First Edition: November 1, 2010

In today's health policy headlines, how will Tuesday's election impact the health law?

House Takeover Would Give GOP Ways To Attack Health Law
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Marilyn Werber Serafini reports on the possible changes in the congressional power structure: "If Rep. Joe Barton becomes chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next year, the Texas Republican vows to make life miserable for Democratic defenders of the health care overhaul law" (Kaiser Health News).

3 States To Vote On Health Insurance Mandate
Kaiser Health News staff writer Aimee Miles reports: "Voters in Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma will have the chance Tuesday to repudiate the new health care law's keystone provision, one that requires almost everyone to have health insurance or face a tax penalty beginning in 2014" (Kaiser Health News).

AMA Head Predicts "Catastrophe" If Physician Medicare Pay Isn't Fixed
Kaiser Health News staff writers Andrew Villegas and Mary Agnes Carey talked with the AMA president about action surrounding Medicare payment issues: "While most people are focused on the midterm elections Tuesday, the American Medical Association is gearing up for the lame-duck congressional session scheduled to start Nov. 15. Unless Congress intervenes, payments to doctors for treating Medicare patients will be cut by 23 percent on Dec. 1 and another 6.5 percent on Jan. 1" (Kaiser Health News).

Insurance Commissioners Loom Large In Health Law
Voters don't give much thought to who runs their state department of insurance. But as key provisions of the new federal health law begin to take effect, the insurance commissioner will become the king of a much bigger kingdom (NPR).

Voters Likely To Hand GOP Big Governorship Wins
Republicans are anticipating major gains in governorships across the nation's industrial heartland and in several vital presidential swing states (The Associated Press/Washington Post).

Brown Slams 'Misinformation' Campaign: 'Some Believe There Are Death Panels'
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Sunday that he thinks Democrats are closing the enthusiasm gap ahead of Tuesday, but slammed the "misinformation" he said has been promulgated by Republican candidates this cycle (The Hill’s Ballot Box Blog).

Co-Payments For Many Preventive Medical Services For Most Workers Are About To Disappear
If you've been holding off getting screened for high cholesterol, diabetes or hypertension because of a co-payment, you soon won't have a reason to put it off (Los Angeles Times).

Health Insurance Group Undergoes Major Changes Post-Reform
The industry group representing health insurers is undergoing a massive restructuring seven months after passage of healthcare reform (The Hill’s Healthwatch Blog).

Contraception Could Be Free Under Health Care Law
Fifty years after the pill, another birth control revolution may be on the horizon: free contraception for women in the U.S., thanks to the new health care law (The Associated Press).

AP Enterprise: Doc Help Make Pot Available In CA
Fourteen years since Californians passed the first-in-the-nation medical marijuana law, pot is not just for the sick. Hundreds of medical marijuana doctors, operating without official scrutiny, have helped make it available to nearly anyone who wants it (The Associated Press).

Ruling Clears Path For Caritas Deal
A Massachusetts judge cleared the way Friday for the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management L.P. to assume control of Boston's Catholic hospital system and convert it to a for-profit company in a deal valued at $895 million (The Wall Street Journal).

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