First Edition: January 14, 2010

Today's biggest health news surrounds yesterday's marathon meeting between President Obama and congressional leaders find agreement on health overhaul legislation.

KHN Column: Individual Mandate Would Impose Taxes On Low-Wage Workers
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Michael Cannon writes: "In their attempt to expand health insurance coverage, House and Senate Democrats are poised to make the American dream less accessible to low-income Americans by hitting them with higher implicit tax rates than even multi-millionaires face" (Kaiser Health News).

Obama And Lawmakers Seek Accord On Health Care
With a growing sense of urgency, President Obama and top Congressional Democrats held a marathon negotiating session on Wednesday in an effort to thrash out agreements on sweeping health care legislation that could provide insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans (The New York Times).

Obama Joins Congressional Leaders In Talks To Work Out Health-Care Kinks
President Obama spent several hours with congressional leaders Wednesday in a marathon negotiating session aimed at resolving outstanding differences between the House and Senate Democrats over health-care legislation and pushing his top domestic priority through to final passage (The Washington Post).

Obama Seizes Reins In Daylong House-Senate Healthcare Talks
President Barack Obama sought to muscle House and Senate Democrats to reach an accord on healthcare reform during a daylong White House meeting Wednesday (The Hill).

President Obama Pushes For A Deal On Health Bill
After an unusual day-long negotiating session, President Barack Obama and top Democratic congressional leaders said late Wednesday that they were making "significant progress" towards reconciling the House and Senate health care reform bills (Politico).

Democrats Make 'Significant Progress' In Health Talks
President Barack Obama and top congressional Democrats reported "significant progress" toward an agreement on a final health bill Wednesday after negotiations at the White House that stretched for more than eight hours (The Wall Street Journal).

Obama To Woo House Dems On Health Care Deal
Striving to close the deal on health care, President Barack Obama planned a trip to Capitol Hill on Thursday to urge rank-and-file House Democrats to yield on key issues still standing in the way of a historic legislative achievement (The Associated Press).

Proposals Clash On States' Role In Health Plans
Should someone in Idaho or Nevada have significantly different health care coverage from someone in Massachusetts? That, essentially, is one of the biggest questions Congress will be wrestling with as it tries to meld House and Senate bills into a single law to revamp the nation's health care system (The New York Times).

Nebraska's Sweet Deal On Healthcare Reform Could Lead To Lawsuit
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster is threatening to file a constitutional challenge to Congress's healthcare reform effort unless a special provision favoring Nebraska at the expense of all other states is stripped from the law (The Christian Science Monitor).

Tax Expansion Could Pay For Healthcare Overhaul
Democratic congressional leaders are considering a new strategy to help finance their ambitious healthcare plan -- applying the Medicare payroll tax not just to wages but to capital gains, dividends and other forms of unearned income (Los Angeles Times).

Congressional Health Bills Confront Obesity
Melissa Block talks to Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, about what provisions in the congressional health bills will deal with obesity. He says that in the bills, there are provisions that offer counseling in a clinical setting about obesity. There are also grants for a community prevention program to promote healthy living, as well as mandates for chain restaurants to provide nutritional labeling for the food they serve (NPR).

Surgeon General Benjamin As 'America's Family Doctor'
Those who have met the new U.S. surgeon general, Regina Benjamin, often refer to the Alabama family physician as "warm," "kind" and "humble" — words not often associated with the typical Washington insider (USA Today).

After Learning Of Campaign Donations, Dems Turn Up Heat On Insurance Companies
Nineteen Senate Democrats on Wednesday called for the health insurance industry to lose its long-held anti-trust exemption after news surfaced that insurance companies have spent millions in a concealed effort to oppose healthcare reform (The Hill).

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