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Health News 12/2009


Senate debate on health care bill opens with heated rhetoric (CNN)
The U.S. Senate on Monday opened what is expected to be a lengthy and rancorous debate on a sweeping bill to overhaul the nation's health care system.

Kennedy touts health care reform, sidesteps flap (AP via Yahoo! News)
Rep. Patrick Kennedy used the language of faith Monday to rally support for expanding the nation's health insurance system in his first public appearance since escalating a public feud with Rhode Island's Roman Catholic bishop over health care and publicly financed abortion.

Reid 'confident' Senate will pass health care bill (USA Today)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is "confident" the Senate will pass a health care bill, but it will take extra work on weekends in December to get it done.

Health care Q& A (USA Today)
During the health care debate, USA TODAY answers reader-submitted questions about the congressional bills.

Emotions high, Senate opens partisan health debate (AP via Yahoo! News)
Riven by partisanship, the Senate plunged into a widely anticipated debate Monday over sweeping health care legislation that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to approve and Republicans have sworn to block.

Reid sees a holiday blitz on health bill (USA Today)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted Monday he'll have the votes to enact a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health care laws.

Senate health bill wouldn't increase insurance costs for most, CBO says (Washington Post)
As the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation's health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average...

Health-Insurance Costs Won’t Rise for Most in U.S., Study Finds (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama Administration hailed a congressional report that predicted most Americans will pay no more for insurance coverage under health-care legislation being debated in the U.S. Senate.

Divided Senate plunges into health care debate (AP via Yahoo! News)
Riven by partisanship, the Senate plunged into a widely anticipated debate Monday over sweeping health care legislation that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to approve and Republicans have sworn to block.

Laid-off workers face expiration of health benefit (AP via Yahoo! News)
An auto parts employee laid off from his job last year has been able to hang onto his health insurance because the federal government has picked up most of the tab. That subsidy ends Tuesday for Don Hall and thousands of other Americans.

Holocaust survivors blast Demjanjuk health claims (AFP via Yahoo! News)
Holocaust survivors on Tuesday accused John Demjanjuk of exaggerating his health problems to try to derail his trial ahead of harrowing testimony on the horrors of the Sobibor Nazi death camp.

Q&A: Pressing concerns on health care legislation (USA Today)
During the health care debate, USA TODAY answers reader-submitted questions about the congressional bills.

Health Highlights: Dec. 1, 2009 (HealthDay via Yahoo! News)
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Medicare is flashpoint as Senate digs in on health (Market Watch)
Senate Republicans rally behind an amendment to protect the Medicare program from cuts in a health-care overhaul, as the chamber opens a second day of what promises to be a long and divisive debate about revamping the U.S. health-care system.

U.S. health officials to review disaster plan (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
Stung by the continuing struggle to make a vaccine against the swine flu pandemic, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Tuesday her department would review its approach to disaster preparedness.

Senate plows to 1st vote on health care (USA Today)
A Republican senator contended Tuesday during rancorous floor debate that President Obama's sweeping health care changes will hurt seniors.

Health care bill questions answered (USA Today)
Will health care legislation cover tort reform or fully allow consumers to buy plans from other states?

McDonald's COO Alvarez to retire, cites health (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
McDonald's Corp Chief Operating Officer Ralph Alvarez, who was widely believed to be in line for the fast-food chain's top job, will retire on December 31 due to health reasons, the company said on Tuesday.

Health care proposal favors insurance industry (USA Today)
Readers sound off on flaws in the health care bill, special interest groups, and the difference between a benefit and an entitlement.

Alvarez cites health in departing McDonald's post (AP via Yahoo! News)
McDonald's Corp. said Tuesday that long-time executive Ralph Alvarez will retire as president and chief operating officer at the end of the year, due to health reasons.

Nation's preparedness for health threats will be reviewed (Washington Post)
Citing the balky swine flu vaccination campaign and other shortcomings in the nation's medical defenses, a top Obama administration official has announced a major review of the government's efforts to develop new protections against pandemics, bioterrorism and other health threats.

Tempers rise as Senate moves toward health vote (AP via Yahoo! News)
A Republican senator asserted Tuesday during a rancorous floor debate that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul will shorten the lives of America's seniors by cutting Medicare.

Senators Pitch to Women and Elderly on Health Bill (New York Times)
In the health care debate, senators appealed to two potent political constituencies, with Democrats seeking additional medical benefits for women and Republicans vowing to preserve and protect Medicare for older Americans.

Federal Health Officials to Review Disaster Plan (New York Times)
Stung by the struggle to make a swine flu vaccine, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said her department would review its approach to disaster preparedness.

Senators express hope for a health reform bill (Washington Post)
Senators prepared to cast their first votes Wednesday on health-care reform, but even as partisan divisions hardened and contentious amendments stacked up, Democrats increasingly expressed optimism that they would succeed in passing a bill before Christmas.

Tempers flare as Senate debates health care (AP via Yahoo! News)
A Republican senator asserted Tuesday during a rancorous floor debate that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul will shorten the lives of America's seniors by cutting Medicare.

Not HHS secretary, but in health care fight anyway (AP via Yahoo! News)
Look who's at the health care negotiating table — Tom Daschle.

Health care issues: Overutilization of care (AP via Yahoo! News)
A look at key issues in the nation's health care debate:

Republicans Challenge Health Measure’s Medicare Cuts (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Republicans will challenge a Democratic plan to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare, raising the specter of rationed care for seniors as lawmakers prepare to vote on amendments to health legislation.

HIV/AIDS: Is Obama Scaling Back Bush's Health Push? (Time.com via Yahoo! News)
Many global health advocates worry that the success of the Bush Administration's global AIDS initiative may be jeopardized by harsh economic realities and shifting political priorities

Orszag: Health care efficiencies may take decades (AP via Yahoo! News)
The White House budget director said Wednesday that it may take decades for America to have an efficient health care system even if Congress passes a major overhaul this year.

Health Highlights: Dec. 2, 2009 (HealthDay via Yahoo! News)
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Republicans Challenge Health Measure’s Medicare Cuts (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Republicans will challenge a Democratic plan to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare, raising the specter of rationed care for seniors as lawmakers prepare to vote on amendments to health legislation.

Pro-Choice Groups Protest Tougher Abortion Restrictions in Health Care Bill (Fox News)
Abortion rights activists were lobbying lawmakers Wednesday in an effort to torpedo tougher restrictions on abortion coverage in the health care legislation that is being debated in the Senate.

Orszag: Health care efficiencies may take decades (AP via Yahoo! News)
The White House budget director said Wednesday that it may take decades for America to have an efficient health care system even if Congress passes a major overhaul this year.

Catalyst Health sets annual high after upgrade (AP via Yahoo! News)
Shares of pharmacy benefits manager Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. rose to an annual high Wednesday after an analyst upgraded the stock, saying the industry should continue to grow and Catalyst will be able to win more business.

More work needed to cut health costs: White House (Reuters via Yahoo! News)
Congressional efforts to revamp the U.S. healthcare system are not enough to stem soaring health costs or close the nation's budget gap, a top Obama administration official said on Wednesday, adding that current bills must be strengthened to help rein in spending.

Not HHS secretary, but in health care fight anyway (AP via Yahoo! News)
Look who's at the health care negotiating table — Tom Daschle.

Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy (HealthDay via Yahoo! News)
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The overall health of the U.S. population has improved over the past three decades, largely because people have quit smoking in droves, but a new study suggests those gains might soon be wiped out if the rising obesity rates among Americans don't level off or drop.

AARP backs Democrats in Senate health care fight (AP via Yahoo! News)
With a Senate showdown looming, the politically potent AARP rode to the rescue of Democrats on Wednesday, supporting $460 billion in Medicare cuts to help pay for landmark health care legislation.

Senate Breaks Health Stalemate; First Votes Today (New York Times)
Senate Democrats and Republicans said they had broken an impasse over the seemingly simple question of how and when to vote on the first amendments to a sweeping health care bill.

Democrats Threaten to Bypass Republican Changes on Health Bill (Bloomberg via Yahoo! News)
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Senate Democrats threatened to bypass Republican amendments to hasten debate over U.S. health-care legislation as delays jeopardized the goal of passage this year.

Where Did Health Care Reform Go? (Time Magazine)
Congress is quietly watering down provisions in health care legislation that were supposed to control medical costs

62% Oppose Single-Payer Health Care System (Rasmussen Reports via Yahoo! News)
Only 27% of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone. That's down five points from August.

Health care issues: Preventive measures (AP via Yahoo! News)
A look at key issues in the health care debate:

Senate gets set for first health care votes Thurs. (AP via Yahoo! News)
Senate leaders say they're finally ready to start voting on health care overhaul legislation — after four days of angry debate.

Health care software founder charged with fraud (AP via Yahoo! News)
A California businessman has been accused of using bogus financial data to defraud investors who put $60 million into a health care transaction software company he founded.

Senate set for first health care votes Thurs. (AP via Yahoo! News)
After three days of angry debate, the Senate was poised to cast its first vote Thursday on remaking the nation's health care system, with Democrats and Republicans offering amendments that address Americans' fears about women's health and Medicare.

Health Highlights: Dec. 3, 2009 (HealthDay via Yahoo! News)
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Senate casts 1st votes to overhaul health care (AP via Yahoo! News)
Senators have voted to safeguard coverage of mammograms and preventive screening tests for women under any health care overhaul legislation.

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