads have surged in every state (The Washington Post).

Medicaid Enrollment Climbs
More than half the states are reducing Medicaid services and payments to health care providers this year as the recession propelled enrollments to record levels and sapped money from treasuries (USA Today).

Millions Of Seniors Face 14 Percent Premium Increase For Popular Medicare Advantage Plans
Millions of seniors who signed up for popular private health plans through Medicare are facing sharp premium increases this year — another sign that spiraling costs are a problem even for those with solid insurance (The Associated Press/Los Angeles Times).

Bleak Economy Pushing Health Insurers To Raise Rates, Analysts Say
Health insurers lately seem more afraid of Wall Street than of Washington. The nation’s insurers have come under sharp attack by the Obama administration for seeking seemingly staggering rate increases on policies they sell to individuals (The New York Times).

Fight Over Health-Care Premiums Heats Up
A firestorm between the Obama administration and health insurers escalated Thursday, as the Department of Health and Human Services pointed to double-digit price increases or attempted increases in six states to make the case for overhauling the health-care system (The Wall Street Journal).

HHS Secretary Decries Higher Rates For Health Insurance
The Obama administration stepped up its criticism Thursday of health insurers' efforts to raise their rates, an attempt to harness public aggravation with the industry and rebuild momentum for broad changes to the nation's health-care system (The Washington Post).

Rising Premiums Help Justify Obama's Latest Healthcare Push, Sebelius Says
A renewed push for healthcare overhaul is being driven partly by the need to stem escalating insurance costs that are stripping families and small businesses of their health coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday (Los Angeles Times).

Health Care Experts Must Face What Politicians Won't
Austan Goolsbee, a wiry and droll economic adviser to President Obama, was addressing a private Chicago dinner last week when he entered the Death Valley of American politics: health care (The New York Times).

Missing HSA Money Raises Oversight Questions
Thousands of people are learning that money they squirreled away in health savings accounts is gone. Many thought the money was sitting safely in banks. But now it appears it was stolen. Federal investigators have released few details, but all the cases have one thing in common: a Chicago company called Canopy Financial (NPR).

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