Health Care

One woman's story of qualifying for coverage under Affordable Care Act

Carissa Brooks went to the Crossroads Shopping Center in Bellevue, Wash., Saturday to buy some thread. She went home with some health insurance. | 10/19/13 23:44:03 By - By JAY GREENE

For thousands, keeping your old health insurance policy isn’t an option

Health insurance companies are sending notices of cancellation to hundreds of thousands of people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more expensive policies. | 10/18/13 16:33:47 By - By Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby

Conscience gets lost in Obamacare maze

Obamacare was billed as an affordable, easy system of obtaining health insurance, where Americans could simply pick health plans that best fit their family's needs. But the resulting health care law, characterized by rising costs and onerous government mandates, is looking more and more like a maze that's maddeningly difficult to traverse. | 10/18/13 08:10:04 By - By SARAH TORRE

Health care law, medical device tax survive shutdown debate

With the debt ceiling stalemate now resolved, the Affordable Care Act and its tax on medical devices have both emerged virtually unscathed from the latest – but probably not the last – political effort to weaken the contentious health care overhaul. | 10/17/13 16:58:04 By - By Tony Pugh

Report: Neediest health centers to get least ACA funding

Community health centers in states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act will forgo more than half a billion dollars in new revenue in 2014, according to a new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. | 10/16/13 18:30:03 By - By CHRISTINE VESTAL

Health insurance 101: What you need to know

For uninsured Floridians who are now signing up for the Affordable Care Act, it can be tough to navigate the world of HMOs, PPOs, co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance. | 10/16/13 08:10:05 By - By SCOTT POWERS

House Republicans will probe botched launch of Obamacare

Republicans in the House of Representatives are making plans to investigate the disastrous Oct. 1 launch of the federal health insurance marketplace established under Obamacare. | 10/15/13 18:31:28 By - By Tony Pugh

Health care law a hard sell among Native Americans

For many uninsured Americans, the motivation for checking out the health insurance exchanges is simple - they could face stiff penalties if they don't sign up. For Native Americans, the decision is more complicated. | 10/15/13 08:15:04 By - By CHRISTINE VESTAL

Affordable Care Act has many conservative ideas at its core

Supporters downplay the notion. Opponents ignore it. Yet at the core of the Affordable Care Act are many ideas backed by conservatives and decried by liberals. | 10/13/13 08:03:42 By - By GUY BOULTON

Q&A: Readers' questions answered on Affordable Care Act

In a live chat on the Orlando Sentinel's website, Anne Packham, lead navigator for Central Florida for the federal Affordable Care Act, answered questions from readers on how to sign up for insurance. | 10/10/13 15:15:50 By - By SCOTT POWERS

Beware of con artists' schemes related to Affordable Care Act

Consumers weren't able to sign up for insurance under new health care exchanges until last week, but con artists have been scheming for months to steal money or Social Security numbers under the guise of the Affordable Care Act. | 10/09/13 16:24:26 By - By EILEEN AMBROSE

As feds ponder solutions, bedrails pose deadly hazard to frail, elderly, mentally impaired

Thousands of people have been injured and hundreds killed after becoming trapped in safety rails installed to keep them from falling out of bed. | 10/08/13 06:00:00 By - By Lindsay Wise

Report: States lack strategies to curb prescription drug overdoses

Despite a major increase in prescription drug overdoses and deaths, most states aren’t doing all they can to combat the problem, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health. | 10/07/13 19:06:22 By - By Kendall Helblig

Cancer society, researchers look back on decades’ worth of progress in fight against cancer

Research on the detection, prevention and treatment of cancer has made substantial progress during the 100 years the American Cancer Society has been in existence. In fact, the society’s hope is that it won’t live to see another 100 years. | 10/07/13 00:00:00 By - By Justine McDaniel

Flood of consumer inquiries could make or break Obama health law

Kentucky health officials thought they might get a handful of serious shoppers when they flipped the switch Tuesday on Kynect, the new online insurance marketplace the state created under President Barack Obama's health care law. | 10/06/13 15:44:26 By - By NOAM N. LEVEY AND CHAD TERHUNE

Obamacare meets extra resistance in Oklahoma

The nation's health-care law was written with the residents of rural counties like Choctaw in mind. A quarter of the Oklahomans who live in the ranch country near the southeastern corner of the state are uninsured, one of many reasons their health ranks near the bottom of Oklahoma's 77 counties. But that does not mean people here want Obamacare. | 10/06/13 08:09:27 By - By MAEVE RESTON

Computer glitches still ail some state health care signup sites

For the second straight day, computer problems continued to stymie online visitors hoping to compare health plans or enroll in coverage on state insurance marketplaces under the new health care law. | 10/02/13 18:30:38 By - By Tony Pugh

Obamacare begins with fits and starts

The nationwide launch of the new online health insurance marketplaces got off to a rocky start on Tuesday. | 10/01/13 19:38:00 By - By Tony Pugh

Families urge stronger restrictions on painkillers

Steve Rummler was a financial planner and musician who was about to marry his high school sweetheart when his addiction to pain medication prescribed for a back injury led him to a fatal overdose. | 10/01/13 20:10:29 By - By Sarah Sexton

Consumers denied health insurance look to Obamacare marketplaces

Denise Marshall of Sonoma, Calif., was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011, and a year later lost her toy company job along with her health insurance benefits. | 10/01/13 03:30:50 By - By Phil Galewitz

Obamacare born in controversy, rolls out still mired in dispute

After years of attempts to defend, defame and now defund it, the Affordable Care Act’s watershed moment is finally here. On Tuesday, the health care law’s online insurance marketplaces are scheduled to debut in every state, giving Americans their first opportunity to kick the tires and purchase insurance benefits that might not have been available to them before. | 09/27/13 19:27:01 By - By Tony Pugh

Poll: 'The partisan divide over the health care law is stark'

Americans are divided over whether Obamacare should survive. | 09/26/13 13:26:54 By - By David Lightman

Obamacare program for small business will be delayed a month

In the latest setback for the rollout of Obamacare, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that small businesses in 36 states can’t enroll their workers into health coverage through the new federally run insurance marketplaces until at least Nov. 1 – one month later than previously announced. | 09/26/13 18:39:12 By - By Tony Pugh

Health plans on Texas exchange priced below national average

The Texas health insurance exchange created under the federal Affordable Care Act will offer dozens of policies starting Oct. 1 with premiums on average below the national level, the government announced today. | 09/25/13 13:33:15 By - Jim Fuquay

Report: Obamacare health insurance will have affordable rates

In spite of concerns about “sticker shock,” rates for individual coverage on the new health insurance marketplaces appear to be lower than expected in most states due mainly to robust competition among insurers, the Obama administration reported Wednesday. | 09/25/13 00:00:00 By - By Tony Pugh

Obamacare’s tax credits: Tell me again how they work?

About 6 million of the 7 million people expected to buy health coverage on the new insurance marketplaces next year will be low- and middle-income consumers who’ll receive federal subsidies, or “tax credits,” that will drastically cut their costs, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. | 09/24/13 16:13:09 By - By Tony Pugh

Questions and answers about Obamacare tax credits

Here are answers to some basic questions about the Obamacare tax credits: | 09/24/13 19:13:09 By - By Tony Pugh

Carolinas HealthCare’s planes used for business, personal trips

Michael Tarwater, the CEO of one of the nation’s largest hospital chains, enjoys a rarely discussed perk: the freedom to fly planes owned by the nonprofit system for business and pleasure. | 09/23/13 17:04:27 By - Ames Alexander

Average health insurance tax credit for Obamacare estimated at $2,700

Americans who buy health insurance outside their jobs next year can expect an average tax credit of nearly $2,700 to help them obtain coverage on the new state insurance marketplaces, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The tax credits will vary by household income and family size, as well as the cost of coverage in a particular state and local area. | 09/22/13 19:13:52 By - By Tony Pugh

HHS delivers $67 million to pay for Obamacare enrollment ‘navigators’

After several months of delays, the Obama administration awarded $67 million on Thursday to fund an army of outreach and enrollment workers known as "navigators," who will help people sign up for coverage on the new state health insurance marketplaces beginning Oct. 1. | 09/22/13 19:13:07 By - By Tony Pugh

Job-based health insurance costs rise in 2013

For the 14th straight year, the average cost of job-based family health insurance grew faster than overall inflation and employee wages, according to a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 businesses released on Tuesday. | 09/22/13 19:12:43 By - By Tony Pugh

Medicaid ‘coverage gap’ looming for the poor in 21 states

One month after undergoing a partial hysterectomy in 2011 to remove a rare form of ovarian cancer, Erika Neal of St. Louis got a double dose of more bad news: Her salary as deputy director of a nonprofit museum was being cut and her job-based health coverage was being eliminated. | 09/22/13 19:12:09 By - By Tony Pugh

Studies show varying costs for coverage under Obamacare

A flurry of new reports from prominent health care research organizations show the cost of individual health coverage under Obamacare will vary widely among states next year, but drastic predictions of premium “sticker shock” have not materialized thus far. | 09/22/13 19:11:47 By - By Tony Pugh

As enrollment in health care law looms, some states erect roadblocks

The individuals and groups tasked with helping people enroll for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act are facing a stiff head wind of restrictive laws, regulations and outright obstruction in some Republican-led states. | 09/22/13 19:11:23 By - By Tony Pugh

Obamacare: Are you covered?

When the Affordable Care Act takes effect in January 2014, most people must have health insurance or face a fine for noncompliance. The roughly 260 million Americans with job-based, individual or government coverage probably have nothing to worry about. But if you’re unsure we’ve prepared a guide to bring you up to speed. | 08/26/13 14:10:36 By - Tony Pugh

California gets federal funds to review health insurance rates

California won more than $4.3 million in federal grants to improve its reviews of health insurance rates, but the state's insurance commissioner said California missed out on potentially more funds. | 09/22/11 06:50:02 By - Darrell Smith

Administration tries to sell states on health insurance exchanges

Worried that the federal government could end up running new insurance marketplaces for dozens of states, the Obama administration is making a new pitch Monday for cooperation to 46 states and the District of Columbia. | 09/19/11 12:02:18 By - Marilyn Werber Serafini

S.C. Gov. Haley to reject federal health insurance exchange funds

Gov. Nikki Haley said she will let federal deadlines slip by and not accept millions in federal funds to help South Carolina set up its own health insurance exchange. | 09/01/11 07:17:55 By - Gina Smith

Florida rejects child-abuse prevention funds tied to health care law

Florida lawmakers have rejected more than $50 million in federal child-abuse prevention money. The grants were tied to the Obama administration’s health care reform package, which many lawmakers oppose on philosophical grounds. | 07/21/11 07:10:11 By - Carol Marbin Miller

Opponents: Health care law is 'unconstitutional'

Attorneys for 26 states, led by Florida, argued that the federal health care law provision that forces people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional. The Obama administration disagrees. Florida’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law moved to a federal appeals court Wednesday, where a trio of judges grilled President Barack Obama’s top lawyer and repeatedly questioned whether Congress can force people to buy health insurance. | 06/09/11 07:04:51 By - Janet Zink

Health care law challenge goes before Court of Appeals

Florida already leads a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law, but state officials are going a step further and ignoring the law almost entirely. The decisions put Florida at odds with conservative governors in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin, who are fighting the health law’s constitutionality on one hand and planning for the law on the other. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in the suit pitting 26 states against the federal government. | 06/08/11 06:57:32 By - Janet Zink

Still voting 'no:' 2 'Blue Dogs' explain why they oppose repeal

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, co-chairman of the Blue Dog coalition of conservative Democrats, voted "no" last year when President Barack Obama's health care reform proposal came before the House. So did U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell. But when the Republicans vote today on repealing the health care law, both Shuler and Kissell, Democrats from North Carolina, will side with their fellow Democrats to keep the law. | 01/19/11 07:14:02 By - Barbara Barrett

Add Kansas to states suing over federal health care law

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt sent a letter Wednesday seeking to join almost two dozen states in challenging the new federal health care law. The letter, addressed to Florida's attorney general, asks permission to join the 20 states that are suing the federal government over the law. | 01/13/11 17:17:16 By - Dave Klepper

California is first to form health insurance exchange

Amid appeals from the White House and consumer health care advocates, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two key health bills Thursday that make California the first state to begin establishing its own health insurance exchange, which could widen medical coverage for small businesses and the millions of uninsured. | 10/01/10 06:49:08 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Kansas' Roberts unleashes on Sebelius over health care

Pat Roberts and Kathleen Sebelius have a long history. Their families have been close. He supported her Senate nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary. Wednesday, however, the former Kansas governor found herself on the receiving end of some pretty strong criticism from her old friend and fellow Kansan, over health care. | 09/29/10 19:09:06 By - David Goldstein

Consumer's guide to health overhaul, 6 months in

By Sept. 23, the six-month anniversary of the enactment of the health care overhaul, many of the law's provisions will be in effect. Most consumers, however, won't see any changes until after Jan. 1, when their new health plan year begins. | 09/15/10 16:15:12 By - Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News

Federal health care subsidies will to go 29 N.C. companies

More than two dozen businesses and nonprofit groups in North Carolina will receive federal health care subsidies to offset the cost of insuring their retirees. The subsidies, announced Tuesday, are the first visible sign of the recently passed Affordable Care Act. | 09/01/10 07:26:45 By - John Murawski

New health care plans for uninsured off to slow start

Ruth Titus, a 59-year-old cook from Taos, N.M., leaped at the opportunity in July to sign up for health insurance under a new federally subsidized program for uninsured people with health problems. With her history of bladder cancer, she said, "it was hopeless to even look" for private coverage because she'd be turned down. | 08/20/10 19:40:34 By - Phil Galewitz

One thing sure in new health law: paperwork

Employers will have more paperwork to deal with, attorneys from Foulston Siefkin said at a workshop in Wichita earlier this week | 08/20/10 14:44:29 By - Karen Shideler

Forget Prop 8: GOP cheers Missouri's health care opt out

Republicans across the country are gleefully rubbing their hands this week, convinced that Missouri voters' thunderous opposition to a key part of the federal health care overhaul is fully exportable this fall. Almost three out of four Missouri voters in Tuesday's election endorsed Proposition C, aimed squarely at the new law's individual insurance mandate. | 08/07/10 15:50:03 By - Dave Helling and Steve Kraske

Missouri voters approve challenge to federal health care law

Missouri law now contains a direct challenge to the federal health care law passed earlier this year. Primary voters approved Proposition C by a wide margin Tuesday, giving Missourians the power under state law to ignore government requirements to buy health insurance and nullifying penalties for failing to do so. | 08/04/10 07:04:47 By - Jason Noble

GOP-backed health care amendment removed from Florida ballot

Calling the wording of a Republican-backed constitutional amendment on health care "manifestly misleading," a Circuit Court judge in Leon County has tossed it off the November ballot. The proposal had been drafted and put forward by the GOP-led state legislature as a counter to the new federal health care plan. It would prohibit the state from participating in any health insurance exchange that compels people to buy insurance. | 07/30/10 07:02:57 By - Lee Logan

Aetna withdraws 19 percent rate increase, citing math error

Aetna Thursday withdrew plans to raise premiums on 65,000 customers who buy health insurance on their own, becoming the second insurer to do so in as many months because of "substantial mathematical errors" in its rate calculations. | 06/24/10 21:27:37 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Study: People with personal health policies pay more

People who buy their own health insurance are being asked to pay 20 percent more for the same coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, but the study provided little data on what's behind spiking premiums. | 06/21/10 16:16:51 By - Bobby Caina Calvin

Feds to states: Explain high-risk insurance pool plans

Federal officials, eager to launch one of the signature programs of the new health care law, have told states that they must provide more information by the end of next week on how they intend to run the high-risk health insurance pools. | 06/18/10 15:16:28 By - Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News

New health care rules for employers draw mixed reaction

Business groups gave mixed reviews this week to new Obama administration rules limiting how much employers and insurers can change their health insurance plans while remaining exempt from potentially costly new consumer protections. | 06/15/10 16:02:01 By - Phil Galewitz and Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News

Bitter feelings over health bill could bruise Medicare nominee

Just because Congress passed a health care law, the fight isn't over. Get ready for round two. The confirmation hearings for Dr. Donald Berwick, the White House's choice to run Medicare, could turn into a proxy war over a debate that, while settled, left many Americans angry and confused. | 06/11/10 18:01:42 By - David Goldstein

Federal health care law has support from Californians, poll indicates

A majority of Californians say they support the new federal health care law but view it as just the first step toward fixing the country's much-criticized health care system, according to a Field Poll released Thursday. These sentiments run counter to those expressed nationally. | 06/03/10 06:58:16 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Crist embraces Obama's high-risk health insurance pool

Gov. Charlie Crist will leave it to the Obama administration to run the federally subsidized high-risk health insurance plan that is to cover people unable to buy such insurance in the private market due to preexisting conditions such as cancer or diabetes. | 05/02/10 15:51:43 By - Fred Tasker

California's Anthem Blue Cross admits 'miscalculation' in 39 percent rate hike

Anthem Blue Cross used deeply flawed math and assumptions when it announced plans to hike premiums by as much as 39 percent for thousands of California subscribers, the Department of Insurance announced Thursday. Acknowledging that it had made "inadvertent miscalculations," the state's largest for-profit health insurer said it would withdraw its controversial rate filing. | 04/30/10 06:41:42 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Some faithful turn to health sharing ministries instead of insurance

A growing number of Americans are becoming members of faith-based "health sharing ministries" where members directly pay for each others' medical bills. Members also pray for each other, and a "get well" card from a stranger isn't uncommon. National health care reform will force millions of Americans to buy insurance or face fines, but a little-noticed provision excludes people who belong to such groups. | 04/29/10 07:06:12 By - Jaweed Kaleem

A Happy Meal toy ban in California's Santa Clara County

In what seems to be a first-of-its-kind rule, Santa Clara County, Calif., voted Tuesday to ban restaurants from giving away free toys in high-calorie meals. This includes nearly all versions of the McDonald's Happy Meal. The toy edict is the latest in the growing ado about childhood obesity. | 04/28/10 06:53:45 By - Anna Tong

In health care overhaul lawsuit, Alaska caps legal spending at $5,000

Lawyers rarely work for free, let alone for a discount, so Alaska's getting a bargain in the lawsuit it joined this week seeking to overturn the new federal health care law. The state has committed to spending $5,000 on its share of the multi-state suit challenging the constitutionality of the mandate that people buy health care insurance or pay a fine. | 04/26/10 06:36:51 By - Erika Bolstad

Health care tax credits for small businesses start to roll out

More than 500,000 Internal Revenue Service postcards will go out this week to California small businesses and tax-exempt groups that may qualify for new tax credits on their employees' health care premiums. The federal tax credits are one of the first pieces to roll out of the health care legislation signed last month by President Barack Obama. | 04/20/10 06:54:02 By - Claudia Buck

Health care overhaul includes 'game-changing' long-term care coverage

Millions of Americans need long-term health care. But few can afford it. That's where a little-discussed part of the massive Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the national health care reform package, comes into the picture. | 04/19/10 07:17:14 By - Diane Stafford

California's health insurance rates rise due to hospital costs

Behind every public uproar are some hidden facts. Here's one about rising health insurance rates in California: Sharp jumps in hospital costs are a big part of the story. Hospitals are charging insurance companies, and by extension their customers, billions of dollars for expenses not directly related to care. These include new hospital wings, new technology and services for the uninsured. | 04/19/10 06:59:16 By - Bobby Caina Calvan and Phillip Reese

Pelosi, Boxer celebrate health care's passage at party convention

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer took health care victory laps at the state Democratic Party convention Saturday, betting that the recently passed legislation will help Democratic candidates fight political head winds this year. | 04/18/10 10:33:31 By - Jack Chang

Uninsured ignore heart attack symptoms, study finds

Warning signs of a heart attack should be hard to ignore. But that's just what many people try to do if they have little or no health insurance, a new study finds. Uninsured people — and even people who have insurance but have trouble paying medical bills — wait significantly longer to go to a hospital for heart attacks than insured people who don't have major financial concerns about their health care. | 04/14/10 07:15:09 By - Alan Bavley

Kansas should stay out of health care suit, governor says

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson said Wednesday that he supports Attorney General Steve Six's decision to keep the state out of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new national health care law. The attorney general has been pressured by some Kansas lawmakers and may ultimately be forced to bring the state into the lawsuit, which 18 states have joined. | 04/08/10 15:15:43 By - Don Lefler

States can start new Medicaid expansion Thursday

Starting Thursday, states can choose to take the first steps toward the massive expansion of insurance coverage that is the recent health overhaul legislation's chief goal. For some states, that move could have the benefit of reviving funding for state-run programs that insure low-income adults. | 03/31/10 18:43:33 By - Christopher Weaver, Kaiser Health News

Blue Cross Blue Shield agrees to insure Texas newborn who was denied coverage

Houston has health insurance. The news, announced on a Web site set up for the Texas baby, ended his family's week-long fight after the newborn was denied health insurance because he needed surgery to repair a heart defect — what the insurance company called a pre-existing condition. | 03/31/10 07:40:41 By - Jan Jarvis

Uninsured waiting for health care overhaul provisions to kick in

It will be years before the most sweeping parts of health care reform take effect. But some provisions will start in just a few months. The provision that covers pre-existing conditions is one of the initial benefits of the new law and many uninsured, like Jim Lewis of Charlotte, find that to be a relief. | 03/30/10 07:22:53 By - Karen Garloch

Health overhaul invigorates GOP candidates in Washington state

Republican candidates running in the fall elections urged party activists Saturday to help them rein in federal and state spending, cut taxes, protect rights and fight off the "socialism" some fear has been ushered in by the recent health care reforms. But no issue — or personality — reverberated as deeply or loudly as state Attorney General Rob McKenna and his effort to overturn Congress' health reforms by joining a federal lawsuit. | 03/29/10 17:41:31 By - Brad Shannon

Health care battle boosts GOP's McCollum in Florida governor's race

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's decision to sue the federal government over the health care overhaul looks like a political winner, according to a new poll showing that he has widened his lead over state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the race for governor. Republican McCollum draws 49 percent support compared to 34 percent who would vote for Sink, a Democrat, according to the poll of 625 registered Florida voters. | 03/29/10 15:54:02 By - Marc Caputo

Kansas GOP lawmakers may force state to sue over health overhaul

Kansas Republican lawmakers critical of federal health care reform are considering a rare procedural move that would force Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat, to join the mounting legal challenges against the new law. | 03/29/10 15:37:44 By - Dave Klepper

Texas newborn denied health insurance over pre-existing condition

At birth, Houston Tracy let out a single loud cry before his father cut the cord and handed him to a nurse. Instantly, Doug Tracy knew something was wrong with his son. That turned out to be d-transposition of the great arteries, a defect in which the two major vessels that carry blood away from the heart are reversed. Surgery would correct it, but within days of Houston's birth March 15, Tracy learned that his application for health insurance to cover his son had been denied. The reason: a pre-existing condition. | 03/26/10 07:37:50 By - Jan Jarvis

Congress approves final piece of health care overhaul

Congress Thursday passed and sent to President Barack Obama the final piece of landmark health care legislation intended to change dramatically how most Americans buy, use and maintain insurance coverage. This legislation, combined with the bill signed into law on Tuesday, will bring the most significant change in health care policy since Medicare was created in 1965 to provide health insurance coverage for seniors and the disabled. | 03/25/10 21:10:59 By - David Lightman

Senate approves fixes to health bill, returns it to House

The Senate Thursday passed by 56-43 the final piece of landmark health care legislation that's intended to change dramatically how most Americans buy, use and maintain insurance coverage. Because of a technical glitch, the House of Representatives also must pass it again, which was to occur virtually automatically later Thursday, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. | 03/25/10 09:27:55 By - David Lightman

Health bill included big Republican idea: individual mandate

The lawsuit against the health care overhaul filed Tuesday by 13 state attorneys general is focused on a provision that's long been advocated by conservatives, big business and the insurance industry. Among the Republicans who had endorsed an individual insurance mandate: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and even Arizona Sen. John McCain. | 03/24/10 00:14:40 By - John Dorschner

Details of the new health insurance overhaul

The health care overhaul package is the most far-reaching health legislation since the creation of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. While the underlying Senate bill is now law since President Barack Obama signed it Tuesday, additional changes will occur if the Senate passes the House of Representatives' reconciliation-bill part of the package. | 03/23/10 19:29:08 By - Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News

Obama signs health care bill, but GOP protests continue

President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law a vast overhaul of the nationís health care system, the most sweeping expansion of government social policy in more than 40 years. There were no Republicans at the historic signing. Every Republican in Congress voted against the bill, and Republicans protested anew Tuesday that the measure threatened Americans' freedom. | 03/23/10 19:28:35 By - Steven Thomma and David Lightman

Kansas lawmakers seek ways to block federal health care overhaul

A day after the U.S. House passed major health care reform legislation, the Kansas House debated a proposed state constitutional amendment designed to block it. The amendment would attempt to prohibit the federal government from requiring almost every Kansan to have health insurance. But it appears the measure could fall a few votes shy of passing when the House holds a final vote today. | 03/23/10 19:28:11 By - David Klepper

Last lap in health care marathon to begin in Senate

The final lap of the historic health care marathon is expected to begin Tuesday in the Senate, where Democrats are confident that they have the votes to complete revamping the nation's health care system. | 03/23/10 19:27:51 By - David Lightman

Experts say states' health care lawsuits don't stand a chance

The top prosecutors in 13 states — 12 of them Republicans — filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the health-care bill minutes after President Barack Obama signed the landmark legislation into law. Several noted law professors, however, said that there are significant legal hurdles in establishing the states' standing to challenge the health-care law and in persuading federal judges that it violates the Constitution. | 03/23/10 19:10:15 By - James Rosen

Kentucky Blue Dog Chandler takes heat for 'no' vote on health bill

Many liberal-leaning Democrats are furious about U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler's no vote on the health care overhaul, but political observers say he's still likely to be re-elected. Chandler's district, which wraps around Lexington, is a centrist-to-conservative place. Its 16 counties are mostly rural or suburban, and in the previous three presidential elections, the district backed the Republican nominees by fat margins. | 03/23/10 15:46:18 By - John Cheves

Congress sacrificed many of health bill's provisions

In the year it took Congress to write and pass a health care overhaul, turbulent political shifts — including the Democrats' loss of the seat long held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and the rise of the Tea Party movement — forced critical compromises on the scope of legislation. | 03/23/10 15:16:23 By - Jordan Rau

Texas Rep. Neugebauer apologizes for 'baby killer' outburst

It began as somewhat of a mystery Sunday night on the House floor: a voice, with a Texas accent, bellowed "baby killer" as Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., explained how he was voting for the health care bill after a compromise on abortion language. On Monday, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, a usually low-key member, owned up to his outburst and apologized. | 03/23/10 14:52:26 By - Maria Recio

Florida GOP candidates take aim at health care overhaul

Hours after congressional Democrats passed a major health-reform bill, Republicans in Florida's capital opened a broad assault Monday to dismantle the legislation at the ballot box and in the courts. At issue: the legislation's so-called "individual mandate" that requires most people to buy insurance or face fines. | 03/23/10 07:02:27 By - Marc Caputo

Are there enough health care providers to handle newly insured?

Across the country, as many as 32 million of the country's 46 million uninsured could soon have improved access to affordable health insurance — through government subsidies or by becoming eligible for Medicaid. Whether the system will be ready to receive them remains a significant unknown. The influx of new patients may strain the nation's supply of primary care physicians. | 03/23/10 06:45:23 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Who should be at Obama's health care signing? Truman

He won't be there when President Barack Obama signs health care legislation into law Tuesday, but the memory of the late President Harry S Truman will. Truman is considered the political Godfather of universal health care, having first proposed it on Nov. 19, 1945, and establishing it as a keystone of the Democratic Party agenda ever since. | 03/22/10 19:28:16 By - Steven Thomma

Health care bill includes payoff for Washington State

The health care bill approved Sunday by the House of Representatives lays the groundwork to overhaul a Medicare reimbursement formula that has punished Washington state. The bill also provides $800 million over two years to doctors and hospitals in Washington and other states until changes are made. | 03/21/10 23:11:17 By - Les Blumenthal

Pelosi's persistence pays off in final health care push

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already made the history books, and now she's written a new chapter in wielding power. Whatever its merits or long-term consequences, the $940 billion health care bill the House of Representatives passed Sunday night, the San Francisco Democrat, who turns 70 on Friday, has flexed all her muscles, and developed some new ones. | 03/21/10 23:09:58 By - Michael Doyle

As vote's outcome became clear, Tea Party protests faded

For most of the day, the Tea Party demonstrators had been the most vocal, chanting "We the people," "No, no, no," and "kill the bill." But as it became clear that Democrats had won the votes of key anti-abortion lawmakers, the Tea Party protesters lost their enthusiasm, and their numbers shrank. They were quickly replaced by those who'd supported the health care overhaul as well as hundreds of demonstrators favoring immigration legislation. | 03/21/10 21:06:34 By - Erika Bolstad and William Douglas

House Democrats poised to enact sweeping health care overhaul

With Democrats increasingly confident they have enough support, the House of Representatives planned for an historic vote Sunday that would enact the most dramatic changes in the nation's health care system in decades. As a sign of that confidence — and to quiet concerns among Democrats as well as Republicans — House leaders Saturday abandoned a plan to approve the Senate's health care legislation without a direct vote. | 03/20/10 19:35:31 By - David Lightman and William Douglas

Tea Party protesters target lawmaker who agrees with them

People with ties to Glenn Beck's 9-12 Project, Tea Party Boise and other conservative causes plan a protest outside Rep. Walt Minnick's office this weekend, with the claim that the Idaho Democrat co-sponsored one of the health care bills that Congress is considering. Minnick, however, never sponsored such legislation, and he's said repeatedly that he plans to vote against the bill on Sunday. | 03/19/10 19:58:41 By - Erika Bolstad

Health bill may not shave deficits as CBO says

One big reason the Congressional Budget Office projects that federal budget deficits would drop by $138 billion over the next decade under the Democrats' pending health care overhaul is that the bill includes a tax on high-end insurance policies. That alone accounts for almost 25 percent of the expected savings. | 03/19/10 19:54:30 By - David Lightman

Revamped health care bill has 9 major changes

In their attempt to pass a sweeping health care overhaul this weekend, Democrats in the House of Representatives are pushing a package of legislative revisions to lure undecided or opposed members of their party to the "yes" category. | 03/19/10 19:54:05 By - Julie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News

GOP state prosecutors threaten court challenge to health bill

Republican prosecutors from South Carolina and Florida said Friday they were preparing to file a lawsuit if the health care bill before Congress becomes law, challenging its requirement that all Americans buy insurance. | 03/19/10 19:53:51 By - James Rosen

Armed with CBO report, Clyburn makes plea to holdovers

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn hailed a new nonpartisan analysis showing the sweeping health-care bill would cut the deficit as he tried frantically Thursday to secure enough votes needed for House passage this weekend President Barack Obama joined Clyburn and other Democratic leaders Thursday in making personal pleas to the 20 or so Democrats who haven't made up their minds yet. | 03/18/10 21:06:40 By - James Rosen

Undecided California lawmakers get an earful on health bill

Public and private pressure is building on Central California lawmakers and others who say they're undecided on the big health care bill. That's the price of wait-and-see. As of Thursday, Reps. Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa remained publicly uncommitted. Both Democrats said they were awaiting a chance to see the bill's details. | 03/18/10 19:47:23 By - Michael Doyl

House sets health care vote for Sunday after CBO report

Two more Democratic representatives who'd voted "no" in December said they'd vote "yes" on Sunday when the revamped health care overhaul bill will be considered. The Congressional Budget Office said the legislation would reduce federal budget deficits by $138 billion over the next 10 years while ensuring 32 million Americans who don't have health insurance. | 03/18/10 18:36:15 By - David Lightman, Margaret Talev and William Douglas

Insurance-rate regulation dropped from latest health bill

A Democratic plan for new federal power over health insurance rates was dropped Thursday from the final health care bill, squeezed out by the way the Democrats are pushing the bill through Congress. | 03/18/10 17:41:31 By - Steven Thomma

State of the health care debate: Talk radio attacks an 11-year old

Conservative talk show hosts and columnists have ridiculed an 11-year-old Washington state boy's account of his mother's death as a "sob story" exploited by the White House and congressional Democrats like a "kiddie shield" to defend their health care legislation. | 03/18/10 17:35:54 By - Les Blumenthal

More states taxing hospitals to shore up Medicaid

Georgia Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, wrestling with a massive hole in the state's Medicaid budget, has proposed a new tax on hospitals and managed care plans. In addition, hospitals in Iowa and Tennessee, as well as in rural Wisconsin, are calling for higher taxes — on themselves. | 03/18/10 16:24:02 By - Andy Miller, Kaiser Health News

Idaho governor signs bill against health care insurance legislation

Democrats in Washington, D.C., hope to pass health care reform soon, but Republican state leaders in Idaho are preparing to go to court to fight it. | 03/18/10 12:37:46 By - Brian Murphy

In North Carolina, one Democrat wavers on health care

Depending on the vote of undecided Rep. Bob Etheridge, half of North Carolina's Democrats could join Republicans this weekend in opposing the final passage of health care overhaul legislation. Already, the state's three most conservative Democrats are expected to vote no — just as they did in November when the health bill first came up for a vote. | 03/17/10 21:49:44 By - Barbara Barrett

House Democrats struggling to win votes on health care

Democrats picked up support Wednesday for their health care overhaul from some important quarters — a congressman who'd opposed the bill, an influential anti-abortion lawmaker and a coalition of Catholic nuns — but they still appeared to be short of the number needed to pass the legislation. | 03/17/10 19:37:52 By - David Lightman

Loss of health insurance hits Texas middle class hard

The number of middle-class Texans without health insurance increased 41 percent between 2000 and 2008, with nearly 500,000 middle-class workers no longer covered through their job or private insurance, according to a study released today by the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. | 03/17/10 15:28:41 By - Dianna Hunt

Number of Californians without health insurance soars

One in four Californians, or 8.2 million people, now lack health insurance coverage, according to a report by UCLA researchers. The study, released Tuesday, quickly became a talking point in the national debate over health care legislation, which could culminate later this week in a dramatic up-or-down vote on Capitol Hill. | 03/17/10 06:58:34 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

For Idaho Democrat Minnick, it's still 'no' to health overhaul

They're among the 39 most sought-after people in Washington this week, the Democrats in the House of Representatives who voted against health care last year, but who might be persuaded to change their minds. But not Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, who was elected in 2008 in an overwhelmingly Republican district and already has announced he's not voting for the health care bill. | 03/16/10 19:46:32 By - Erika Bolstad

Texas' lone Blue Dog congressman is undecided on health care

As an undecided vote on health care, Rep. Henry Cuellar is at the epicenter of the health care debate. But instead of feeling battered and blue, Texas' only Blue Dog Democrat is enjoying the process and pushing for his issues: Medicaid expansion, tort reform and no federal funding of abortion. | 03/16/10 18:37:25 By - Maria Recio

Moderate House Democrats feeling the heat on health care

As a historic vote on sweeping health care legislation nears, Democratic moderates in the House of Representatives face relentless pressure as they juggle personal pleas from President Barack Obama, a multi-million-dollar ad barrage and constituents who are fed up with the convoluted congressional process. | 03/16/10 18:22:45 By - David Lightman

As Rules Committee member, Cardoza at center of health care battle

Rep. Dennis Cardoza is caught in the middle of the controversial endgame for health care legislation. As early as Wednesday, the Merced Democrat and others on the quietly powerful House Rules Committee will essentially construct the bill. Equally important, the 13-member panel will craft voting procedures that could have profound political consequences in November. | 03/16/10 17:31:46 By - Michael Doyle

Catholic bishops oppose health care plan over abortion language

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Monday it opposes the Democratic health care plan heading for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives because of its language on abortion. The group noted that it liked the House health care bill because it would continue the strict ban on federal financing of abortion. But it said the Senate version would open the door to federal financing, and it is the Senate version heading to the House for a vote. | 03/16/10 06:59:33 By - Steven Thomma

House plan to pass health care raises constitutional questions

As the battle over health care legislation built Monday toward a weekend crescendo, congressional Democrats considered trying to pass the controversial Senate version without voting for it, a tactic that Republicans and independent analysts warned could be politically treacherous and perhaps unconstitutional. | 03/15/10 18:29:10 By - David Lightman

Pressure builds on 'Blue Dog' Democrats over health care vote

With a Capitol Hill showdown only days away, two California Democrats remain crucial and undecided votes on President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. In some ways, they hold in their hands the bill's fate, as well as several political futures — their own, the president's and their party's. | 03/12/10 17:19:20 By - Michael Doyle

Health overhaul's supporters make case in hearings, protests

Joanne Johnson wiped a tear from her cheek Wednesday as she struggled to tell a hearing room packed with lawmakers, health activists and reporters about how her brother, Marvin Wright, died an unnecessarily early death because he didn't have health insurance. | 03/10/10 22:06:50 By - James Rosen

Powerful Catholic quietly shapes abortion, health care debate

Richard Doerflinger doesn't look the part of a high-powered political strategist. Bearded and bespectacled, he works in a small, cluttered office out of one of Washington's less-fashionable neighborhoods, far from the lobbying bastions of K Street. | 03/10/10 15:41:20 By - Laura Parker, Kaiser Health News

Obama tells voters to push Congress for health care

President Barack Obama took his pitch for health care legislation on the road Monday, urging voters in suburban Philadelphia to make their voices heard above the political echo chamber in Washington and demand an up-or-down vote now in Congress. | 03/08/10 17:37:29 By - Steven Thomma

Lowe's, hospital cut health care deal over heart surgeries

In a move to control rising health care costs, Mooresville-based Lowe's has cut an unusual deal with a nationally known hospital. | 03/05/10 13:02:41 By - Jen Aronoff

Obama asks health insurers to post reasons for rate increases online

Amid consumer furor over rising health insurance premiums, the Obama administration asked insurers on Thursday to post rate increases — and the justification for them — on the Internet. Also on Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced legislation that would give the federal government authority to reject rate increases that insurance companies cannot justify. | 03/05/10 06:44:05 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Political firestorm rages over health insurance rates in California

While intense scrutiny is being focused on Anthem Blue Cross for proposing rate increases of up to 39 percent on hundreds of thousands of Californians who buy insurance on their own, other insurers are delivering some equally jolting rate increases. | 03/02/10 06:50:17 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

More Idaho employers shedding insurance

From 2002 to 2009, the percentage of Idaho employers offering health insurance to full-time workers has plunged to 56 percent, according to the state Department of Labor. | 02/27/10 14:51:18 By - Colleen LaMay

You can watch the White House health care summit here

This is the live stream from the White House of today's health care conference. The summit runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. | 02/25/10 09:58:20 By -

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 Obamaís 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 Senateís 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 nationís 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

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