First Edition: March 26, 2010

Today's early morning highlights  includes reports on congressional passage of the final piece of the health overhaul legislation, President Barack Obama's trip to Iowa to tout the law's benefits and some concerns raised by big business.

The First Test Of New Health Law: Covering Hard-To-Insure People
Kaiser Health News writer Mary Agnes Carey explores the challenge of getting coverage for some of the people who are the hardest to insure. "It’s the first and one of the hardest tests of the Democrats’ ambitious plan to overhaul the nation’s health care system: in the next 90 days establishing a federally funded program to cover people turned down by private insurers because they have a pre-existing medical condition" (Kaiser Health News).

House Gives Final Approval To Health Care Overhaul
Capping a bitterly fought battle over the top item on President Obama's domestic agenda, the House gave final approval to the health overhaul Thursday, after the Senate made changes and returned the measure earlier in the day (NPR).

Final Votes In Congress Cap Battle On Health Bill
Congress on Thursday gave final approval to a package of changes to the Democrats’ sweeping health care overhaul, capping a bitter partisan battle over the most far-reaching social legislation in nearly half a century (The New York Times).

Congress Approves Final Changes To Health Plan
After a final surge to overcome Republican opposition, congressional Democrats approved the last piece of their healthcare overhaul Thursday night, sending President Obama a package of changes to the landmark legislation he signed Tuesday (Los Angeles Times).

Congress Approves 'Fixes' To Health-Care Law
Congress agreed Thursday to amend the nation's new health-care law, concluding its long and contentious quest to pass major reforms, and prepared to head home for a two-week recess and to hear from skeptical voters about the legislation (The Washington Post).

Congress Approves Final Health Overhaul
Democrats pushed the last piece of President Barack Obama's overhaul of the U.S. health-care system through Congress Thursday, completing a sweeping measure that divided the nation for a year (Wall Street Journal).

Year-Long Fight Ends As Health Bill Clears Congress
Congress completed its work Thursday night on the broadest social legislation in almost a half-century, as the House capped the year-long legislative saga over health reform by signing off on a package of fixes to the newly minted law (Politico).

Health Law Divides Anti-Abortion Allies In Congress
One of Washington's most enduring partnerships appears headed for a nasty breakup. Republicans and Democrats who oppose abortion have found themselves on opposite sides of a major issue — the health care overhaul legislation that President Obama signed Tuesday. And the war of words has gotten increasingly ugly (NPR).

Obama Invites Health-Care Repeal Advocates To 'Go For It'
An exuberant President Obama dared his Republican critics Thursday to campaign this fall on a platform to repeal his health-care law, urging them to "go for it" (The Washington Post).

Obama Returns To Iowa To Sell Merits Of Health Care Law
President Obama challenged Republicans on Thursday to make the November elections a national referendum on the health care law he championed, arguing it would be politically risky to attack the measure (USA Today).

Obama Is Ready To Run On Health Law
President Barack Obama returned Thursday to the city where he launched his health care plan nearly three years ago to sell the final product, part of a broader economic agenda that is gaining legislative steam in Washington. But the people he says his policies are targeted to—the middle class—are the ones he appears to be losing (The Wall Street Journal).

In Iowa, Obama Calls Health Bill 'Pro-Business'
President Obama on Thursday began an aggressive White House public relations blitz to sell his newly signed health care overhaul to a skeptical and sometimes confused public, calling the measure “pro-jobs” and “pro-business” and taunting Republicans who are vowing to repeal it (New York Times).

Companies Take Health-Care Charges
In the wake of Washington's health-care overhaul, some companies are taking big one-time charges for anticipated costs, fanning tension with the administration over the legislation's impact on corporate America (The Wall Street Journal).

Threats To Lawmakers Stir Acrimony
Democrats and Republicans traded barbs over a spate of reported violence and threats against lawmakers in the wake of the health-care bill's passage, underscoring the bitter environment that has enveloped the capital over the measure (The Wall Street Journal).

Lawmakers Trade Charges Of 'Fanning The Flames' Of Violence
Lawmakers are accusing one another of using threats of violence for political gain, turning a serious law enforcement issue into a political battleground. As the threats against members of Congress and incidents of vandalism mounted, charges of bigotry, lying, hypocrisy and incitement coursed Thursday through the Capitol and around the political universe (Los Angeles Times).

Healthcare Reform's Politics Of Anger: GOP Fights Back
Republican leaders are fighting back against suggestions that the GOP is somehow responsible for attacks and threats against Democrats over passage of healthcare reform (Christian Science Monitor).

Republicans Walk The Line Over Healthcare Outrage
In the days surrounding passage of healthcare overhaul legislation, Republican lawmakers have been left to strike a fine balance between harnessing voter outrage and fueling it (Los Angeles Times).

Iowa Man Joins Protest Against Obama And Health-Care Reform
Randy Millam's resolve Thursday was reinforced by the sense that he was taking part in a movement -- a rising tide of anger, fear and vitriol in the wake of the health-care overhaul signed into law by Obama this week (The Washington Post).

A Profile Of Bob Bauer: Is This The Counsel Obama Keeps?
Here's the problem the White House gave Bob Bauer to fix last weekend: Go make peace between antiabortion Democrats and pro-choice Democrats, the gruff Michigander Bart Stupak and the formidable rules maven Louise Slaughter, and also the bishops and the nuns. And get it all on paper! (The Washington Post).

The Health Care Bill's 8 Key Moments
The legislation's rocky path is a saga worthy of a soap opera, or Shakespeare: health care antagonists who joined forces to support it; a Pennsylvania suburbanite who became a grassroots organizer against it; a Michigan congressman who struggled to reconcile his opposition to abortion with his desire to expand health coverage (USA Today).

Sharp Momentum Shift Back To The Democrats After Passing Health Bill
Political momentum has shifted so fast over the last week that it has given Republicans whiplash (The Hill).

Emanuel: Health Overhaul Worth Taking A Political Beating
Passing major healthcare reform legislation into law was worth taking a political beating, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Thursday (The Hill).

Kathleen Sebelius: 'Important Changes' Coming
With the 22 strokes of President Barack Obama’s pen this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius became vastly more powerful, with huge responsibility — and leeway — as the bill’s massive changes are implemented (Politico).

More Doctors Giving Up Private Practices
an increasing share of young physicians, burdened by medical school debts and seeking regular hours, are deciding against opening private practices. Instead, they are accepting salaries at hospitals and health systems. And a growing number of older doctors — facing rising costs and fearing they will not be able to recruit junior partners — are selling their practices and moving into salaried jobs, too (New York Times).

Jobless Benefits Stalemate In Senate
The Senate stood in a legislative deadlock Thursday night over an emergency package of funding for the unemployed, after Republicans refused to support an unpaid-for bill and House Democratic leaders balked at a shorter-term compromise floated by the upper chamber (Politico).

Bipartisan Deal Falls Apart, Endangering Expiring Unemployment Benefits
A bipartisan Senate deal to briefly extend a package of expiring provisions fell apart Thursday night, endangering unemployment aid set to expire April 5 (The Hill).

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