States' Rights At Issue In House Medical Malpractice Cap Debate; Anti-Abortion Advocates In Senate Watch House Developments Carefully

Some conservatives are "balking" at House GOP-backed medical malpractice reform legislation because they say it might undermine state laws. Meanwhile, anti-abortion senators are reportedly making plans to offer amendments to to limit abortion coverage and funding — following the House's lead.

Roll Call: New Twists In Old Debate on Malpractice Caps
Breaking with the traditional stance of his own party, President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to endorse medical malpractice reform that doctors say is sorely needed to bring down health costs. But in an unusual twist, some conservatives are balking at legislation introduced by House Republicans to curb malpractice awards, citing concern that it could undermine states' rights. Such resistance has made the job harder for those lobbying for the changes, including the powerful American Medical Association, whose members hit Capitol Hill last week to press lawmakers to rein in court awards (Roth, 2/14).

CQ HealthBeat: As House Republicans Revive Abortion Issue, Senators Watch The Strategy
As the House begins to debate legislation to limit abortion coverage and deny funding to family planning clinics, virtually no one believes these measures will find their way into law. Abortion rights supporters have the votes in the Senate to successfully block the measures, and President Obama, in any case, would use his veto power against them. The thing most people are watching is the strategy. For starters, anti-abortion senators are making plans to try to attach similar amendments to the continuing resolution measure to fund the government through the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, as well as any other bills they can (Adams, 2/11).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major 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.