First Edition: February 7, 2011

Today's headlines focus on how states face major budget challenges -- with health policy at the heart of the issue.

Kaiser Health News: Alan Weil On States' Biggest Health Law Challenge – A KHN Interview
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini report: "After a Florida district court judge's recent ruling that the new health law is unconstitutional, Florida Gov. Rick Scott reacted by saying his state could, for now, stop implementing it. Alan Weil, the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, calls that 'a risky posture' -- considering that the Jan. 31 court decision won’t be the last" (Carey and Serafini, 2/7).

NPR: Alternatives To Mandating Insurance? Maybe
Both supporters and opponents of the health overhaul law routinely refer to the requirement that most people get health insurance or pay a penalty as the measure's "linchpin." But is it? Not everyone thinks so (Rovner, 2/7).

The Wall Street Journal: Governors Chop Spending
Governors around the U.S. are proposing to balance their states' budgets with a long list of cuts and almost no new taxes, reflecting a goal by politicians from both parties to erase deficits chiefly by shrinking government (Dougherty and Merrick, 2/7).

The Washington Post: Health-Related Money Continues To Flow To Members Of Congress
A two-term Republican from a rural district in Tennessee, Rep. Phil Roe, became a magnet during the last election for more than $90,000 in contributions from medical professionals from across the country, including thousands of dollars from political action committees representing ear and foot doctors in October and November (Smith, 2/6).

The Washington Post: Autism Legislation Advances In Virginia
In the beginning, several Northern Virginia families whose children have autism thought that their wrenching stories would be enough to get some help from their representatives in the General Assembly (Kunkle and Kumar, 2/5).

Kaiser Health News: Weekend Headlines: Health Reform Law Court Decision Sparks More Political Maneuvering
KHN tracked weekend news coverage, noting that as some covered the fallout from the Florida court decision on the legality of the health law, others examined aspects of the law, including the provision about "mini-med" insurance plans (2/6).

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This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.