First Edition: February 3, 2011

Today's headlines detail the Senate GOP-led failed vote to repeal the health law and look to what steps will now follow.

Kaiser Health News: Insurers, Consumer Groups Tussle Over Appeals Rule
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Susan Jaffe writes: "The health insurance industry and consumer groups are facing off over a much touted provision in the new federal health law that allows patients to seek independent reviews of denials in coverage" (Jaffe, 2/2).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: With State Fiscal Pressures Mounting, Medicaid Battle Looms
Kaiser Health News reporters Julie Appleby and Marilyn Werber Serafini talk with KFF's Jackie Judd about how state fiscal pressures are playing into the debate surround Medicaid expansions and other parts of health reform (2/1).

Kaiser Health News Video: The Senate's Partisan Debate On Health Reform Repeal
This Kaiser Health News video documents some of the debate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced an amendment to an unrelated bill today that would repeal the health law. Senators from both sides took to the floor, with Republicans arguing that the country wants repeal and Democrats maintaining that the benefits of the law are popular and outweigh any flaws in the legislation. Watch excerpts from the debate (2/2).

Kaiser Health News Column: Is Richard Foster Right About Health Care Costs?
In his latest Kaiser Health News column, Jonathan Cohn writes: "Last week, before a lower federal judge in Florida declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, another relatively obscure government figure generated news about health care reform. It was Richard Foster, the chief actuary at the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid" (2/2).

The Washington Post: Senate Rejects Repeal Of Health-Care Law As Fight Shifts To Court
On Capitol Hill, the battle over the health-care overhaul law has become a kind of scripted political theater. On Wednesday, Republicans in the Senate tried to repeal the law, as expected. Democrats had the votes to beat them, as expected. But now, the legal fight over the law threatens to overshadow the drama that Washington has been rehearsing (Fahrenthold and Aizenman, 2/3).

The New York Times: Senate Rejects Repeal Of Health Care Law
Senate Democrats on Wednesday defeated a bid by Republicans to repeal last year's sweeping health care overhaul, as they successfully mounted a party-line defense of President Obama's signature domestic policy achievement (Herszenhorn, 2/2).

Los Angeles Times: Senate Rejects GOP-Led Bid To Repeal Healthcare Law
Senate Democrats on Wednesday turned aside a bid by Republicans to repeal the new healthcare law, in the first Senate test of the sweeping overhaul that President Obama signed in March. The 47-51 party-line vote on a procedural motion came two weeks after House Republicans pushed a repeal resolution through that chamber (Levey, 2/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Votes Down Health-Care Repeal
The Senate on Wednesday voted against repealing the health-care overhaul but approved a measure eliminating a tax requirement that had irked small businesses. In a debate reshaped by this week's court strike against the law, the Senate voted 51-47 against repeal. All of the chamber's Democrats who were present and one independent who caucuses with them voted against it, and every Republican voted for it. The measure, which Republicans tacked on to an unrelated aviation bill, had been expected to fail (Adamy, 2/3).

USA Today: GOP Sentaors' Effort Fails To Repeal Health Care Law
An effort Wednesday by Republican senators to repeal last year's health care law failed as expected, but some political watchers say the vote may help influence the courts that will ultimately decide the law's fate (Kennedy, 2/3).

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: McConnell's Claims Of Wide Backing For Health-Care Repeal
The Republican leader in the Senate on Wednesday pressed his party's case for repeal of the new health-care law, arguing that the courts, "the American people," and "job creators" are demanding repeal. His cadence is excellent. How valid are his claims (Kessler, 2/3)?

The Washington Post: The Fact Checker: Harry Reid's Imaginary $4 Billion Credit To The Health-Care Law
Reid argued that it is time to "stop re-fighting yesterday's fights" and ticked off the benefits that he said were already flowing from the bill, including the claimed $4 billion in restitution and fines. He also argued that repealing the law would "add a trillion dollars to the deficit," which is a claim we have debunked before. But is it possible that a bill that passed just 10 months ago has already yielded $4 billion from health care fraudsters (Kessler, 2/2)?

The Wall Street Journal: House GOP Weighs Medicare Limits
House Republicans are debating whether to propose new limits on the growth of Medicare and other entitlement programs, weighing a gamble that voters are more concerned about trimming the federal deficit than holding on to promised benefits (Hook, 2/3).

The New York Times: Officials Consider Requiring Insurers To Offer Free Contraceptives
The Obama administration is examining whether the new health care law can be used to require insurance plans to offer contraceptives and other family planning services to women free of charge (Pear, 2/2).

The Wall Street Journal: Gov. Cuomo's Medicaid Plan Roils Albany
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's effort to strip lawmakers of power over the state's Medicaid program is facing a barrage of criticism in both houses and parties (Gershman, 2/2).

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