Healthcare Thursday

IN THE NEWS

• Republicans pounced after Missouri voters on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly against a federal requirement that all Americans buy health insurance by 2014 or face a fine. The vote is symbolic, but nonetheless has put the White House and some Missouri Democrats on the defensive — at least for a day.

• While Congress jousted over the Missouri vote, thousands of uninsured patients waited hours Wednesday to receive free healthcare services just a few blocks from the Capitol — part of a nationwide tour sponsored by the National Association of Free Clinics. 

Every member of Congress was invited to stop in. Only Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) accepted, The Washington Independent reports.

• The federal investigation intensifies into the doping allegations against Lance Armstrong.

OVERHEARD

• Jacob Hacker makes the case for reviving the public option the next time Congress takes up healthcare reform on a grand scale. 

"[R]eformers will need to call plainly for a greater government role — armed … with concrete examples of government getting things right," he writes in The American Prospect

"[The public option] is popular. It will save serious money. And it can function as a sword of Damocles: If insurers fail to live up to the obligations of the law and tackle rising costs, they will face the only form of accountability that really matters in the private market — losing customers."

AROUND TOWN

• The Medicare trustees will unveil their annual report at 11 this morning at the Treasury building.

• The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee gathers Thursday to mark up a series of bills related to vets' healthcare. 

• Health Affairs is hosting a panel discussion on providers' transition to electronic health records. 

• The Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday will host a panel discussion on the international AIDS conference held in Vienna last month.

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration meets to examine ways to make kids safer during ambulance rides.