Health Care

California lawmakers grill Anthem Blue Cross execs over rate increase

Anthem Blue Cross executives, under intense questioning by the California Assembly's Health Committee on Tuesday, defended the company's decision to raise premiums by as much as 39 percent on hundreds of thousands of Californians. The rate hikes have become a lightning rod for those looking to recapture the political momentum in the effort to overhaul the country's health care system. | 02/24/10 06:58:00 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Alaska non-profit health insurance option extended to small businesses

Amid spiraling health care costs, Alaska's small businesses have a new health insurance option this year. A health insurance plan created more than a year ago for Alaska nonprofits is now being extended to private employers, the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and the Anchorage-based Foraker Group announced Tuesday. | 02/24/10 06:39:22 By - Elizabeth Bluemink

Washington state's Gregoire wants governors to weigh in on health care

Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, made the suggestion to reporters as she was leaving Washington, D.C., where she attended the National Governors' Association's winter meeting. She said there was an amazing amount of agreement on health care among the governors. | 02/23/10 17:25:42 By - Les Blumenthal

Some Republicans already saying no to Obama's proposed health care 'starting point'

The Obama administration released a $950 billion health care proposal Monday as a "starting point" for a possible compromise with Republicans during this week's planned health care summit. Within hours, however, leading Republicans — Rep. John Boehner of Ohio and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — firmly rejected the administration's blueprint. | 02/23/10 07:13:43 By - Dave Helling

Obama health care plan would let feds order insurance rebates

"If your insurance company spends too much of your premium dollars on overhead, such as big salaries, administrative costs and marketing, they will be required to give you a rebate," the White House Web site said Monday in an explanation of Obamas new proposed health care overhaul. The White House also proposes creating a new government office with the power to veto rate increases. | 02/22/10 16:08:03 By - Steven Thomma

Proposed 'tan tax' has salon owners concerned about health care overhaul

Tanning salon owners are keeping an eye on Washington, wondering whether health care reform will include a tax increase for them. The Senate-passed bill includes a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning to help pay for extending health care coverage to those without it. | 01/27/10 07:22:40 By - Karen Shideler

Is health overhaul possible without requiring coverage?

With a major health overhaul in deep trouble, some lawmakers want a scaled-back approach that targets the indisputably unpopular insurance industry, by enacting such popular ideas as requiring insurers to accept people with medical problems and barring them from canceling policies or charging more for customers with health problems. | 01/26/10 17:47:40 By - Julie Appleby and Jenny Gold

Electronic medical file sharing network coming together

No matter what happens with health care reform, an electronic network to share your medical records is being stitched together. | 01/26/10 15:10:58 By - Diane Stafford

Pelosi: Not enough votes in House to pass Senate health bill

The House of Representatives can't pass the Senate's health care bill in its present form, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday, which is a potentially lethal setback for Democratic efforts to salvage health legislation. Pelosi said, "I don't see the votes for it at this time." The White House bowed to the need to pause on health care. | 01/21/10 12:08:09 By - David Lightman and William Douglas

Why public support for health care overhaul faltered

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to pass a health care plan with important benefits for average Americans For the typical family, costs would go down by as much as $2,500 annually. Adults wouldn't be required to buy insurance. No one but the wealthy would face higher taxes. | 01/20/10 16:05:58 By - Jordan Rau and Mary Agnes Carey

Florida AG McCollum threatens lawsuit over mandatory health care

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said Tuesday that Congress has no constitutional right to force people to buy health insurance — and he'll sue to stop the proposal if it becomes law. McCollum said the commerce clause of the Constitution doesn't allow Congress to tax or penalize someone for not doing something — in this case, not buying insurance. | 01/20/10 07:11:45 By - Marc Caputo

California rule gives HMO patients timely health care access

The wait may soon be over for California's 21 million HMO members, whose doctors must comply with first-in-the-nation rules prescribing how quickly they must see patients — and even how long they can leave them holding on the phone. The state's so-called timely access rules went into effect over the weekend after an eight-year delay during which doctors, health plans and consumer groups quibbled over details. | 01/20/10 06:52:15 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Idaho considers state bill against health care reform insurance

An Idaho House committee will consider a bill that would keep the federal government from compelling Idahoans to purchase health care insurance. | 01/19/10 13:31:50 By - Brian Murphy

No Medicare change, no health bill, say Democratic lawmakers

Lawmakers have told congressional leaders they won't support a health care bill unless it overhauls a complex Medicare reimbursement formula that for years has shortchanged doctors and hospitals in Washington state, which provide medical care to more than 780,000 seniors. | 01/17/10 06:00:25 By - Les Blumenthal

South Carolina's McMaster takes health care fight to DC

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster took his bid to derail congressional health-care legislation to Washington on Wednesday, addressing conservative leaders and holding a televised news conference. | 01/13/10 21:51:54 By - James Rosen

California students protest provision in health care reform bills

Michael Sertic, a college senior studying economics, is young and healthy, and he doesn't want the government forcing him to buy health insurance. | 01/11/10 16:39:04 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Mandatory health insurance becomes an issue

The so-called individual mandate, a centerpiece of the sweeping effort to overhaul the country's health care system, seemed a non-issue during most of the early debate just months ago, but in recent weeks it has emerged as another obstacle in the effort to pass legislation providing health insurance to millions of Americans who lack it. Groups of people on both the right and the left ends of the political spectrum are objecting to proposals in Congress that would compel nearly every American to buy health insurance or face a fine. | 01/11/10 06:46:38 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Cash-strapped Florida health group stops dialysis for poor patients

The financially strapped Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade's government health system intended to be a safety net for the poor and uninsured, has stopped paying for dialysis treatments for 175 poor patients with failing kidneys — a decision that experts say could be deadly. | 01/07/10 07:02:45 By - John Dorschner and Juan Carlos Chavez

Modesto's poor hit with hikes in health care costs

Leslie Cook got the news Monday when she renewed her enrollment in the Stanislaus County indigent health program. Starting this month, the county expects her to pay the first $355 every month for the medical attention she needs. | 01/06/10 15:16:03 By - Ken Carlson

If health care bill passes, some changes would start fast

More money for community health centers. Immediate help for the uninsured. No more lifetime limits on coverage. Under the health care legislation that's moving through Congress, these and other benefits would take effect quickly and should produce a noticeable impact on consumers, according to many independent analysts and Democrats. | 01/05/10 18:11:27 By - David Lightman

Better habits can help trim bloated health care system

While debate remains in Congress over health care legislation, wellness advocates are hopeful that less controversial provisions promoting healthy living will remain in any bill that reaches the president's desk. | 01/02/10 09:52:26 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Idaho's GOP governor adds his voice to health care legal threats

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday threatened to sue the United States should health care reform become law as currently drafted in bills that passed the House and Senate. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Otter said the bill passed last week by the Senate is unconstitutional, expensive and inequitable to states that didn't get special breaks. | 12/30/09 17:53:19 By - Dan Popkey

Florida AG joins state officials contemplating health care lawsuit

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum directed his staff Tuesday to investigate the legality of requiring people to buy health insurance or face a penalty, a provision included in the federal health care reform bills before Congress. McCollum said the requirement sounded like a tax on living. | 12/30/09 06:38:19 By - Lee Logan

Senate health care bill also has benefits for Florida seniors

It's not just the so-called Nebraska compromise that has raised hackles about the Senate's version of health care overhaul. In addition to a provision to pay Nebraska's costs of expanded Medicaid coverage, won by Sen. Ben Nelson in exchange for his support of the bill, the Senate bill also has a provision that would let 800,000 Florida seniors keep their Medicare Advantage plans. | 12/25/09 05:31:52 By - John Dorschner

Reactions show divisions remain after Senate health care vote

This is some of the reaction to the Senate's approval Thursday of a health care overhaul bill. | 12/24/09 09:59:36 By - Margaret Talev

Senate passes health care bill with 60-39 vote

The Senates 60-39 vote early Thursday to overhaul the nation's health care system — President Barack Obama's top 2009 domestic priority — moves the nation closer than it's ever been to a dramatic change in how Americans get medical care. | 12/24/09 07:32:57 By - David Lightman, William Douglas and Margaret Talev

Tanning salons burned over proposed health care tax

Tanning salon owners say a 10 percent tax on tanning bed use, proposed in the Senate health care overhaul bill, is anti-woman. Women make up 85 percent of tanning bed clients, according to the industry. The proposed tax was suggested after doctors objected to a tax on cosmetic surgery. Women comprise 93 percent of cosmetic surgery patients. | 12/24/09 07:15:56 By - Eric Adler and Rick Montgomery

Health plans' impact confuses constituents and lawmakers

The health-care legislation scheduled for a Senate vote early Thursday is a complex grab-bag of ideas and strategies, and a lot of senators are just as confused about the impact as the general public. Nevertheless, the Senate Wednesday kept the political momentum going, agreeing 60 to 39 to once again cut off a Republican-led debate. | 12/23/09 17:41:37 By - David Lightman

GOP may sue over health care bill's 'Nebraska compromise'

The deal, which would have the federal government pick up Nebraska's Medicaid expansion costs forever, was critical to winning Sen. Ben Nelson's vote to break the Republican filibuster in the Senate. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he and his GOP counterparts in six other states believe the arrangement, if it becomes law, would be unconstitutional. | 12/23/09 07:30:57 By - Dave Montgomery

Help us vet the Senate's health care proposal

The Senate health care bill is lengthy, more than 2,000 pages, and the so-called manager's amendment, which contains Majority Leader Harry Reid's compromises, is another 383 pages. That's a lot to read and digest. So here's an opportunity to help us. Take a look through the pages of the bill and let us know what strikes you as interesting or newsworthy. | 12/22/09 20:29:02 By -

Health care overhaul bill raises hackles of S.C. lawmakers

With the clock ticking toward a Christmas Eve Senate vote on health care reform, South Carolina Republicans lashed out Monday at the proposed legislation, and also took swipes at Democrats for the tactics used in moving the bill forward. With the Senate seemingly poised to approve a final version of its bill Christmas Eve, who is right may be less the question than who will prevail in the continuing, strident health care debate of 2009. | 12/22/09 07:33:00 By - Roddie Burris

Some states already limit health insurance company spending

Both a previously passed House measure and the health care proposal the Senate is likely to approve this week would force insurers to spend the vast majority of their premium revenues on medical care. But it's not clear from experience in the states that already have such limits that they'll keep premiums low. | 12/21/09 16:38:05 By - Julie Appleby

Health care overhaul has AARP's Cramer busy

Bonnie Cramer was on the hot seat again this month, testifying before a congressional subcommittee about the rising cost of prescription drugs. As chairwoman of the national board of AARP, the petite woman speaks with a big voice. AARP is one of the most influential lobbies in the United States, representing nearly 40 million Americans over the age of 50. | 12/21/09 07:25:43 By - Jane Stancill

COBRA help for laid-off workers may come by Christmas

Laid-off workers may soon get a reprieve from one of their worries: health insurance. A proposal to extend the health insurance subsidies for Americans who have lost jobs in the recession is one step closer to gaining congressional approval. | 12/18/09 16:20:00 By - Jenny Gold

Iowa Sen. Grassley: Government must confront overuse of health care

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley pointed to a Miami doctor, who writes prescriptions for Medicaid patients at a rate of 150 a day, seven days a week, in an attempt to show that the government needs to do something about over-utilization of health care. | 12/17/09 07:10:42 By - John Dorschner

Pelosi open to health bill without public option

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives are open to a health care overhaul without a government-run public option, a strong signal that Congress could agree on a plan early next year. | 12/16/09 19:48:47 By - David Lightman

California's plan to curb mammograms for lower income women sparks protests

Many of California's lowest-income women in their 40s no longer will be eligible for free breast cancer screenings by the state beginning New Year's Day. The decision by state health officials has stirred a hornet's nest of opposition from lawmakers and others who argue that early detection saves lives. | 12/16/09 06:47:04 By - Jim Sanders

Obama might not get health care overhaul for Christmas

President Barack Obama tried mightily Tuesday to jolt the Senate's stalled health care overhaul effort, but after an hour-long closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats, the fate of his top 2009 domestic priority remains unclear. | 12/15/09 19:42:46 By - David Lightman

Federal agents arrest 30 on charges of Medicare fraud

Federal agents Tuesday arrested about 30 doctors, nurses and healthcare operators in Miami, Detroit and New York on charges of submitting tens of millions of dollars in bogus bills to the taxpayer-funded Medicare program. | 12/15/09 15:00:39 By - Jay Weaver

Lieberman defends self as Democrats howl over health care

Liberals accused Sen. Joseph Lieberman of hypocrisy Tuesday for opposing a proposed expansion of Medicare to those willing to pay an annual premium, citing a September interview in which he called for the exapnsion of "exisitng public health insurance programs" such as Medicare. Lieberman said Tuesday, however, that the expansion isn't needed because of other provisions in the bill. | 12/15/09 13:46:26 By - David Lightman

Health care overhaul bills would benefit small businesses

Large companies have the clout to negotiate lower premiums with insurers, individuals and small businesses aren't accorded the same deals. But in both House and Senate health care overhaul bills, this group — which would be pooled together in an insurance exchange — would be better positioned to put pressure on insurers to provide lower prices, according to proponents of overhaul legislation. Part of the pressure would come from government, which would oversee the exchange. | 12/15/09 06:46:16 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Health care demonstrator's assailant gets anger management

A Miami-Dade man who punched a demonstrator at a September health care rally has reached a plea deal that includes anger-management courses and 50 hours of community service. | 12/11/09 20:15:09 By - Luisa Yanez

Analyst says health care overhaul would harm some Alaskans

The health care reform bills before Congress that would extend insurance coverage to tens of thousands of Alaskans who are uninsured wouldn't necessarily be good for all Alaskans, according to an economic consultant who is tracking the health bills for the University of Alaska. Mark Foster, a contract consultant for the Institute for Social and Economic Research, believes Alaskans who use Medicare, the federal insurance for senior citizens, will be harmed if the House bill prevails. | 12/11/09 06:43:35 By - Rosemary Shinohara

Medical e-Records companies see positive trend

Pulse Systems and MedAppz, both Wichita electronic health records companies, are expecting business to be good in 2010, thanks to health care reform and Medicare incentives. | 12/04/09 15:29:34 By - Karen Shideler

Number of uninsured Californians may rise after loss of COBRA subsidy

The loss of COBRA subsidies means thousands of laid-off Californians subsisting on unemployment checks will have to use most of that income to pay for health coverage, if they choose to keep it. In California, the average COBRA premium is $1,107 a month, but the average monthly unemployment check is $1,349 — leaving the typical unemployed Californian little left to spend on life's other expenses, according to a new study released Tuesday by Families USA. | 12/02/09 06:50:31 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

California cancer patient puts face to plight of uninsured

Huge bills begin arriving in the mail, a frightening deja vu for Tony Andrade. The shoe box in his bedroom already is stacked with overdue notices from hospitals and doctors. But a new statement from Kaiser Permanente dated Sept. 20 is particularly jolting. It gives Andrade two weeks to pay $11,309.10, most of it for the June 17 visit to the Kaiser emergency room, where the cancerous growth in his bladder was discovered. It would seem a cruel twist that those with the least have to pay the most for medical care. But lacking health insurance means forgoing the bargaining power of insurance companies. Andrade's bills likely are thousands of dollars higher than they would be if he were insured. | 12/01/09 06:44:25 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Florida taxpayers foot bill for Gov. Crist, top lawmakers' health care subsidy

Top Florida lawmakers are balking at Congress' plans to help more poor people get health care, though they've protected an entitlement of their own: free insurance premiums. Taxpayers have been stuck with covering the premiums — at a cost of about $45 million a year — even while lawmakers pledged to scrimp as they grappled with three straight years of budget shortfalls. | 11/30/09 07:17:23 By - Beth Reinhard and Marc Caputo

California man's health ordeal puts face on uninsured

In many ways, Tony Andrade is the Everyman of President Barack Obama's push for overhauling the country's health care system: working, but for low wages and without health benefits. | 11/29/09 09:42:58 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Health care overhaul rumors swirl in South Florida

Details on how South Florida will fare under the latest health care proposals are becoming known. Overall, the benefits could be huge for South Florida, where 28.1 percent of residents in Miami-Dade and 21.8 percent of Broward are uninsured. Still, rumors about the bills are flying. | 11/27/09 07:13:15 By - John Dorschner

Lobbyists' health care ad overly alarmist

Appearing in ads backed by a business-oriented group, June O'Neill, a former head of the Congressional Budget Office, says a health care overhaul will add to the already large national debt and hurt the elderly. Parts of her argument have merit, but the CBO doesn't share her alarmist view of the overhaul's fiscal dangers. | 11/25/09 17:56:44 By - Jordan Rau

Alaska senators say public option is battle point in health care bill

A day after Alaska's senators voted against each other on health care reform, both said that plans to offer people the option to buy government-run health insurance won't survive the upcoming Senate fight as written. As the Senate prepares for combat over overhauling national health care, this so-called "public option" is a key battleground. | 11/23/09 06:37:53 By - Kyle Hopkins

Senate health care bill about to enter a political minefield

The upcoming Senate debate on a health care overhaul is sure to be punctuated by tense and unpredictable battles over some of the most incendiary issues in American politics today. | 11/22/09 15:57:18 By - David Lightman

H1N1 isn't the only worry: Syphilis is making a comeback

Health workers in North Carolina have more than the H1N1 virus to worry about: Cases of syphilis in the state have nearly doubled in the past year. Statistics show syphilis and other sexually transmitted disease rates rising nationwide. | 11/22/09 17:03:55 By - Sadia Latifi

Cosmetic surgeons frown on Senate's 'botax' plan

If you're considering Botox to erase frown lines or liposuction to get rid of love handles, you might want to move fast. The "botax" may be on the way. | 11/20/09 18:22:16 By - Phil Galewitz

Doctor's diagnosis of patient: You're unemployed and fat

Dr. Earl Sunderhaus, of Asheville, N.C., recently told a patient she was irresponsible for being unemployed, on Medicaid, and relying on taxpayers to cover another pregnancy after giving birth less than a year earlier. What really galled her, the patient complained, is that Sunderhaus poked her thigh and told her she is fat. | 11/19/09 20:30:22 By - Sarah Avery

How the health overhaul bills could affect you

The health care overhaul debate in Congress now centers on two bills: the measure that the House of Representatives passed earlier this month, and the new Senate Democrats' version unveiled Wednesday. They differ in important ways. Here are answers to questions you may have about the bills: | 11/19/09 19:01:05 By - Julie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey

Washington's senators eager to start health care debate

With a pivotal vote looming in the next few days, Washington state's two senators said Thursday that it was definitely time to begin debate on the Senate Democrat's $849 billion plan to overhaul the nation's health care system. | 11/19/09 18:07:40 By - Les Blumenthal

Health care overhaul may not have immediate effect on insurance policies

Millions of Americans are now engaged in a familiar ritual: signing up for next year's health insurance coverage. But roughly half of those millions, according to a recent survey, are worried. They think the health care reform plan may force them to make major changes in their health plans quickly — perhaps within weeks — if it passes. However, that might not be the case since many of the major components of health reform won't take effect until 2013. | 11/16/09 07:25:21 By - Dave Helling

Some Floridians may face expensive health care taxes

A key provision in the main Senate healthcare reform bill could cause many South Floridians to pay taxes on their employer-based insurance on the theory that they're expensive ``Cadillac'' plans. | 11/13/09 15:47:37 By - John Dorschner

Alaska Sen. Murkowski slams health care plan at town hall

At a town hall meeting in Chugiak, Alaska, on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski propped up a foot-high stack of paper next to her at the podium — the 1,900-page health care bill passed by the House last week. Murkowski, a Republican and an outspoken opponent of Democrat-led health care reform bills, wants much more limited legislation. | 11/12/09 06:35:22 By - Rosemary Shinohara

How the House abortion restrictions would work

The health care bill that the House of Representatives has passed would bar insurers from selling policies that cover abortion to anyone who gets a federal subsidy. It does allow insurers to offer optional abortion coverage that consumers could purchase with their own money. Based on some states' experiences, however, it's unlikely that insurers would sell such coverage. | 11/11/09 15:48:32 By - Julie Appleby

N.C. Sen. Hagan facing pressure from all sides in health care debate

After an intense three-month campaign for the votes of North Carolina's House members, players in the health care debate are now likely to focus their full attention on Sen. Kay Hagan, a moderate, pro-business Democrat, who is regarded as one of a handful of senators who could play a pivotal role as the Senate takes up the landmark legislation to expand access to health insurance. Hagan has already been the subject of television commercials by the pharmaceutical industry, two mailers by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and hundreds of pickets at her Raleigh district office. | 11/10/09 07:39:17 By - Rob Christensen

South Florida man's battle with health insurer inspires 'Ian's Law'

Ian Pearl, a 37-year-old who lives in Southwest Ranches, Fla., is the inspiration for "Ian's Law," legislation being introduced by two New York state legislators that would require insurance companies to get approval from the state before dropping coverage plans for existing clients. | 11/10/09 07:01:10 By - Laura Figueroa

Republicans hope for influence in Senate health debate

Republicans Monday had new hope that they could influence health care deliberations — influence that's so far eluded them — as the debate moves to the Senate, where the rules and the politics can work to their advantage. | 11/09/09 20:28:54 By - David Lightman

$29,000 for 5 minutes in the ER raises health care questions

For five desperate minutes, emergency room doctors at UC Davis Medical Center frantically tried to revive Scott Hawkins. In those five minutes, the 23-year-old student was hooked up to life support monitors, air pumped into his weakened lungs as he bled on a gurney. | 11/08/09 15:26:05 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Could delays jeopardize health care overhaul?

Passing a health care overhaul bill might be one of the hardest things Congress has ever attempted, but waiting until next year might jeopardize the top priority for President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress. | 11/05/09 17:14:07 By - Mary Agnes Carey and Eric Pianin

Blue Dog congressman pushes tort reforms in health bill

Just as Texas Republican lawmakers were warning darkly that the latest House healthcare bill would undo the Lone Star State's tort reform, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, persuaded Democratic leaders Monday night to add a "pre-emption" provision which would keep legal reforms already made by Texas and other states to keep medical costs down. | 11/04/09 19:10:58 By - Maria Recio

Abortion funding opens rift in House health bill

Would abortions be easier or harder to obtain under the health care overhaul legislation that the House of Representatives is likely to consider later this week? It depends on how one interprets the bill. | 11/03/09 18:44:16 By - David Lightman

As much as it's been debated, public option may not matter

For all the controversy over a government-run insurance option, the program outlined in pending health overhaul legislation likely would play a minuscule role in efforts to expand health care coverage, according to many health care experts and lawmakers. | 11/02/09 15:39:45 By - Eric Pianin

ER visits amount to big health care bills for uninsured

Emergency rooms have become the U.S. health care system's safety net, where anyone can go for treatment and no one can be turned away because they can't pay in advance. But experts say using emergency care in place of checkups and doctor visits is the most expensive way to deal with chronic illness. The average emergency room bill is about $1,300; much more if the patient is admitted. A visit to a doctor's office starts around $75. | 11/02/09 07:30:49 By - Martha Quillin

Poll: Florida voters opposed to a public health care option

In a state where 20 percent of the population is uninsured, Florida voters, by a margin of 47 percent to 40 percent, oppose a Democratic plan for a government health insurance program, a poll by two of the state's most influential newspapers shows. Only in South Florida did voters support the public option, by a margin of 54 to 37 percent. | 10/30/09 18:17:07 By - Shannon Colavecchio and Marc Caputo

Senate bill's fine print: Premiums could rise in spite of caps

Proponents of the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill say the legislation will limit the amount that lower- and middle-income people must pay for health insurance to a maximum of 12 percent of their incomes. | 10/29/09 17:40:16 By - Julie Appleby

Rove-Dean health care debate punctuated by name calling

Karl Rove and Howard Dean brought the national health care debate to Penn State on Tuesday night. There was little agreement, but a good bit of name calling, during the event, which ranged in tone from heated to humorous. | 10/28/09 21:51:28 By - Ed Mahon

Three Kansas state GOP lawmakers look for health care opt-out

Three Republican lawmakers in Kansas want to give the state an opt-out should Congress pass health reforms that mandate individual health insurance. Their proposal, which would alter the Kansas Constitution, is similar to efforts under way in more than half the states, including Missouri. It's a pointed attempt to get President Barack Obama and Congress to back off efforts to retool the nation's health care system. | 10/28/09 07:44:09 By - David Klepper

Oversight panel: Government was slow on H1N1 threat

The federal government's preparedness for the H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic that's claimed far more than 1,000 lives nationwide was inadequate and incomplete, a congressional subcommittee said Tuesday. | 10/27/09 17:29:25 By - William Douglas

Schwarzenegger backs mandatory health insurance, calls for more U.S. aid

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday called on Congress to pass a health care overhaul that would require all Americans to have insurance, but he said it would cost his state more than $1 billion a year to expand Medicaid if the federal government doesn't provide more money to the states. | 10/27/09 17:28:31 By - Rob Hotakainen

Commission to rein in federal entitlement costs is proposed

Amid signs that health care overhaul legislation will do little to slow the growth in health care spending in the coming decade, lawmakers and Obama administration officials are considering tougher steps to rein in soaring budget deficits. | 10/27/09 14:43:37 By - Eric Pianin

Congress may cushion some cuts in private Medicare plans

Nearly 3 million of the 10.5 million seniors in private Medicare health plans would be shielded at least partly from the cuts planned in the program under the Senate Finance Committee's health overhaul bill, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis. | 10/22/09 18:18:57 By - Phil Galewitz

Millions are being spent to lobby Congress on health care overhaul

In the first six months of 2009, financial disclosures show, health care groups spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars -- that's billion, with a "b" -- to hire lobbyists who can influence Washington's deliberations on health care and insurance reform. And that total doesn't include lobbying by health insurance groups. | 10/19/09 07:18:26 By - Dave Helling

Insurers' ad claims seniors would lose under health bill

Upset that the Senate Finance Committee health legislation would allow millions of people to continue going without health coverage, the insurance industry launched an ad campaign to convince seniors they'd be losers under the legislation. | 10/16/09 21:25:02 By - Jordan Rau

Women tell Congress about health insurance disparities

When Amanda Buchanan and her schoolteacher husband talked about having a second baby, it felt as though there were three people at the table, she told a Senate committee Thursday. "Myself, my husband and our insurance policy," Buchanan said | 10/15/09 18:19:19 By - Erika Bolstad

Generic drug makers say 'no' to health overhaul tab

Generic drug makers, which have saved Americans hundreds of billions of dollars in the past decade with their low-cost, copycat medicines, don't think they should join other health industries to finance a health care overhaul. | 10/15/09 16:55:30 By - Phil Galewitz

Move over, South Beach: Florida now brings you the cookie diet

To some people, he is simply The Cookie Man. Although this moniker has given him wealth and prestige, he often wants people to remember that "doctor" is the title he is most proud of. The secret to losing weight, Sanford Siegal has been telling his patients for the last 30 years, is eating cookies. | 10/15/09 01:04:00 By - Robert Samuels

Former insurance executive says health care bills don't address costs

After 18 years as an insurance executive, Ron Howrigon decided to leave the business the night his son was born. It was late, and the delivery doctor, whose salary Howrigon had worked to undercut in negotiations for his insurance company employer, finally performed a Caesarean section birth. As Howrigon thanked him, the doctor shrugged and said it was his job. Howrigon is watching the congressional debate over health care bills with trepidation. He worries the current health care overhaul proposals will hurt doctors even more than he did in his past life. | 10/14/09 07:33:56 By - Sarah Avery

Snowe says Democrats have to work to keep her support

As many had speculated, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was the lone voice of Republican support Tuesday when the Senate Finance Committee approved its health care bill 14-9. | 10/13/09 20:15:23 By - Markham Heid

Health bills would mandate children's dental coverage

Pediatric dental care, which has long been a concern of children's health advocates, would get a major boost from each of the pending national health overhaul proposals, as all call for expanding coverage. | 10/13/09 18:44:50 By - Jessica Marcy

Health care overhaul clears Senate panel, but divisions remain

The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-9 on Tuesday to back a sweeping overhaul of the nation's health care system, clearing the way for a historic congressional showdown this fall over how Americans receive and pay for their medical care. Democrats hailed the vote as a milestone, but a lot of disagreements remain. The plan gained only one Republican vote, from Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. | 10/13/09 18:44:32 By - David Lightman

Cantwell: Health bill a 'good start', but more is needed

Calling it a "good start" but adding that she thinks Congress needs to be even more aggressive, Sen. Maria Cantwell supported a sweeping health care bill approved Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee. | 10/13/09 18:44:20 By - Les Blumenthal

Sen. Snowe, a lonely Republican, will vote for health bill

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said Tuesday that she'll back the Democratic-authored Senate Finance Committee plan to revamp America's health care system, breaking with her party to give the effort a dab of the bipartisan look that the White House and Democratic leaders eagerly sought. | 10/13/09 13:38:30 By - David Lightman

Some Californians rally for single-payer health care system

Some critics of the Obama administration's plan to remake health care call it a government takeover of medicine. But Kathy Dennis doesn't think it goes far enough. Dennis, 49, a registered nurse from Woodland, Calif., wants the government to dismantle the private health insurance industry and replace it with a single, government-run insurer. | 10/13/09 06:54:03 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Health bills in Congress won't fix doctor shortage

Even as Congress moves to expand health insurance coverage to millions of Americans, it's doing little to ensure there will be enough primary care doctors to meet the expected surge in demand for treatment, experts say. | 10/12/09 18:30:23 By - Phil Galewitz

N.C. lets insurers charge women more

A 25-year-old woman seeking health insurance in North Carolina on her own could expect to pay $60 to $300 a month for her coverage. Her twin brother? Up to 50 percent less. | 10/12/09 13:10:16 By - Barbara Barrett

Rural hospitals fear health care overhaul won't help them

The Peach County Regional Medical Center, a small, Cold War-era hospital in Fort Valley, Ga., 40 miles from the nearest trauma center in Macon, is in critical condition. Medical specialists who are hard to recruit to rural areas often take one look at the hospital's worn and soiled carpet and peeling wallpaper and decide to hang their shingles elsewhere. The emergency room has only five beds, so when patients with serious injuries or illnesses are admitted, other less critical patients must move. Administrators at rural facilities like Peach County Regional are closely watching the health care debate in Washington. | 10/09/09 17:48:10 By - Halimah Abdullah

In healthy California, the health care is not all that good

Californians may lead healthier lives than most Americans, but the state's record on health care is mostly mediocre or dismal, according to a study released today that provides a state-by-state snapshot of health care in this country. | 10/08/09 16:08:16 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Idaho's two senators back health care vote delays

Both of Idaho's senators are joining the call to give all legislation a cooling off period. The proposal, born of the health care debate, requires that legislation be posted in a searchable form on the Internet for 72 hours before the Senate votes on it. It would apply to committee votes as well as final votes on the Senate floor. | 10/08/09 14:58:54 By - Erika Bolstad

California's health care system doesn't measure up, according to report

Californians may lead healthier lives than most Americans, but the state's record on health care is mostly mediocre or dismal, according to a study released today that provides a state-by-state snapshot of health care in this country. California ranked fifth among all states in having a population leading "healthy lives," but ranked in the bottom 10 on such measures as access to health care and prevention and treatment. | 10/08/09 06:53:53 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Bunning renews transparency push for health care bill

Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning is making a renewed push for greater transparency in the health care overhaul legislation as lawmakers stitch it together. Bunning and a growing group of Senate Republicans and moderate Democrats are pressing congressional leaders this week to post the measures online, giving constituents a chance to read bills before lawmakers cast their votes. | 10/07/09 18:13:56 By - Halimah Abdullah

Survey: less than half Kansas City doctors, hospital execs want changes

Kansas City's medical and business communities appear more resistant to major changes in health care than the public at large. | 10/07/09 14:39:55 By - Dave Helling

North Carolina to adopt 'fat tax' on state employees

N.C. officials, coping with a steady uptick in health care costs for state employees each year, are aiming to improve state workers' health, which saves money in medical expenses. North Carolina is poised to become only the second state to penalize state employees by placing them in a more expensive health insurance plan if they're obese or smoke. | 10/07/09 07:26:51 By - Mark Johnson

California woman denied health insurance for condition she doesn't have

Like a lot of self-employed people, Valerie Scaglione and her husband, Michael, who run two businesses from their home outside Auburn California, find themselves in a significant health insurance crunch. Yet when she tried to switch from the family's expensive individual insurance to a Blue Shield group plan that's more affordable, she said, she and her oldest daughter were denied coverage. She said neither of them has the medical conditions that were listed as reasons for being denied bronchitis and a skin ailment. | 10/07/09 06:55:58 By - Anita Creamer

Schwarzenegger gets bill to monitor ER overcrowding

With more people using emergency rooms as their primary source for medical care, ER physicians are urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill aimed at easing overcrowding in the place of last resort for the uninsured and medically indigent. | 10/07/09 06:48:08 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Health care facts: Women pay more for health insurance

Women of child-bearing age routinely pay more for health care because they're women. If they're pregnant, they can be legally denied coverage. Legislation now being considered by Congress to overhaul America's health care system would dramatically change the rules, and there's general agreement that this is a problem that needs fixing. | 10/06/09 23:50:59 By - David Lightman

Malpractice not to blame for rising health costs, panel says

Curbing medical malpractice litigation isn't the "silver bullet" that's needed to slay the werewolf of rising health care costs, a panel of academics said Tuesday. "Health policy myths become convenient truths," said Gregg Bloche, a graduate of the medical and law schools at Yale and a former visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. | 10/06/09 23:50:45 By - Markham Heid

Software company SAS says employee health care investment is good business

There is standard employer-sponsored health insurance — and then there are SAS-provided benefits. The Cary, North Carolina-based software company built an on-site health clinic, staffed with doctors and nurse practitioners. SAS has a simple reason for investing so much in the health of its employees, spokeswoman Allison Lane said: "It makes good business sense." | 10/05/09 07:29:14 By - Matt Ehlers

Domestic violence as pre-existing condition? 8 states still allow it

ight states and the District of Columbia don't have laws that specifically bar insurance companies from using domestic violence as a pre-existing condition to deny health coverage, according to a study from the National Women's Law Center. | 10/04/09 06:00:39 By - Les Blumenthal

Senate health care bill may be finished, but divisions remain

Both houses of Congress are poised to start a historic debate on sweeping legislation to overhaul America's health care system, yet despite months of committee deliberations, some major issues remain unsettled. The Senate Finance Committee, set for final approval of its proposal, has exposed sharp divisions among Democrats about the extent of government involvement in health insurance and how to pay for any changes; Republicans are all but universally opposed to the Democrats' terms. | 10/02/09 17:32:29 By - David Lightman

N.C. woman has two jobs but still can't afford health care

There's a Moon Pie giveaway at noon today in front of Sen. Kay Hagan's office in Raleigh. Behind the treat is a less-than-sweet story about a woman in need and a health care system she says has failed her.

"We are not asking for the moon," says Kim Yaman, who organized the snack attack to press Hagan and other lawmakers in Washington to quit bickering and craft a new national health care policy. "We just want affordable, accessible health care." | 10/02/09 12:00:30 By - Sarah Avery

Florida Sen. Nelson steps into health care overhaul debate

With the Senate Finance Committee poised to resume the health care debate Tuesday, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has stepped into the fray. In recent days, Nelson has proposed a series of amendments to the leading Senate health care reform proposal, prompting hours of debate. One of Nelson's amendments, which would preserve some Medicare coverage critics would like to scale back, could come up for a vote this week, though it faces significant resistance. | 09/29/09 19:30:07 By - Lesley Clark

U.S. can learn from California's health insurance experiment, experts say

The Obama administration wants to remake the health insurance market so millions now without health coverage can buy private policies through a proposed government-run insurance exchange. California's failed 13-year experiment with a health insurance exchange could be instructive, experts say, as Washington debates the direction it will take to revamp the country's health care system. | 09/29/09 19:29:28 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Michael Moore tells Democrats: 'Find your spine' on health care

Sans video camera, filmmaker Michael Moore on Tuesday turned his megaphone on the current health care system and those Blue Dog Democrats he claims are "dogging" the health care debate. | 09/29/09 18:34:51 By - Markham Heid

Panel's head faces 3 Democratic factions on health care

As their Finance Committee resumed work Tuesday on Chairman Max Baucus' health care overhaul legislation, Senate Democrats appeared to be dividing into three important camps: those solidly behind Baucus, D-Mont., those reluctantly leaning in his direction and a handful of wild cards, who'll wield great influence. | 09/29/09 15:42:25 By - Mary Agnes Carey and Eric Pianin

How much will health bill cost? Depends on what language it's in

Senate Democrats are trumpeting their claim that the Senate Finance Committee's emerging bill to overhaul health care appears to reduce federal deficits over the next 10 years — but that projection is uncertain at best. | 09/24/09 18:52:31 By - David Lightman

Census: health care in Merced grim

In Merced county, California, twenty percent of the population, or 50,000 people, lack health insurance. Roughly half the population has private insurance. A third of the population is covered by a public plan, according to the 2008 American Community Survey. | 09/23/09 14:51:10 By - Scott Jason

South Florida has high rate of uninsured

As the nation's leaders continue to argue about the merits of health care reform, the 2008 data, released as part of the American Community Survey, confirmed what has long been known — that Florida in general and South Florida in particular have unusually high rates of uninsured. | 09/23/09 07:11:47 By - John Dorschner

Little known, North Carolina has a public health insurance program

When Cary Hicks lost his group health insurance earlier this year, he discovered a new public health insurance program created by the legislature. He now pays $550 a month in premiums -- not cheap, but one-third of what a similar policy would have cost him in the private market. | 09/21/09 15:44:22 By - Rob Christensen

Democrats' health-care split makes predictions impossible

The party is badly, even bitterly, divided over a host of hard-to-resolve issues — including the scale of government involvement, cost and abortion. Party leaders say there will be a bill, but it's not at all clear that Obama can muster the 218 House votes and 60 Senate votes he needs to get the bill passed. | 09/18/09 16:59:30 By - David Lightman

Washington state's Cantwell wants changes made to Baucus health care bill

Sen. Maria Cantwell said unless significant changes were made she would be unable to support a major health care reform bill unveiled Wednesday by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. | 09/16/09 19:16:33 By - Les Blumenthal

Blue Dogs dig in as influential bloc in health care debate

In many ways, President Barack Obama's address to Congress on Wednesday was aimed at lawmakers like Georgia Reps. Jim Marshall and Sanford Bishop -- fiscally conservative Democrats who represent rural enclaves and small towns in ideologically moderate to conservative Southern districts. | 09/12/09 15:31:59 By - Halimah Abdullah

Big campaign bucks promise to keep 'You lie' outcry alive

Rep. Joe Wilson and his likely Democratic challenger Rob Miller received more money in political contributions in the last two days than they did during entire election cycle when they faced off in 2008. Miller has taken in $850,000 since the outburst, while Wilson received $750,000 — guaranteeing that the race will be among the nation's most watched in 2010. | 09/11/09 16:31:35 By - James Rosen

How 'trigger' approach could help health care bill pass

The so-called "trigger" approach would hold a public option health insurance plan in reserve and allow it to go forward only if affordable insurance isn't available to most Americans by 2013. | 09/10/09 18:38:12 By - Eric Pianin and Mary Agnes Carey

Text of letter to the President from Senator Edward M. Kennedy

The text of the letter from Senator Edward M. Kennedy referenced by the President in his address to a Joint Session of Congress. | 09/09/09 21:47:02 By -

Text of President Obama's health care speech

Remarks of President Barack Obama to a joint session of Congress on health care, as prepared for delivery. | 09/09/09 20:53:34 By -

Proposed cuts to Medicare private plans worry seniors

Seniors have embraced privately run Medicare health plans that offer benefits that go well beyond ones offered by traditional Medicare. But they're expensive for the government, which pays the premiums. Obama would like to cut $177 billion in federal payments to the private plans to help finance coverage for the uninsured. | 09/08/09 18:39:29 By - Phil Galewitz

Key House Dem. Clyburn: 'half a loaf' on health care better than nothing

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is pushing a compromise on the most contentious part of President Barack Obama's bid to provide medical benefits to uninsured Americans. Instead of a nationwide government insurance program, Clyburn is urging other Democrats to accept a scaled-down public option that would be tested as a pilot program in several parts of the country. | 09/03/09 19:03:44 By - James Rosen

GOP takes aim at Pelosi in bid to block health care reform

The personal attacks on Nancy Pelosi may have hit a low point in August, when Fox News host Glenn Beck joked about adding poison to the House speaker's glass of wine. But they weren't the last. This week, Republicans began running ads in Colorado and Alabama aimed at tying Democrats from those states to Pelosi if they voter for reform. | 09/02/09 17:28:40 By - Rob Hotakainen

Health care advocate punched by opponent at Florida event

A 65-year-old man rallying in favor of health care reform was knocked to the ground by a man who disagreed with the call for a government-run health plan outside of a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce meeting headlined by Sen. Bill Nelson. | 09/02/09 14:48:32 By - Toluse Olorunnipa

How do you force everyone to have health insurance?

In theory, health coverage would work something like the requirement that drivers buy auto insurance. But everyone knows someone who has been hit by an uninsured, and sometimes even an unlicensed, driver. So just how would an individual health insurance mandate work? | 09/02/09 14:05:46 By - Diane Stafford

McCain, McConnell: Start over on health care

U.S. Sen. John McCain and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Charlotte audience this morning that Congress and the president should "start over" on health care reform. | 09/01/09 14:15:03 By - Jim Morrill

Texas lawmakers say North Texans oppose health plans

North Texans have written letters and e-mails by the thousands, made countless phone calls and turned out for town-hall meetings, mobilized as never before, some lawmakers say, by the proposed government overhaul of the nations health care system. | 08/31/09 14:18:09 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Hundreds in Georgia protest 'ObamaCare'

A few hundred people gathered at Macon's Rosa Parks Square on Wednesday to rally against the health-care reform plan being debated in Washington. | 08/27/09 16:05:43 By - Phillip Ramati

'Stay fired up,' Rep. Graves tells town hall crowd in Kansas City

About 400 people turned out Wednesday for a town hall meeting sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, with nearly all expressing opposition to current health care reform proposals. | 08/27/09 15:26:42 By - Lynn Horsley

In Kennedy's death, some see hope on health care

Securing universal health care coverage for Americans was a decades-long quest that eluded Sen. Edward Kennedy. In the wake of his death, however, several key Democrats on Wednesday saw a chance to break what's become this year's stalemate by invoking his legacy and last wishes. | 08/26/09 19:11:58 By - David Lightman and Margaret Talev

Health care industry contributes heavily to Blue Dogs

As the Obama administration and Democrats wrangled over the timing, shape and cost of health care overhaul efforts during the first half of the year, more than half the $1.1 million in campaign contributions the Democratic Party's Blue Dog Coalition received came from the pharmaceutical, health care and health insurance industries, according to watchdog organizations. | 08/26/09 18:40:06 By - Halimah Abdullah

Emotions run high at Rep. Myrick's town hall meeting

More that 1,200 people crowded into Weddington High School Tuesday night for a boisterous town hall meeting that evoked passionate sentiments not only about health care, but also immigration and the Obama administration. | 08/26/09 15:21:52 By - Jim Morrill

Georgia representative has town hall on health care

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop told more than 530 people at a town hall meeting he had not made up his mind on how he would vote on health care reform legislation. | 08/20/09 15:34:49 By - Chuck Williams and Lily Gordon

Senator DeMint town hall stays civil in Myrtle beach

A health care town hall featuring U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint drew more people from both parties than anyone expected, but the atmosphere inside and outside the restaurant stayed civil. | 08/19/09 16:03:01 By - Claudia Lauer

Sen. DeMint's health care town hall relatively quiet

A health care town hall featuring U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint drew more people from both parties than anyone expected, but the atmosphere inside and outside the restaurant stayed civil. | 08/19/09 16:03:34 By - Claudia Lauer

Amid health care picketing, study details rising cost of premiums

North Carolinians have seen their health insurance costs rise five times faster than their salaries over the last decade, according a new report released this morning that will likely add more fuel to the health care debate. | 08/18/09 13:24:31 By - Rob Christensen

Are health care co-ops the answer for reforming the system?

The day after the Obama administration hinted it might drop the option of publicly supported health insurance, politicians and taxpayers scrambled to understand what the alternative to public insurance might look like. One possibility is health insurance cooperatives. "Co-ops" would provide competition for private insurers, making many Democrats happy, but would not be run by the government, pleasing most Republicans. | 08/18/09 10:18:41 By - Dan Helling

Obama's hint that he'd drop public plan provokes ire

Concerned that the president might be ready to negotiate away one of their key goals, liberal Democrats pressed President Barack Obama on Monday to resist conservative opposition and maintain support for a government insurance option as part of his health care overhaul. | 08/18/09 10:18:29 By - Steven Thomma

Most health industry players would win under overhaul

When Congress and the White House began talking about a health care overhaul, the industries that profit from the $2.5 trillion system were understandably nervous. But as the legislation takes shape, it appears much of the anxiety was misplaced. | 08/16/09 14:19:50 By - Phil Galewitz

Healthy question: Whats all the shouting really about?

The issues — tax policy, employer mandates, community-rated insurance plans — required the combined expertise of a doctor, an economist, a lawyer and an actuary to fully grasp. But ever since Congress stopped talking and went into recess several weeks ago, the health care reform debate has grown white-hot. Topping the bill are the issues of euthanasia, abortion, illegal immigration, federal ID cards, socialized medicine. | 08/15/09 15:47:34 By - ALAN BAVLEY and DAVE HELLING

N.C. protesters aim message at Sen. Hagan

Critics of President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the health-care system finished an intense week of opposition Friday by picketing the Raleigh district office of Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

About 250 people showed up outside the Federal Building on New Bern Avenue in downtown Raleigh on Friday afternoon, carrying placards with such messages as "We the people say no to socialism," "Freedom isn't free and neither is Obamacare" and "Pack your bags Congress, you're fired." | 08/15/09 15:24:50 By - ROB CHRISTENSEN

Health care proponents and opponents converge on Modesto

Modesto had its own town hall meeting over health care reform Friday — only it didn't include a town hall.

Nearly 200 people gathered downtown during lunchtime to rally in support of or against changes to the U.S. health care system. | 08/15/09 14:38:42 By - Michelle Hatfield

Florida rally for public health-care option draws counter protest

A demonstration organized by outside the Coral Gables, Fla., office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in support of a public insurance option drew 100 supporters and about 150 opponents, organized by the editor of The two sides shouted slogans at one another, but did not clash physically. Nelson was not present. | 08/14/09 00:17:28 By - Toluse Olorunnipa

In Macon, Senator Chambliss speaks about health-care reform

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., addressed the issue of health-care reform with the Macon Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday afternoon on the Central Georgia Technical College campus in Macon. | 08/13/09 18:46:55 By - Thomas L. Day

'Town brawls' have California reps rethinking how to reach out

Congressional town hall meetings can now be a contact sport, so the five lawmakers from California's San Joaquin Valley are trying different strategies for meeting with constituents. Some lawmakers are holding traditional town halls. Some are meeting with select groups. Some are emphasizing targeted meetings and telephone conference calls. | 08/13/09 16:57:54 By - Michael Doyle

Rep. Tiahrt, in Wichita, gets warm response at area town halls

The fear of government intrusion into private lives was the underlying theme of a series of meetings U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, held Tuesday in his home district. | 08/12/09 17:18:03 By - Fred Mann

Specter jeered by angry crowd at Penn State health forum

"Turncoat!" someone shouted at Sen. Arlen Specter as he tried to explain his decisions to both vote for the Obama administration's economic stimulus program and then change from a Republican to a Democrat. More than 1,600 people were kept from entering the forum, which was held in a room that reached capacity at 400. | 08/12/09 15:06:07 By - Mike Joseph

Emotions run high at N.C. health care town hall (with photos)

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Amid heckling and boos Tuesday night, North Carolina held its first congressional health care forum since the issue has become a national flash point. | 08/12/09 12:54:02 By - Rob Christensen

If U.S. health care's so good, why do other people live longer?

Ask around for the healthiest country in the world, and the United States won't come close to topping the list. People live longer in just about every industrialized nation, from Canada to our north, throughout much of Europe, and around the Pacific in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. | 08/12/09 08:15:34 By - Carrie Peyton Dahlberg

At last, a Republican takes on Palin over health-care claims

"It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there's these end-of-life provisions, these death panels," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told an Anchorage health-care forum on Tuesday. "Quite honestly, I'm so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn't (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill." | 08/12/09 07:49:00 By - Lisa Demer

Reality check: Health care scare talk is just that, scary talk

The strongest critics call the Obama administration's healthcare ideas "downright evil'' and claim that government "death panels'' will decide who among the old and weak should die while Medicare benefits get slashed to fund the uninsured. The reality is much less sensational. | 08/12/09 06:32:54 By - John Dorschner

Headed to a health care 'town brawl?' Read this first

Two independent organizations that are widely respected for objective fact-checking on topics of political controversy,, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and Politifact, a Pulitzer-prize winning project of the St. Petersburg Times, have checked many of the claims being made about health-care proposals and found them inaccurate. Democratic congressional staffers summarized their findings in a memo released Tuesday. | 08/11/09 16:13:45 By -

Look out: Specter to host health care debate in Pennsylvania

The potentially volatile political dispute over health care reform is headed for State College on Wednesday as U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter plans a town hall meeting at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel. | 08/11/09 14:27:00 By - Mike Joseph

Health care plan backers hit the road in North Caroilna

With critics of President Obama's health care proposals having finished their bus tour, supporters of the plan will begin theirs. Beginning tonight in Greenville, the State Employees Association of North Carolina will host a series of town meetings on health insurance reform across the state.

"State employees are concerned about health care," SEANC executive director Dana Cope in a statement. "Many of them can't afford to cover their spouses or children on the State Health Plan, adding to the growing number of uninsured North Carolinians." | 08/10/09 17:07:33 By - Rob Christensen

N. Carolina Dems tout Obama health care — in private

Three Democratic congressmen tried to build support for President Obama's health care proposal Monday, saying it would help ensure that when middle class people became seriously ill, or changed or lost jobs, they would not be left to pay their own medical bills. They did so at a private event. | 08/10/09 16:55:41 By - Rob Christensen

Pharmacists' nonprofit in Durham could be a model for health-care reform

For 15 years, pharmacists at a Durham nonprofit have helped older, low-income people take the right prescription drugs, in the right amounts at the right times. | 08/10/09 15:57:34 By - Thomas Goldsmith

As Congress debates, Gulf Coast Mississippi still uninsured

While Congress expects to keep debating over a national health care insurance plan after its August recess, thousands of people in on Mississippi's Gulf Coast are going with no health insurance protection at all. | 08/10/09 14:32:27 By - J. R. Welsh

Underinsured seek spot in health care discussion

Laura Burwell was weeding her backyard vineyard last summer when she was bit by a rattlesnake. She rushed to a Chico hospital for antivenin and morphine, which eased the pain during an overnight stay. Then came the unexpected sting of a $73,000 hospital bill — and shock upon learning her health insurance would cover a mere $3,000. | 08/10/09 14:20:55 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Florida small businesses confused, concerned over health care

MANATEE, Fla. — Fear and confusion abound when local small business owners think about the health care proposals going through Congress. Some worry about massive government red tape and intense oversight; others fear they wont be able to afford offering coverage to their employees without cutting back elsewhere. Still some are flummoxed by all the debate and have adopted a wait-and-see attitude until a bill is passed and signed. | 08/10/09 13:38:22 By - Jennifer Rich

S.C. senator takes on Obama over health care overhaul

Soft-spoken, slight of physical stature and not even the senior senator in his own state, Jim DeMint wouldn't seem like the most likely choice to fill the role of one-man Obama wrecking crew. | 08/10/09 10:30:39 By - James Rosen

Health care debate spills onto North Carolina streets

The crowd, intense but not unruly, turned sedate, tree-lined St. Mary's Street into political theater with signs such as "Hands off My Health Care," and "God Forgive Them, They May not Know They are Helping Traitors," and "Right Wing Organizer." | 08/08/09 16:27:31 By - Rob Christenson

Healthcare overhaul supporters rally at Fla. lawmaker's office

Looking to shift some of the attention Republicans have generated in recent days with raucous opposition to a national healthcare overhaul, a group of largely Democratic activists rallied Friday in support of the planned changes. | 08/08/09 16:21:17 By - Laura Figueroa

Kentucky Democrat faces heat over health care, energy bill

Rep. Ben Chandler is trying to balance his support for the administration's health care overhaul with his own discomfort over proposals on how to structure and fund changes. | 08/08/09 16:03:28 By - Halimah Abdullah

Hundreds gather at congressman's health care event

Hundreds of people for or against health care reform filled a coffee shop here this morning and lined up for blocks to get into what was to be a small monthly private chat session. | 08/08/09 15:55:33 By - Joe Lambe

Health care forum canceled in Fresno, California

Officials at the University of California at San Francisco's Fresno center insisted that scheduling conflicts compelled them to pull the plug. Doubters wonder if they just hoped to avoid protesters. | 08/08/09 15:31:36 By - Michael Doyle and John Ellis

Health care debate degenerates into brawls, death threats

From Connecticut to California, angry demonstrators opposed to health care reform have disrupted recent town hall meetings held by congressional Democrats. They attack lawmakers for backing a "socialist agenda," shout questions without waiting for answers and repeat misinformation as fact, in some cases even accusing Democrats of favoring mandatory euthanasia for senior citizens. | 08/07/09 19:20:17 By - David Goldstein

Commentary: This country needs an outburst of common sense

If ever there were a time for comprehensive health care reform, it's now, and yet the forces of darkness are lining up against this urgent need, buttressed by lies, mobs inflamed by those lies and millions of dollars changing hands and changing votes in Washington, D.C. | 08/07/09 19:08:13 By - Joseph L. Galloway

Palin accuses Obama of backing health-care 'death panel'

Further staking out right-wing political ground in a Facebook post today, former Gov. Palin blasted Democratic-led health care reform and accused President Obama of backing a "death panel." | 08/07/09 18:55:06 By -

Republicans targeted with health care robo-calls

MIAMI — Democrats are amping up their efforts to push President Obama's health care reform efforts — targeting Mario Diaz-Balart and 24 other Republicans with robo and live calls, part of a month-long advertising and grassroots offensive they've dubbed Health Care ER, a "health care emergency response network." | 08/07/09 18:24:22 By - Lesley Clark

Democrats avoid health care town halls amid disruptions

The town hall forum, long a hallmark of the August congressional recess, is disappearing this year as the partisan lines harden and tempers flare over the health care debate.

Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of Raleigh received a death threat from a constituent, his staff said. The caller was angry that Miller wasn't holding a town hall meeting. | 08/07/09 17:59:50 By - Rob Christensen and Tim Funk

Democrats hit the road to sell health insurance plan

As Congress left town for its August break, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio predicted that the Democrats were in for a long, hot summer. He might be right. | 08/07/09 16:14:30 By - Rob Hotakainen

Washington state's Baird chooses to skip 'town halls' this year

Since being elected 11 years ago, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Vancouver, has held 305 town hall meetings in sweaty high school gyms, community centers and county courthouses across his district. | 08/07/09 16:14:41 By - Les Blumenthal

Blue Dog lawmaker has harsh words for conservative group

An incensed Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., is ready to go to the mat with Grover Norquist, a GOP strongman whose organization, Americans for Tax Reform, sent a news release out this week claiming that Taylor had changed his position on health care. | 08/07/09 17:51:12 By - Maria Recio

Republicans bet on attacking Democrats

Republicans are aggressively spreading a simple but tart message across the nation this summer: Democrats only want to tax and spend wildly and expand an already-bloated government. | 08/07/09 17:49:39 By - David Lightman

Democrats say they won't bow to 'shrill' health-care protests

President Obama didn't close the differences among Democratic senators on how best to revise the country's health-care system during a pep rally Tuesday at the White House. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned protesters who've recently disrupted townhall meetings that they won't stop the process. | 08/07/09 17:39:31 By - David Lightman and William Douglas

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