First Edition: January 3, 2011

Today’s headlines include forward looking reports about the health law’s possible impact in 2011 as well as early plans for the new Congress.

Kaiser Health News: Nine Ways The New Health Law May Affect You In 2011
KHN staff writers report on what the new year will bring. “Opponents of the new health care overhaul law are threatening to repeal, defund and kill it in court, but that isn’t stopping Washington from implementing a number of important provisions in 2011” (KHN Staff, 1/3).

Kaiser Health News: Medical Practices Increasingly Allow Online Appointments
Writing for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with USA Today, Phil Galewitz reports: “About 16% of family doctors used online scheduling in 2009, up from 6% in 2005, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Most do it on their own or through health systems in which they work” (Galewitz, 1/3).

The Washington Post: Austerity Is First Order For Boehner’s Installation As House Speaker
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Republicans would hold a vote on repealing the health-care law before Obama delivers his State of the Union address later this month. Upton said disenchantment with the law is so pervasive in the new House that they could reach the two-thirds threshold to overturn a likely presidential veto. Yet for all of the GOP’s ambitions, Democrats still control the Senate and Obama can veto any bill that passes Congress. Democrats have said they are eager to reach common ground with House Republicans, but they also plan to fiercely defend Obama’s achievements of the past two years, chief among them the health-care overhaul (Rucker, 1/3).

USA Today: House Republicans Plan Early Vote On Health Care Repeal
The new Republican leaders of the House of Representatives plan to hold a vote on repealing the White House’s signature health care law before President Obama delivers the State of the Union address in late January, a key committee chairman said Sunday (Page and Jackson, 1/3).

The Washington Post: House Republicans To Bring Up Repeal Of Health-Care Law ‘Early’ In New Congress
House Republicans plan to bring up a vote to repeal the health-care overhaul early in the new Congress that opens Wednesday, at least before President Obama delivers his State of the Union address later this month, a key Republican lawmaker said Sunday (Rucker, 1/2).

The New York Times: GOP Newcomers Set Out To Undo Obama Victories
Soon after the 112th Congress convenes Wednesday, Republicans in the House plan to make good on a campaign promise that helped vault many new members to victory: voting to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul (Steinhauer and Pear, 1/2).

Politico: 6 States To Watch On Health Reform
Health reform repeal efforts will generate a lot of noise in the opening weeks of the 112th Congress – but the real action on health reform is going to ramp up outside the Beltway in state capitals (Kliff, 1/3).

The New York Times: Obama Signs Bill To Help 9/11 Workers
President Obama took time out of his Hawaiian vacation on Sunday to sign into law one of the surprise accomplishments of the lame-duck Congress: a measure covering the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others sickened by toxic fumes and dust after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center (Stolberg, 1/2).

The Los Angeles Times: Pro/Con: The Fairness Of Health Insurance Incentives
Wanna make a fast buck? Quit smoking. According to the National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers including Wal-Mart and Wendy’s, about 68% of its members either offer a discount of several hundred dollars on health insurance premiums to employees who quit smoking, or provide other incentives or penalties to make it happen (Borrell, 1/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Vanguard Set To Acquire Detroit Hospitals
Detroit Medical Center will pay a $30 million fine to the federal government, in a settlement that clears the way for the takeover of the ailing hospital system by Vanguard Health Systems LP ahead of a critical Dec. 31 deadline (Linebaugh, 12/21/10).

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