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Republicans push tax hike on private insurance plans with abortion coverage

WASHINGTON – A provision in a high-priority Republican bill would effectively hike taxes on private insurance plans that include abortion coverage, representing a significant threat to the pro-abortion-rights movement. The provision is in Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) measure HR 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act,” which has 173…

Republican bill would allow states to ‘opt out’ of health care laws

Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso have introduced legislation that would allow states to opt out of certain provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “Our legislation opens up a third front in the fight against Obama health care,” Sen. Graham said in a statement. Republicans are…

Mocking health reform, Republicans propose mandating gun ownership

In a measure apparently mocking the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance mandate, Republican lawmakers in South Dakota want to force everyone over 21 years of age to buy a gun by 2012. If the measure passes, those turning 21 would have six months to buy a firearm “sufficient to provide…

Agent Orange victim loses health coverage over 2-cent shortfall

A Vietnam veteran suffering from a bone cancer blamed on exposure to Agent Orange was dropped from his health insurance for a two-cent shortfall on a premium payment, only to have the insurance reinstated when the story became public. Ronald Flanagan of Thornton, Colorado, said he never received a warning…

Vermont pushes for single-payer health care in lieu of national reform law

WASHINGTON – A small and progressive state whose legislators are sympathetic to single-payer, Vermont could be slated for a major breakthrough on a goal liberals have vigorously pushed for, but to no avail. The state’s top lawmakers have joined forces and made strides towards implementing a public-only health insurance system,…

‘We can’t go backward,’ Obama warns on day of health care repeal vote

With the Republican-controlled House of Representatives slated to pass a bill Wednesday night repealing the sweeping health care overhaul, President Barack Obama fired a warning shot to his adversaries. “Today, the American people have greater health security than they did a year ago,” Obama said in a prepared statement. “Because…

Up to half in US have pre-existing conditions: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have medical problems putting them at risk of being rejected by insurance companies or having to pay more for coverage, according to a U.S. government study reported by the Washington Post on Tuesday. The Department of Health and…

‘Special interests have kicked your butt,’ Potter tells single-payer group

Health insurance whistleblower recommends ‘telling things in story form’ Proponents of a Medicare-for-all health finance system in America ought to more aggressively promote their vision in the media with public relations tools, a former private health insurance spokesperson advised. “Special interests have kicked your butt with the skillful use of…

Calif. Dem reintroduces public option for health insurance

Even as Republicans gear up for a vote to repeal health care reform, one progressive House member is making a renewed push for the public option. On Wednesday, the first day of the 112th Congress, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced a measure to establish a robust public health insurance option…

Natural disasters ‘killed 295,000 in 2010′

The Haiti earthquake and floods in Pakistan and China helped make 2010 an exceptional year for natural disasters, killing 295,000 and costing $130 billion, the world’s top reinsurer said Monday. “The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide…

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