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Oct. 22, 2009
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Senate Rejects 'Doc Fix' Spending Bill, as Some Democrats Side With Republicans
from The New York Times, Oct. 21, 2009
In a vote that was a highly symbolic proxy for the larger partisan fight over health care policy, the Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have averted steep cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. Senate Democratic leaders had pushed the bill, which would have cost $247 billion over 10 years, as a standalone measure separate from the broader health care legislation that is President Obama's top domestic priority. More

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More Doctors Call for Wolterman's Ouster
from The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 14, 2009
The medical staff at a second hospital within the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System has called for the firing of System President Dan Wolterman. Doctors present at a specially called meeting at the system's Memorial City Hospital voted 57-11 on Monday to endorse the Southwest Hospital's no-confidence vote against Wolterman and request the system board of directors meet with them to "lay the groundwork for the recruitment of future executive leadership." More

Two Central Texas Doctors Have High Profile Roles in National Health Reform Debate
from The Waco Tribune, Oct. 15, 2009, 2009
A Waco doctor has been named president-elect of the group that represents family physicians, making him the second Central Texas doctor to assume a national leadership role as the country debates health care reform. Dr. Roland Goertz, executive director of Family Health Center, has been elected to the position by the American Academy of Family Physicians. And in June, Temple-based Dr. James Rohack became president of the American Medical Association, the nation's largest physician group. More

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U.S. Senate Bill on Medicare Physician Pay Stalls
from The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2009
A bill aimed at providing a long-term "fix" for Medicare's physician payment system remained stalled Tuesday, as a lack of agreement on amendments to the bill held up action on the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that he had yet to secure agreement with Senate Republican leaders on which amendments to the bill will receive votes. That - coupled with a lack of enough Democratic votes to avoid a filibuster of the measure - has delayed a procedural vote to limit debate on the measure. More

House Panel Focuses on Deceptive Health Insurance Practices
from The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 16, 2009
With Democrats already annoyed at the insurance industry over its opposition to health care legislation, a House subcommittee heard Thursday from a Garland father and others about the perils of confusing policies that left them with uninsured catastrophes. More

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An Ailing Picture of Health in Texas
from The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 15, 2009
A recent spate of national studies paint a dark portrait of the state of health care in Texas. Not only does the Lone Star State lead the nation in its uninsured population, adults and children alike, but the percentage of residents without health coverage could balloon from 27.5 percent to as much as one-third of the population in the next 10 years, a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute predicts. More

Swine Flu has Hospitals Limiting Youngsters
from The Houston Chronicle, Oct. 15, 2009
Worried about the spread of a swine flu breakout whose Houston-area death toll rose to 12 Thursday, local hospitals have begun prohibiting children who aren't patients from visiting. Ten days after Texas Children's Hospital announced it would only permit visitors 12 and older, numerous other hospitals in the Texas Medical Center and beyond have begun implementing similar policies. The exact ages vary. More

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Women Testify on Health Insurance Coverage Disparities
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Oct. 15, 2009
When Amanda Buchanan and her schoolteacher husband talked about having a second baby, it felt as though three people were at the table, she told a Senate committee. "Myself, my husband and our insurance policy," Buchanan said. Buchanan and several other women shared examples of coverage disparities with a subcommittee of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, one of the committees that wrote a version of a healthcare overhaul bill that will be considered by the full Senate. More

Opinion: Eye on Austin: First Domino? Hutchison Exit
from The Amarillo Globe News, Oct. 19, 2009
Long before U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced she would leave Congress to run for governor, half a dozen hopefuls decided to run for her Senate seat once she stepped down. The problem is, no one knows for sure, even Hutchison herself, when that will happen. More


Analysis: Courting Doctors in Health Care Battle
from The Associated Press via The Lubbock Avalanche Journal, Oct. 20, 2009
In the special interest war over health care, the White House and congressional Democrats have the nation's drug makers and hospitals generally on their side; the insurance industry, not so much. Now the bill's supporters are making a play to lock in the American Medical Association, the organization that says it represents 250,000 doctors and medical students in every state and congressional district. More

CBO: Malpractice Reform Would Save $11 Billion
from The San Antonio Business Journal, Oct. 19, 2009
The Congressional Budget Office has concluded that medical liability reforms, such as capping awards for noneconomic damages, would reduce total national health care spending by 0.5 percent. That would equate to $11 billion this year. More

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Lucio Offers to 'Partner' with Obama to Address Valley's Health Disparities
from The Rio Grande Guardian, Oct. 20, 2009
In a letter to President Obama, state Sen. Eddie Lucio says the McAllen medical system and the entire Rio Grande Valley need to be considered when reforming health care. McAllen has been singled out by Obama in town hall meetings for its high health care costs. This followed a damning expose of health care in the region by Dr. Atul Gawande in The New Yorker magazine. Some local physicians and hospitals have disputed Gawande's analysis. More

Is There a Better Way to Pay Doctors?
from TIME Magazine, Oct. 21, 2009
It's hard to feel sorry for America's family doctors. Any job that averages $179,000 per year and lets you be your own boss is a job most folks wouldn't turn down. With the effort to rein in health-care costs increasingly framed as an unhappy trade-off in which insurers either slash benefits or raise premiums, some in Washington are beginning to ask a question long considered off-limits: Do we simply pay doctors too much? The truth is, we pay them all wrong. More

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