First Edition: January 29, 2010

Today's news highlights the Democrats' continuing struggle to find a way forward on health reform.

High-Ranking House Democrat Predicts Health Bill Approval This Year
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey spoke with House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., about health reform's prospects. "We're going to get it done this year,” Miller said (Kaiser Health News).

While Confident Health Care Will Pass This Year, Democrats Still Search For A Plan
Democratic leaders in Congress voiced resolute optimism on Thursday that they would adopt major health care legislation this year, and they said that doing so was a crucial element of President Obama’s broader agenda to create jobs, revive the economy and reduce federal budget deficits (The New York Times).

After Obama Speech, Democrats Confused About Path Ahead
A day after President Obama called on them to renew efforts to pass his ambitious agenda, congressional Democrats remained in disarray Thursday about how to move forward, with at least some pointing at the White House as the cause of the legislative standstill gripping Capitol Hill (The Washington Post).

Senate Dem: Health Care Bill 'On Life Support'
President Barack Obama's health care appeal failed to break the congressional gridlock Thursday, dimming hopes for millions of uninsured Americans. Democrats stared down a political nightmare — getting clobbered for voting last year for ambitious, politically risky bills, yet having nothing to show for it in November (The Associated Press).

Health Care Moves To Back Burner
Democrats in Congress said all the right things Thursday to show they were dutifully heeding the president’s call to keep plugging away on a health reform bill. … But listen more closely, and it’s clear health care is already falling to the back of the legislative line, behind the Democrats’ feverish new focus on jobs and the economy (Politico).

Waxman Reacts To State Of The Union Speech
President Obama, in his State of the Union speech Wednesday, reiterated that he was still committed to overhauling the nation's health care system. California Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, offers his thoughts (NPR).

Little Progress Seen Against Health Insurance Fraud
Two years after the federal government started its latest push to crack down on Medicare fraud, the number of people charged with ripping off health care insurers has barely changed, Justice Department records show (USA Today).

Battling For Health Coverage As Cancer Spreads
Rashidam Shakirova moved from Atlanta to New York in 2008 so she could earn more as a home health-care aide — $9 an hour instead of $7. But she now believes that her new job indirectly took a drastic toll on her health (The New York Times).

California: Health Care Bill Advances
The State Senate approved creating a government-run health care system, ignoring a veto threat from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Supporters said it was time for state legislatures to take up the debate as the Obama administration’s national health care proposal was faltering in Congress. The State Senate passed the single-payer plan on a 22-to-14 vote and sent it to the Assembly. Democrats control both houses of the Legislature (The Los Angeles Times).

AG Finds Clout Of Hospitals Drives Cost
Massachusetts insurance companies pay some hospitals and doctors twice as much money as others for essentially the same patient care, according to a preliminary report by Attorney General Martha Coakley. It points to the market clout of the best-paid providers as a main driver of the state’s spiraling health care costs (The Boston Globe).

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This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.