First Edition: October 8, 2010

Today's headlines include stories on a federal court decision in Michigan that supports the individual mandate in the health overhaul law; some of the arguments over that law in the campaign and a report about getting your doctor to send you an e-mail.

Are 'Mini-Med' Plan Waivers A Good Idea?
Kaiser Health News staff writer Andrew Villegas asks two experts with differing views whether it was a good idea for the Obama administration to grant one-year waivers to about 30 insurers, employers and union health plans to continue offering what are dubbed "mini-med" insurance plans, many of which fall short of benefit requirements stipulated in the new health law (Kaiser Health News).

Judge Rules Health Law Is Constitutional
A federal judge in Michigan on Thursday dismissed one of more than 15 legal challenges to the new health care law, becoming the first to rule that the law is constitutional (The New York Times).

Judge: Health-Care Law Is Constitutional 
A federal judge in Michigan ruled Thursday that the new health-care overhaul law is constitutional, rejecting an argument that Congress lacked the power to create the legislation's "individual mandate," which requires virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance (The Washington Post).

Michigan Judge Upholds Provision Of Health Reform Law 
A provision of the new health reform law requiring individuals to buy health insurance does not violate the Constitution, a federal judge in Michigan ruled Thursday (The Hill).

Federal Judge Upholds Health Care Law 
U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh ruled Thursday that the so-called individual mandate — a requirement President Barack Obama opposed during the presidential campaign but later embraced as part of sweeping changes — falls squarely within Congress’s ability under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce (Politico).

Cornyn Bill Would Force HHS To Field Public Comments On New Regs 
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is urging legislation requiring the Obama administration to field public comments on all regulations related to the new healthcare reform law (The Hill).

HHS Wrong On Medicare Advantage 
The Department of Health and Human Services quietly changed the web version of a speech in which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described how the health care overhaul is going to affect Medicare Advantage plans, a controversial section of the law, after aides to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) challenged its accuracy (Politico).

Rory Reid: Healthcare Reform Could End Up Hurting Nevada 
Gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid (D) said Thursday that the new health reform law could hurt Nevada. During a televised debate, Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), said he does not support the legal challenges against the health overhaul. Yet, he does believe that President Obama’s signature achievement could negatively affect Nevada (The Hill).

Women's Group Targets Boehner 
A Democratic women's group is warning voters that a Republican takeover of Congress would mean "a dangerous world." EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock on Thursday told a Washington audience that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul would be scrapped and Social Security would be at risk if Democrats lose their majority in the House. She needled House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio for anticipating a Republican victory (The Associated Press).

A Normal Flu Season Unfolds 
Flu activity in the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season is ending, has been "typical," the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. All three types of flu that normally circulate are present, although the H1N1 "swine flu" strain that caused last year's pandemic has replaced the seasonal H1N1 strain that circulated before 2009 (The New York Times).

S&P Warns On Cost Of Aging Population 
Government debts will surge in coming decades if action isn't taken quickly to cut the cost of paying pensions and providing health care to aging populations, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said in a report published Friday. If governments don't cut age-related spending, S&P said, the size of the state relative to the economy will jump and credit ratings will fall, with developed economies suffering the largest downgrades (The Wall Street Journal).

Some Insured Kids Miss Proper Health Care Due To Costs 
About 13% of parents with health insurance say they haven't gotten pediatrician-recommended care for their children due to costs, a new survey in Ohio finds (USA Today).

'You've Got Mail' — But Not From Your Doctor! Only 7% Are Emailing Patients 
According to the Center for Studying Health System Change, only 6.7% of the 4,200-plus office-based physicians who responded to a 2008 national survey "routinely" emailed patients about clinical matters. Most just didn’t have the technology available (The Wall Street Journal).

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