First Editon: March 12, 2010

Today's headlines focus on Democratic leaders' ongoing efforts to reach health care consensus and push a bill forward. Meanwhile, the GOP is ready to use the majority party's overhaul vote as a political tool in upcoming elections.

Democrats Move Toward Grouping Health Reform With Student-Aid Bill Democratic leaders said Thursday that they were increasingly inclined to release a final health-care bill that could accomplish two of President Obama's top domestic priorities: guaranteeing coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans and vastly expanding federal aid for college students (The Washington Post).

Democrats Struggle To Finish Health Bill House and Senate Democratic leaders struggled Thursday to stitch together pieces of a final health care bill as rank-and-file Democrats demanded more information about the contents of the bill and its cost (The New York Times).

Democrats Seek Health Care Consensus Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill worked throughout the day Thursday seeking intraparty agreements over abortion, federal insurance subsidies and other issues in a healthcare package they hope to send President Obama before the end of the month (Los Angeles Times).

Democrats Near Final Health Bill The White House softened its deadline for passing a health-care bill, with House Democratic leaders struggling to bridge differences over abortion and persuade skeptical members that the Senate will approve changes they want once they pass the Senate version of the bill (The Wall Street Journal).

Democrats Pare Differences Over Health Overhaul Top Democrats say they are resolving disputes over President Barack Obama's health overhaul plan, but they face decisions on subsidizing coverage and are still hunting votes to push the vast package through Congress (The Associated Press).

Pelosi: 'The Choice Has To Be Made' Congressional Democrats embarked on the final push for an historic health care bill on Thursday with no guarantee that they have the votes to pass it (Politico).

Parliamentarian's Ruling Deals Blow To Healthcare Reform Chances The Senate parliamentarian has delivered a blow to Democrats by ruling President Barack Obama must sign the broader Senate healthcare legislation before the upper chamber can take up changes demanded by the House (The Hill).

GOP's New Tactic: Alarm Rivals With a final vote drawing near on President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, Republicans' latest strategy can be neatly summarized: try to scare the daylights out of House Democrats (The Wall Street Journal).

Bay State Seeks Fair Shake In Health Bill President Obama's demand to delete "special deals" in the health care package would eliminate $500 million in extra Medicaid cash for Massachusetts, but Bay State lawmakers say they are confident the state would recoup that and probably more once negotiations are complete (The Boston Globe).

Christian Group's Members Share Health Care Costs As policymakers in Washington, D.C., debate overhauling health care, several evangelical Christian groups have found a way of getting around the high cost of health insurance. Instead of paying premiums, they simply agree to pay each other's medical bills (NPR).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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