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Daily Health Care News – 1/12/10

NEWS

President Signals Flexibility on Health Plan TaxNew York Times

President Obama told union leaders at a private White House meeting on Monday that he remained committed to taxing high-cost insurance policies as a way to drive down health costs. But he also signaled that he was willing to amend the proposal to “make this work for working families,” a senior administration official said.

Democrats Weigh New Tax on Investment IncomeWall Street Journal

House and Senate negotiators are considering applying for the first time the Medicare payroll tax to investment income as part of a compromise to pay for a health overhaul.

House, Senate View Health Exchanges DifferentlyNPR

Getting a final health overhaul bill to President Obama’s desk by the end of the month or early February remains the goal of lawmakers who are returning to Washington this week. But the task remains a tricky one. Even some of the things the House and Senate appear to agree on, hide some key disputes.

Dems stiffen spines on health bill Politico

Back home, nervous Democrats sound squishy on health care reform. Some will return to Washington this week demanding changes. A few will almost certainly threaten to withhold their votes.

Mass. Senate Race Becoming Proxy on Health Bill Associated Press

The race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has turned into a proxy battle over the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Poll: Obama Health Care Marks Hit New LowCBS News

President Obama’s approval rating on handling health care is at an all-time low, according to a new CBS News poll, something that is helping to drag down his overall approval rating.

OPINION

Excise tax on ‘Cadillac’ health-care plans is a bad ideaWashington Post

The idea of an excise tax on "Cadillac" health-care plans sounds like magic. It would raise almost $150 billion over 10 years to help finance health-care "reform"; it would be paid by employers, insurance companies and "the rich"; it would help "bend the cost curve" in the future; and for all I know, it might help regrow hair and cure warts.

But if you look at the actual workings of the plan, you come away far less impressed.

Sexy? No. Important? Yes.Jon Cohn

One of the biggest issues to resolve as the House and Senate reconcile their health care reform bills is one that rarely makes headlines: The type of insurance exchange.

The Differences Between The House And Senate ExchangesThink Progress

As lawmakers work to reconcile the House and Senate health care bills, health insurance exchanges — regulated online stores for insurance — have become a central sticking point for negotiators trying to iron out the differences in the two health bills and produce a single unified bill before the State of the Union address in early February. In addition to fighting for higher affordability standards and excise tax thresholds, House leaders are reportedly urging their Senate counterparts to establish a national federal exchange that combines the individual and small group markets into one insurance pool and a single exchange.

(compiled for Health Care for America Now)

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Jason Rosenbaum

Jason Rosenbaum

Writer, musician, activist. Currently consulting for Bill Halter for U.S. Senate and a fellow at the New Organizing Institute.

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