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Health Plans Collaborate On Landmark Initiative To Reduce Time, Expense For Physician Office Practice Paperwork

Health plans today launched a landmark initiative to make delivering and getting health care easier for patients and their physicians by reducing the time, effort, and expense for the "paperwork" required for each patient office visit. The initiative, which will simplify information flow between health plans and doctors' offices, and between health plans and hospitals, is comparable to what ATMs did for banks and consumers. America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) are sponsoring regional and statewide initiatives to assess how best to offer physicians access to multiple insurers through the same information channel (e.

Gregg Ready For 'Dialogue' On Health Reform, Pelosi Ready For Reconciliation Fight

Politico: "Is [Sen.] Judd Gregg [R- N.H.] a tease or a real potential partner for President Barack Obama in trying to salvage some health care reform in this Congress? ... [T]he New Hampshire conservative brings both a proven ability to swing Republican votes and a background in health care and deficit issues. In a letter to Obama released late Tuesday, Gregg welcomed the [Feb. 25] meeting as a chance for 'constructive dialogue'" and he told Politico he is "open to specific deficit-reduction and cost-containment steps that could be taken to win Republicans' support for health reform, " though he has rejected the president's proposals. "He brings a record of bipartisan deal making and good personal ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid" (Rogers, 2/11).

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Murtha's Death May Complicate House Efforts On Health Overhaul, Conrad Blasts Media For Health Coverage, More

The Washington Independent: "The death of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) is a blow to Democratic efforts to pass the Senate version of health care reform in the House - they're now down one vote from a swing district Democrat willing to make the tough choice. But what might turn out to be an insurmountable problem is the intransigence of two liberals in the House conference, Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.). Both say they won't vote for anything less than a single payer system" (Weigel, 2/9). Politico: "Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told reporters today that Democrats don't need to have a reform package ready in time for President Barack Obama's bipartisan meeting because the groundwork has already been laid.

As Focus Shifts To Jobs, The Uninsured Seek Solutions

As part of the series "Are You Covered, " which is a collaboration between NPR and Kaiser Health News, NPR's Debbie Elliott checks back in with Fernando Arriola, a contractor in New Orleans who can't get health coverage. He's adopted an unconventional approach to medical care and is now working to set up a clinic for the uninsured (Elliott, 2/9). Read entire story. In a related story, also part of the series, KHN staff writer Christopher Weaver provides a look at what Americans would fall into this category (Weaver, 2/9). Read the explainer. This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Today's OpEds: Prescriptions For Health Reform

Ten GOP Health Ideas For Obama The Wall Street Journal The best ideas out there are not those that were passed by the House and Senate last year, which consist of more spending, more regulations and more bureaucracy. If the president is serious about building a system that delivers more quality choices at lower cost for every American, here's where he should start (Newt Gingrich and John C. Goodman, 2/10). How Dems Can Win Health Reform Politico Congress could pass these ten reforms by a wide margin tomorrow. They won't achieve the left's statist ambitions, but they would provide meaningful reform (Rep. Bill Cassidy, 2/10). Obama's Health-Care Summit: Chicken Soup For The Legislative Soul The Washington Post I've been trying, because I'd truly like to see health reform pass, to find something nice to say about President Obama's plans for a summit.

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Congress To Investigate 39 Percent Premium Hike By California's Anthem Blue Cross

San Francisco Chronicle: "Angry lawmakers turned up the heat on Anthem Blue Cross on Tuesday, calling for federal and state investigations into the California health insurer's decision to increase rates by as much as 39 percent for thousands of policyholders statewide." "The furor started last week when individual Anthem Blue Cross members -- those who are not covered under an employer or group policy -- received letters informing them that their monthly premiums would go up effective March 1. Anthem, a Woodland Hills (Los Angeles County) insurer owned by Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., has refused to disclose how many people are affected or how high rates will rise, but the company has about 800, 000 individual policyholders in California" (Colliver, 2/10).

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