First Edition: June 28, 2010

Today's health policy headlines continue to track the tax package difficulties faced by Senate Democrats in their efforts to extend the COBRA benefit subsidy and enhanced Medicaid funding for states.

KHN Column: The Medicare 'Doc Fix': How to Make Political Lemonade
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Austin Frakt writes: "The mechanism that governs the growth rate of Medicare spending on physician services isn't working. The Sustainable Growth Rate put in place in 1997 is supposed to keep total Medicare physician costs from growing faster than the overall economy. When costs do grow too quickly–and they always do–the law demands that prices be cut commensurately" (Kaiser Health News). 

1.2 Million To Lose Benefits In Days If Stalemate Continues
Millions of people will lose their health insurance and unemployment benefits because of the Senate stalemate over a tax package (The Hill).

Senate Dems Will Keep Pushing For Medicaid Aid To Ailing States
Emergency Medicaid funding will remain a part of the Senate's failed tax package, a key Senate Democrat insisted on Friday (The Hill).

Families Are Confused Over Health-Care Law's Coverage For Young Adults
It is among the top early selling points of the health-care overhaul -- a new rule that has particular appeal for middle-class, middle-age voters: Young adults who lack health insurance will soon be able to remain on their parents' plans until age 26 (The Washington Post).

Americans Are Treated, And Overtreated, To Death
The doctors finally let Rosaria Vandenberg go home. For the first time in months, she was able to touch her 2-year-old daughter who had been afraid of the tubes and machines in the hospital. The little girl climbed up onto her mother's bed, surrounded by family photos, toys and the comfort of home. They shared one last tender moment together before Vandenberg slipped back into unconsciousness (The Associated Press).

Health Care Cost Is Back On The Table
The politics of high health care costs is again roiling this year's governor's race after an appeals panel on Thursday rejected the Patrick administration's cap on premium increases sought by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for some of its customers (The Boston Globe).

Hundreds Of Nurses Have Been Punished By Other States While Maintaining California Licenses
The state's Board of Registered Nursing has discovered that some 3,500 of its nurses have been punished for misconduct by other states — hundreds even had their licenses revoked — while maintaining clean licenses in California (Los Angeles Times/ProPublica).

KHN News Summary: High-Risk Health Insurance Pools Opening Soon
Over the weekend, news outlets examine how states are coping with covering hard-to-insure people, confusion about insuring young adults and a COBRA subsidy extension (Kaiser Health News). 

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