KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Take Our Quiz To Test Your Wits On Aging

Even the most exalted among us realize health care policy is complicated. Here's a pop quiz to see what you have learned as a regular reader of Kaiser Health News. (6/27)

Political Cartoon: 'I Am What I Am?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'I Am What I Am?'" by Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


After ninety years
The blessed ones still see the world
Through teenager eyes.

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

CBO Report Paints Grim Picture For Health Bill, Projecting 22 Million More Uninsured By 2026

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office also found that average premiums for plans for single individuals would be about 20 percent higher in 2018 than under current law. Media outlets offer a look at what's in the report.

CQ Roll Call: Senate GOP Bill Would Leave 22 Million More Uninsured, CBO Says
Under the Senate bill, average premiums for plans for single individuals would be about 20 percent higher in 2018 than under current law, in large part because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated, so fewer healthy people would enroll. Premiums would be about 10 percent higher than under current law in 2019, CBO said in its analysis of the Senate bill. Younger people would pay less for plans, CBO said. But in 2020, the year of the next presidential contest, average premiums for benchmark plans for single individuals would be about 30 percent lower than under current law, CBO said. (Young, 6/26)

Kaiser Health News: CBO Deals Blow To Senate Health Bill With Estimate Of 22 Million More Uninsured
The CBO also analyzed the Senate bill provision that would allow states to use waivers to modify the health law’s essential health benefits that include items like prescription drugs, maternity coverage, mental health and substance abuse. In states where such waivers were granted, consumers could experience substantial cost increases for supplemental premiums or out-of-pocket spending, or choose to forgo services. Nearly half the population, the CBO estimates, would reside in states that seek these waivers.(Carey and Galewitz, 6/26)

Bloomberg: Senate GOP Health Proposal Would Leave 22 Million Uninsured 
The biggest increase in the uninsured would come from the bill’s rollback of Medicaid, the state-federal program that covers the poor. The GOP bill cuts spending on Medicaid by $772 billion over a decade, which would result in 15 million fewer people enrolled in the program in 2026 than under current law. Another 7 million wouldn’t have coverage in the individual insurance market. (Tracer, Edney and Dennis, 6/26)

The Washington Post: A Person Making $11,400 In 2026 Will Face A Deductible That’s More Than Half Their Income
Most people are focused on how many people would lose insurance under the Senate health-care bill compared with current law: an estimated 22 million, according to the new Congressional Budget Office analysis. But the report digs deeper into the kind of insurance that people, especially poor people, would be able to access -- and finds that it would be so financially burdensome with high deductibles that many people would choose not to sign up. (Johnson, 6/26)

Modern Healthcare: Senate Healthcare Bill Would Cause 22 Million To Lose Coverage 
A single person who earns about $26,500 a year now has an $800 deductible because of cost-sharing reductions paid to insurers. That would climb to $6,000 in 2020 after cost-sharing reductions end and the subsidies are linked to bronze rather than silver plans. Even though an average 40-year-old's monthly premiums would drop from $141 to $133, it wouldn't be a good trade-off. (Lee, 6/26)

The CT Mirror: Federal Auditors Say 22 Million Additional Uninsured Under Senate Health Bill
“The CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation expect that this legislation would increase the number of uninsured people substantially,” the agency’s report said. “The increase would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income — particularly people between 50 and 64 years old with income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.” (Radelat, 6/26)

The Washington Post: Here's How Well The CBO Did At Forecasting Obamacare
The Congressional Budget Office on Monday projected Senate Republicans' bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would leave an estimated 22 million additional Americans without health insurance in the coming decade, as well as cut federal spending by $321 billion by 2026. That insurance prediction apparently didn't sit well with the White House, as the Trump administration put out a statement questioning the CBO's credibility, arguing that its analysis of the Affordable Care Act -- Democrats' 2010 health-care law also known as Obamacare -- was so flawed it proved the agency can't be trusted. (Ehrenfreund, 6/26)

The Hill: Five Takeaways From The CBO Score On Senate ObamaCare Bill 
The Congressional Budget Office has released its analysis and score of the Senate GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill.The big finding? The Senate bill would leave 22 million more people without insurance over the next decade compared to current law. Here are five takeaways from a report that will play a big role in the Senate’s discussions on ObamaCare. (Roubein, Hellmann and Weixel, 6/26)

Trump: CBO 'Analysis Must Not Be Trusted Blindly'

President Donald Trump blasted the report, citing its projections on the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, he's continuing his efforts to get the Senate bill passed.

The Hill: White House Hammers CBO For Health Bill Score
The White House slammed the Congressional Budget Office after its analysis showed the Senate Republicans’ healthcare bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured over the next decade.“ The CBO has consistently proven it cannot accurately predict how healthcare legislation will impact insurance coverage,” the White House said in a statement on Monday evening. (Fabian, 6/26)

CQ Roll Call: Trump Wants Health Care Bill By August Recess
President Donald Trump would like Congress to send him a final health care measure by the time lawmakers depart for their annual August recess — but he is not, for now, taking a position on whether the Senate has to vote on its version this week. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the president’s desired timeline at his Monday briefing, which was held with the television cameras turned off, as is becoming the norm. But Spicer did not take a position on Trump’s behalf when asked if the president wants the Senate to vote on its health bill this week no matter what. (Bennett, 6/26)

The Hill: Trump Phones Senate Holdouts On GOP Healthcare Bill 
President Trump has phoned several Republican holdouts on the Senate healthcare bill to try to get them on board.  White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump spoke by phone this weekend with Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Ron Johnson (Wis.).  Those three GOP senators, along with Utah’s Mike Lee, oppose the Senate bill released last week because it does not go far enough to repeal ObamaCare and lower insurance premiums. (Fabian, 6/26)

Senate Bill Dealt Tough Blow With CBO Score, But Leadership Eyes Side Deals As Possible Path Forward

At least six GOP senators are now opposed to the bill and three have said they would block it on the procedural vote. But Senate leaders were also pleasantly surprised by the amount of savings that can go toward wooing reluctant colleagues.

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Health Bill Raises Uninsured By 22 Million In 2026 Compared With ACA, The CBO Says
[The] assessment threw into doubt whether the bill would make it past an initial procedural hurdle as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is engaged in last-minute negotiations with more than a half-dozen GOP lawmakers wavering in their support of the bill. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said she would vote against the bill, citing the CBO report. (Armour, Peterson and Radnofsky, 6/26)

Los Angeles Times: Senate Healthcare Overhaul Hits Trouble As Republicans Hesitant To Proceed To Vote
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoped to start procedural votes by Wednesday, and President Trump called key senators over the weekend as support splintered. It's the same political dynamic that stalled the House Republican bill last month, as conservative and centrist factions wrestle for dominance. Conservatives want a more complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which they hope will lower premium costs, while centrists are trying to avoid leaving millions of Americans without health coverage. (Mascaro, 6/26)

The Associated Press: Budget Office Sees 22 Million Fewer Covered With Senate Bill
The CBO analysis suggested some ammunition GOP leaders could use, saying the Senate bill would cut federal deficits by $202 billion more over the coming decade than the version the House approved in May. Senate leaders could use some of those additional savings to attract moderate votes by making Medicaid and other provisions more generous, though conservatives would rather use that money to reduce red ink. (6/27)

Politico: Senate Obamacare Repeal On Brink Of Defeat
The GOP is well short of the votes needed to bring its bill to the floor, and party leaders and President Donald Trump are kicking into overdrive to save their imperiled health care overhaul. (Everett and Haberkorn, 6/26)

Where individual senators stand —

The Associated Press: These Senators Will Make Or Break The GOP's Health Care Push
President Donald Trump's campaign promise to repeal and replace "Obamacare" is now in the hands of a key group of GOP senators who are opposing —or not yet supporting — legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to bring to a vote this week. These lawmakers range from moderate to conservative Republicans, and include senators who were just re-elected and a couple facing tough re-election fights. (6/27)

The Hill: New CBO Analysis Imperils GOP ObamaCare Repeal 
Even before Collins made her feelings known, the CBO analysis was raising alarm bells for centrist Republicans. “It certainly makes me more concerned,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said of the analysis on CNN. “It makes me want to explore this more.” (Sullivan, 6/26)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Republican Sen. Ron Johnson Slams Senate GOP Obamacare Repeal Legislation
In a series of interviews and an op-ed Monday, Senate Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin bluntly laid out his objections to the GOP Senate health care bill and to his party’s hurried push to get it passed this week... The Wisconsin Republican slammed the bill drafted by GOP Senate leaders for retaining some Obamacare mandates, such as the rule requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions — a rule Johnson blames for driving up premiums. (Gilbert, 6/26)

Houston Chronicle: For Cornyn, An Open And Shut Door On GOP Health Care Plan 
Amid growing doubts about quick Senate passage of the GOP's revised health care "discussion draft," Texas Republican John Cornyn and other Senate leaders on Monday were digesting a new estimate showing that their plan would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million. Cornyn, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, issued a statement focusing on the part of the new Congressional Budget Office estimate that favors the GOP plan: It would save $321 million over the next decade, more than the version that passed the House last month. (Diaz, 6/26)

The Hill: Murkowski: I Don't Have Enough Information To Vote In Favor Of Healthcare Bill 
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Monday evening that she does not have enough information yet to vote in favor of the upper chamber’s legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. “Today I don’t have enough information, I don’t have enough data, in terms of the impact to my state, to be able to vote in the affirmative,” Murkowski, considered a key swing vote on the bill, told CNN’s Dana Bash. (Shelbourne, 6/26)

As GOP Takes Aim At Medicaid, A Growing Chorus Rises To Sing Its Praises

The federal-state program, which covers 70 million low-income Americans, has long been stigmatized as substandard. But it also has grown into a powerhouse program that now provides funding for hospitals, nursing homes and drug treatment, and cutting that back has many people nervous.

Bloomberg: Medicaid's Starring Role In U.S. Health-Care Flap: QuickTake Q&A 
The biggest single change called for by the Republican health-care bill that may be voted on by the U.S. Senate this week is its reduction in federal spending on Medicaid, the program for poor and disabled Americans. The bill is being championed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and backed by U.S. President Donald Trump as a way to "repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Senate bill, like one passed in May by the House of Representatives, would roll back Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid and make other far-reaching changes to the program as well. (Greifeld and Tracer, 6/27)

NPR: Why Medicaid Takes Up One-Tenth Of The Federal Budget
Medicaid is the government health care program for the poor. That's the shorthand explanation. But Medicaid is so much more than that — which is why it's become the focal point of the battle in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. President Obama expanded Medicaid under his signature health care law to cover 11 million more people, bringing the total number of people covered up to 69 million. (Kodjak, 6/27)

CQ Roll Call: Medicaid Directors Object To Growth Rates In Senate Health Bill
The National Association of Medicaid Directors on Monday objected to Senate Republicans' health bill, arguing it would provide too little funding for the giant federal program. The bipartisan protest added to the swelling chorus of opposition to the bill, which Senate GOP leaders intend to pass as early as this week. ... The Medicaid directors’ group left open the question of whether it potentially could support a switch to capped funding if the amount of money were increased. "While NAMD does not have consensus on the mandatory conversion of Medicaid financing to a per capita cap or block grant, the per capita cap growth rates for Medicaid in the Senate bill are insufficient and unworkable," the group of state officials said. (Young, 6/26)

PolitiFact: Kellyanne Conway's Mostly False Claim That GOP Bill Doesn't Cut Medicaid
In an interview Sunday, ABC news host George Stephanopoulos brought up the bill’s projected $800 billion in Medicaid savings and asked Conway if that undermined the president’s campaign promise to spare Medicaid from cuts. "These are not cuts to Medicaid, George," Conway said on This Week on June 25. "This slows the rate for the future." ... on one level, she has a point, we at PolitiFact found. Future savings are not always "cuts." But in the case of the GOP health care bill, there are indeed cuts that go beyond dollars spent. (Greenberg, 6/26)

Va. Says It Will Lose $1.4B In Senate's Medicaid Plan; Iowa Nursing Homes Also Raise Alarms

Around the country, Medicaid stakeholders are speaking out about how a reduction in federal funding for Medicaid under the Senate plan would play out in the states.

The Associated Press: Analysis: Senate Bill Worse For Virginia’s Medicaid Program
An analysis of the Senate health care bill shows its changes to the way Medicaid is funded would cost Virginia’s program at least $1.4 billion over seven years. The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services released the estimate Monday. It says the Senate bill would cost Virginia almost double what the House version would from 2020 to 2026. (6/26)

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia Medicaid Program Estimates $1.4 Billion Hit From Senate Health Care Bill Over Seven Years
The estimate the Department of Medical Assistance Services released on Monday is double the projected effect on Virginia’s Medicaid program of health care legislation the U.S. House of Representatives adopted on May 4. The difference reflects a lower annual growth rate than the Senate proposal, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, assumes in federal spending on Medicaid under a proposed system of per-capita caps. (Martz, 6/26)

Des Moines Register: Senate Health Bill Could Lead To Shuttered Iowa Nursing Homes, Industry Leaders Warn
The U.S. Senate’s proposal to rein in the Affordable Care Act could devastate Iowa nursing homes and hospitals, industry leaders are warning Iowa’s senators. Nursing homes could be particularly vulnerable to deep Medicaid cuts the bill would bring, said Steve Ackerson, president of the Iowa Health Care Association. More than half of all residents in Iowa nursing homes are covered by Medicaid, which pays an average of about $172 per day. On average, the nursing homes lose $26 per day on each of those residents, said Ackerson, whose association represents the industry. (Leys, 6/26)

CQ Roll Call: Schools Fear Losing Funding Under GOP Health Care Bill
Education advocates and school superintendents are petitioning lawmakers to reject a draft Republican health care bill that they say could reduce services to students with disabilities. Schools providing students medical services such as specialized equipment or speech therapists have been able to have eligible expenses reimbursed through Medicaid since 1988, so long as the student is signed up for the program. Annually, schools receive about $3 billion through reimbursements, according the National Alliance for Medicaid in Education. (Wilkins, 6/26)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Hospitals Tell Workers: Speak Out Against ACA Repeal
Local hospital officials are watching with trepidation as the U.S. Senate works on its bill that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. Their concern: If thousands of Medicaid patients across Greater Cincinnati get thrown off the government health plan, hospital spending on millions of dollars of uncompensated care will explode and put renewed stress on budgets. (Saker and Tucker, 6/26)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: New Ohio Ad Campaign Asks Conservatives To Support Medicaid Funding
The Association for Community Affiliated Plans announced it plans to start airing 30-second cable TV ads in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati starting Tuesday through July 11. The group, which represents Medicaid-managed health plans for the poor and other public health programs, also will run online ads statewide asking Ohioans to urge Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman not to cut Medicaid. (Pelzer, 6/26)

Houston Chronicle: Texas Hospitals Could Lose Billions Of Dollars Under GOP Health Plan 
Texas hospitals stand to lose billions under the Republican-backed health plan,  as federal Medicaid dollars shrink, leading to a rise in uncompensated care, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund, a national health policy foundation. The study looked only at the U.S. House plan passed last month. It has not yet examined the impact of the U.S. Senate's version unveiled late last week, which experts have predicted will bring even deeper cuts to Medicaid. (Deam, 6/26)

Nashville Tennessean: Advocates: Child Abuse Victims Will Suffer Under Senate Health Bill
Abused and neglected children in Tennessee will suffer from Medicaid cuts proposed under the Senate health care bill, warned state child welfare advocates on Monday, painting a potentially dire picture of victims without access to treatment and a deepening of an opioid crisis that has pushed more kids into foster care because they lack a functioning parent. TennCare, the state's version of Medicaid, is the principal provider of medical, mental health and special-needs services for about 8,000 kids in foster care, most as a result of abuse or neglect. (Wadhwani, 6/26)

In Rare Note Of Industry Support, Anthem Lauds Senate Bill's Efforts To Stabilize Insurance

The legislation, which would pay insurers billions to help keep the health law markets afloat for several years and kill a tax on insurance plans, will "moderate premium increases," Anthem said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal: Anthem Says Senate Health Bill Will Bolster Individual Insurance Market
Anthem Inc. said it believes that the Senate Republicans’ health bill will bolster the individual insurance market, an endorsement for the legislation as many other insurers have suggested it could undermine the marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. In a statement, Anthem said it believed the bill “will markedly improve the stability of the individual market and moderate premium increases,” because it allots billions to help stabilize the markets, eliminates a tax on health insurance plans and works on “aligning premium subsidies with premium costs.” (Wilde Mathews, 6/26)

The Hill: Health Insurer Anthem Endorses Senate Bill
Health insurance giant Anthem Inc. endorsed the Senate GOP's healthcare legislation Monday, saying it believes the bill will stabilize the individual market. The endorsement comes as doctors, hospitals, patient groups and even other health plans have slammed the legislation as harmful, and outside experts have warned it could destabilize the individual marketplace. (Weixel, 6/26)

Democrats Light Anti-Trumpcare Fire: 'The Power Of The People Is Greater Than The People In Power'

Democratic lawmakers are digging in this week against the Senate version of repeal-and-replace legislation, including holding a rally on the steps of Capitol Hill that drew senators and protesters alike.

Politico: Senate Democrats Rally Against GOP Health-Care Bill
It’s time again for Senate Democrats to burn the midnight oil. Senate Democrats launched yet another night of floor speeches on Monday night castigating the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — a talk-a-thon led by Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii that ran several hours after the Senate’s 5:30 p.m. votes. (Kim, 6/26)

The Washington Post: Senators Take The Health-Care Debate To Capitol Steps
On Monday night, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) gathered colleagues on the steps outside the Senate, where they talked for hours into a Facebook feed as activists filed in and out to watch the debate. The tone alternated between grim stories of people who would lose access to Medicaid, and in-jokes between the senators. “We've brought in Papa Smurf!” said Booker when Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrived to join the Facebook Live talk. (David Weigel, 6/26)

The Hill: Senate Dems Step Up Protests Ahead Of ObamaCare Repeal Vote 
Senate Democrats are stepping up their attacks on the GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare ahead of a vote on the plan that could come later this week.  Democrats launched a talkathon on Monday night from the Senate chamber, speaking for more than three hours and urging supporters to help kill the Senate legislation, which could face its first hurdle as soon as Tuesday. (Carney, 6/26)

The Hill: Senate Dems Plan Floor Protest Ahead Of ObamaCare Repeal Vote 
Democrats are planning an hours-long protest from the Senate floor on Monday night as they gear up ahead of a vote on the GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  Ben Wikler, the Washington director for the progressive outside group, urged supporters to come to the Capitol on Monday night to watch the floor speeches from inside the Senate chamber. (Carney, 6/26)

The Denver Post: Cory Gardner Says CBO Report Hasn’t Moved Him From The Fence On GOP Health Care Bill 
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was on the hot seat even before a new report estimated 22 million Americans would lose their health insurance by 2026 under a Republican bill the U.S. Senate could vote on this week. Now the stakes are even higher for the Colorado Republican, who has not said whether he would back a GOP health care proposal he helped shape — though Gardner spoke more positively than not about the measure in a brief interview Monday on Capitol Hill. (Matthews, 6/26)

'People Will Die': The Country Reacts To Proposed GOP Health Plan

As the American Medical Association comes out against the Senate health care bill, The New York Times and other outlets round up reactions on it from across America.

The New York Times: Senate Health Bill Gets A Wary Reception, From Coast To Coast
The health care bill unveiled Thursday by Senate Republicans has been out in the open for less than a week, and there are many obstacles to clear before it can become law: an uncertain Senate vote, a return to the House for final approval, a presidential signature. But in newspapers and on radios and TV stations from Anchorage to Miami, the effects of the bill are already being contemplated. These could vary considerably from region to region, state to state, even family to family. (Robertson, 6/26)

The Hill: American Medical Association: ObamaCare Repeal Violates ‘Do No Harm’ Rule 
One of the nation’s largest healthcare lobbying groups Monday announced its opposition to the Senate's ObamaCare repeal plan, warning that it could hurt the "most vulnerable citizens." The American Medical Association (AMA) wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) warning against cuts to Medicaid and changes to ObamaCare's subsidies and regulations. (Hellmann, 6/26)

KQED: Californians Contemplate ‘Unthinkable Choices’ If GOP Health Plan Becomes Law
People in the state’s health industry, from advocates to clinic directors, were left reeling by the new CBO report, which estimated the Senate Republican health plan would create an additional 22 million uninsured Americans by 2026... The Republican bill would radically cut federal funding for Medicaid, even more deeply than what was proposed in the House bill. (Feibel, 6/26)

Boston Globe: Baker: Senate Health Bill Would Mean 264,000 Mass. Residents Would Lose Coverage By 2025
Governor Charlie Baker warned Monday that the US Senate Republicans’ sweeping health care proposal would cost Massachusetts more than $8.2 billion and cause 264,000 residents to lose their health insurance coverage by 2025. The families and individuals who would lose coverage “are among our lowest-income residents,” the governor said in a letter to the state’s congressional delegation. (Dayal McCluskey, 6/26)

Arizona Republic: Arizona Health Leaders Push For Changes To Senate Health Bill
Arizona health-care and business leaders warn that Senate Republicans' bill to replace the Affordable Care Act would trigger deep cuts to the health-care system that could ripple through the state's budget and economy. Hospital leaders said the Senate bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would eliminate coverage for low-income families on Medicaid and would significantly increase uncompensated care at hospitals. (Alltucker, 6/26)

The Denver Post: Find Out How Senate Health Care Bill’s Tax-Credit Cuts Might Affect You
The Senate’s version of the GOP health care bill would reduce the amount the federal government provides in tax credits to help people buy health insurance by $424 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s report Monday. What do these reductions mean in practical terms for Colorado? The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated tax credit amounts and premium costs for every county in the country. (Ingold, 6/26)

Tweak To Senate Bill Penalizing Consumers For Dropping Insurance Draws Sharp Criticism

The change is aimed at appeasing skittish industry leaders, but patient advocates say Americans could face grave health consequences if they have to wait for a plan to kick in before seeking costly treatments.

The Washington Post: Senate Leaders Try To Bolster GOP Health-Care Bill With Incentive For Consumers To Stay Insured
The change, intended to satisfy insurers and minimize the number of Americans who may drop their plans if the bill becomes law, received measured praise from some industry officials but sharp criticism from patient advocates. The move — the first in a series of changes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to make in the next few days — underscores the degree to which Republicans need to retool their health bill if they hope to pass it this week. (Eilperin and Sullivan, 6/26)

The Wall Street Journal: Republican Senators Add Waiting-Period Penalty To Health-Care Bill
The Senate GOP health bill would repeal large portions of the Affordable Care Act, including a requirement that most people have coverage or pay a penalty. Without that mandate, insurers have been concerned that young and healthy people, who help offset the costs of older and sicker consumers, wouldn’t obtain coverage. That would push premium costs higher because the Senate legislation also requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing health conditions. Senate Health Bill's CBO Score Complicates PathThe Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate Republican health bill would leave 22 million more uninsured but cut $321 billion from federal deficit. WSJ's Shelby Holliday reports.The addition of the waiting period aims to fix that gap, mandating that people wait six months before getting coverage on the individual market. (Armour and Peterson, 6/26)

Bloomberg: GOP Leaders Issue Revised Health Bill As They Press For Vote 
The most significant change is the inclusion of a new provision to encourage Americans to maintain continuous health-care coverage that would replace Obamacare’s individual mandate. The new provision would impose a six-month waiting period before new insurance goes into effect for anyone who had a break in coverage lasting 63 days or longer in the prior year. It would take effect beginning in 2019. (Litvan and Dennis, 6/26)

Modern Healthcare: Senate Adds Waiting Period To ACA Replacement Bill
Tim Jost, an emeritus law professor at Washington and Lee University, said the six-month lockout is likely to drive up bad debt for providers because many people who try to sign up after a cancer diagnosis, for instance, will still get treatment during that waiting period. "It will create some bankruptcies," he said, for people who went without insurance and then got sick. (Lee, 6/26)

If Republicans Are Going To Succeed In Getting Rid Of ACA's Taxes, This Is Their Window

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady says there are no plans to use future tax reform legislation to rework them.

Bloomberg: Health Bill Seen As GOP’s Last Chance To Repeal Obamacare Taxes
Congressional Republicans’ dash to undo Obamacare is about fulfilling a seven-year promise to voters. But it’s also about seizing what may be the party’s last chance to wipe out the 2010 law’s tax hikes on upper earners. The Senate version of the health-care bill released last week would reduce federal revenue by $700 billion over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday, by repealing tax hikes imposed by the Affordable Care Act. One of the biggest revenue declines would come from retroactively repealing a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples above $250,000. (Kapur, 6/27)

Reuters: Obamacare Taxes Stand If Senate Fails To Adopt Health Bill: Brady
Nearly $1 trillion of taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act will remain in place if the Senate fails to adopt legislation to dismantle the law known as Obamacare, the top Republican on tax policy in the House of Representatives said on Monday. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters there are no plans to use future tax reform legislation as a secondary route for abolishing the Obamacare levies, should the Senate healthcare effort stall. (Morgan, 6/26)

CQ Roll Call: GOP Struggles With Message On Repealing Health Care Taxes
When Democrats enacted two taxes on wealthy families to help finance the 2010 health care law, Republicans predicted the levies would be politically unpopular and would not survive. Now, the GOP faces a partisan messaging battle over plans to end a Medicare payroll surtax and a separate tax on investment income that are both levied on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a married couple. (Ota, 6/27)

2018 Elections

GOP's Health Care Stumbles Are Causing Some Donors To Lock Up Piggy Banks

"You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There's no reason you can't get this done. Get it done and we'll open it back up," one influential donor said.

The Associated Press: Donors To GOP: No Cash Until Action On Health Care, Taxes
At least one influential donor has informed congressional Republicans that the "Dallas piggy bank" is closed until he sees major action on health care and taxes. Texas-based donor Doug Deason has already refused to host a fundraiser for two members of Congress and informed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., his checkbook is closed as well. (6/26)

Meanwhile —

Morning Consult: Six-Figure Ad Buy Targets 5 GOP Senators To Oppose ACA Repeal
Consumers Union, the political arm of product ratings organization Consumer Reports, announced Monday that it’s expanding a six-figure radio ad campaign against Senate Republicans’ health care bill to a total of five states. The $100,000 ad buy targets vulnerable and centrist Republicans who are seen as most likely to buck their party and oppose the bill, which Senate GOP leaders aim to pass this week. The ads highlight the bill’s cuts to Medicaid and possible coverage losses. (Reid, 6/26)

Coverage And Access

Why California's Single-Payer Proposal Was Doomed To Fail

The bill was more a reflection of ideological wishes than reality, and thus never stood a strong chance of passing.

Sacramento Bee: Why Universal Health Care Died In California
The authors of Senate Bill 562, Democrats Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, didn’t include a way to pay for the far-reaching legislation, which was estimated to cost $400 billion to start... So when Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a policy wonk who says he supports universal health care, announced late Friday he was holding the bill in committee, he merely expedited the inevitable. (Cadelago and Luna, 6/27)

KQED: California Dems Continue Single-Payer Blame Game
The California Nurses Association lashed out at Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who announced on Friday that the single-payer legislation would not advance in the Assembly in 2017. Rendon hit back on Monday, criticizing the legislation that passed the Senate earlier this month. (Marzorati, 6/26)

Public Health And Education

Is DNA Testing For Health Adults Actually A Good Idea? These Scientists Don't Think So

Although it sounds like the wave of the future, the upsides of genome sequencing may not outweigh the negatives. In other public health news: wrong diagnoses, medical care for undocumented immigrants, superbugs, hair products and more.

Stat: Genome Sequencing Raises Alarms While Offering Patients Few Benefits
For all the promises of genomics ushering in a new era in medicine, with scientists regularly urging people to get their DNA sequenced, it appears that the revolution will be postponed: A first-of-its-kind study published Monday found that most of the adults who underwent genome sequencing and were told they had a disease-causing DNA variant did not in fact have that disease. And few of them got information that improved their health. (Begley, 6/26)

NPR: Whole Genome Tests' Risks And Benefits
Advances in technology have made it much easier, faster and less expensive to do whole genome sequencing — to spell out all three billion letters in a person's genetic code. Falling costs have given rise to speculation that it could soon become a routine part of medical care, perhaps as routine as checking your blood pressure. But will such tests, which can be done for as little as $1,000, prove useful, or needlessly scary? (Stein, 6/26)

The New York Times: The Lab Says It’s Cancer. But Sometimes The Lab Is Wrong.
It was the sort of bad news every patient fears. Merlin Erickson, a 69-year-old retired engineer in Abingdon, Md., was told last year that a biopsy of his prostate was positive for cancer. Mr. Erickson, worried, began investigating the options: whether to have his prostate removed, or perhaps to have radiation treatment. But a few days later, the doctor called again. (Kolata, 6/26)

The New York Times: Unauthorized Immigrants Steer Clear Of Medical Care
Dr. Luke Smith drove slowly through the unlit streets of a neighborhood filled with immigrants, searching for an address among small houses with windows ribbed by iron bars. Pharmacy bags lay at his feet.His mission: to deliver medication to patients too frightened to pick up their prescriptions. (Hoffman, 6/26)

Bloomberg: How Baking Soda Could Help Fight Deadly Superbugs 
A big hurdle to developing new treatments is that there can be a big gap between a drug’s effectiveness in the laboratory, compared with the complexity of the human body. Several research labs have recently uncovered ways bacteria can elude the standard test, making invulnerable microbes appear susceptible to treatment. But in a new study in mice, scientists at the University of California-Santa Barbara may have hit on a way to make the test more accurate, and it involves using the most pedestrian of household items. They took the standard antibiotic susceptibility test and added sodium bicarbonate, a chemical better known as baking soda. In addition to that small box containing it in the back of your refrigerator, it’s also found in human tissue—so researchers hypothesized that using it to test superbugs would better simulate how they behave in humans.  (Tozzi, 6/27)

NPR: More Health Problems Reported With Skin And Hair Products
We rub, pour, sprinkle and spray them all over our bodies, so you'd hope cosmetics would undergo serious safety oversight before they get into our hands. But in fact, the cosmetics industry is largely self-regulated, with no requirements for approval before going on the market. And once on the market, there are few systems in place to monitor the safety of personal care products. (Higa, 6/26)

The New York Times: U.S. Malaria Donations Saved Almost 2 Million African Children
Over the last decade, American donations to fight malaria in Africa have saved the lives of nearly two million children, according to a new analysis of mortality rates in 32 countries there. The study, published by PLOS Medicine this month, looked at the long-term effects of the President’s Malaria Initiative, a program started by President George W. Bush in 2005 that has spent over $500 million a year since 2010. (McNeil, 6/26)

The Washington Post: Teenagers Are As Sedentary As 60-Year-Olds By Age 19
The adolescent years are when people's bodies are supposed to start the ascent to their physical peak. Teenagers are growing like beanstalks. Their hormones are raging. They're eager for new experiences. By all accounts, this should be among the most active periods in a person's lifetime. Except it turns out it's not. (Cha, 6/26)

Already At A Higher Risk For Addiction, Patients With Mental Disorders Get Bulk Of Opioid Prescriptions

The study could help redirect efforts toward curbing the opioid epidemic.

The Washington Post: Greater Opioid Use And Mental Health Disorders Are Linked In A New Study
A new study suggests that people with anxiety and depression are consuming a disproportionate share of prescription painkillers, a finding that could add a new wrinkle to the epidemic of opioid use in the United States. Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the University of Michigan found that nearly 19 percent of the estimated 38.6 million people with those two most common mental health disorders received at least two prescriptions for opioids during a year. And more than half the prescriptions for the powerful, highly addictive painkillers went to individuals in that group, the researchers asserted. (Bernstein, 6/26)

Kaiser Health News: Patients With Mental Disorders Get Half Of All Opioid Prescriptions
Adults with a mental illness receive more than 50 percent of the 115 million opioid prescriptions in the United States annually, according to a study released Monday. The results prompted researchers to suggest that improving pain management for people with mental health problems “is critical to reduce national dependency on opioids.” People with mental health disorders represent 16 percent of the U.S. population. (Connor, 6/26)

New Hampshire Public Radio: Despite Risks, High Rate Of Opioid Prescriptions For People With Mental Health Conditions
“More than half of all prescriptions being prescribed in the United States are going to patients with mental health disorders, and the reason why this is so striking is because adults with mental health disorders only represent 16% of the population,” explains Dr. Brian Sites, who co-authored the paper being published next month in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. “So there is a big discrepancy.” (Bookman, 6/26)

In other news —

Stat: OxyContin Maker Urges Judges To Stop Release Of Secret Marketing Records
A state appeals court Monday heard arguments over whether secret records regarding the marketing of the powerful prescription opioid OxyContin should be released to the public. A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals is considering a request from OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to overturn a lower court ruling ordering the release of the documents — the result of a motion filed by STAT. The records include a deposition of Dr. Richard Sackler, a former president of Purdue and a member of the family that owns the privately held Connecticut company. (Armstrong, 6/26)

The Associated Press: US Does Not Need Warrant To Subpoena Oregon Drug Data
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency does not need a court order to subpoena a prescription drug database kept by the state of Oregon, but the ruling did not specify whether those subpoenas would violate constitutional protections. The ruling reverses a 2014 judge's ruling finding that the agency must obtain warrants to access the database, which Oregon uses to help healthcare providers identify abuse. (6/26)

Arizona Republic: Arizona Had 191 Opioid Overdoses, 15 Deaths Last Week
Fifteen opioid-suspected deaths were recorded last week in Arizona, the state Department of Health Services said Monday. Those deaths were among the 191 opioid overdose cases overall recorded from June 15-22, the agency said, further highlighting a problem that has drawn national attention in the past year. (Destin, 6/26)

State Watch

Pharmacist Sentenced To 9 Years For Role In Deadly Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

The outbreak, which was tied to the New England Compounding Center, caused at least 64 deaths.

Boston Globe: Former NECC Co-Owner Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison
Cadden was convicted in March of fraud and racketeering charges stemming from the public health crisis triggered when NECC sent tainted medicines around the country, causing a fungal meningitis outbreak that killed at least 60 and sickened hundreds. The jury did not convict him of second-degree murder charges. (Arsenault and Ellement, 6/26)

State Highlights: Boston Children's Hospital Snags Top Ranking In Report; Ariz. Governor Targets Planned Parenthood Funding

Media outlets report on news out of Arizona, California and Ohio.

USA Today: Best Children's Hospitals Ranked By U.S. News & World Report
An annual report by U.S. News & World Report ranks the nation's top 50 children's medical centers by 10 pediatric categories including cancer, neurology, diabetes and endocrinology. U.S. News has ranked children's hospitals since 2006, and awards rankings based on measures such as clinical outcomes, patient volume, staffing adequacy and compliance with best practices, to name a few. (Bowerman, 6/27)

Arizona Republic: To Defund Planned Parenthood, Arizona Wants Say In Family Planning
Ducey and the Legislature this year, with a push from the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, placed into the budget the requirement that the state try to take control of Arizona's $4.5 million share of federal family-planning funds. For more than 30 years, the non-profit Arizona Family Health Partnership has overseen the federal Title X program in Arizona, working with Planned Parenthood and other community clinics. (Beard Rau, 6/26)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Summa Health To Eliminate 300 Positions, Discontinue Certain Services On Projected $60 Million Operating Losses
Summa Health plans to eliminate 300 positions and change its service offerings as the health system faces $60 million in operating losses. In an internal memo to employees Monday, Interim President and CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny said the Akron-based system in the next month would need to eliminate positions and discontinue and consolidate services to shore up financial losses from low inpatient and outpatient numbers. (Christ, 6/26)

San Jose Mercury News: Lawsuit: HR Exec Worried Cancer Survivor Had 'Chemo Brain'
An associate vice president in the human resources department at San Francisco State University told faculty she worried that an employee of the college recovering from cancer had “chemo brain,” according to a lawsuit filed last month... A statement from the university’s lawyer said the school is fighting the claims. (Deruy ,6/26)

Columbus Dispatch: Getting Food To Hungry Kids In Southeast Ohio
Britany Kuhn recently led her six children on a 20-minute walk to get lunch from a local meal program. Such programs are made possible by the Children’s Hunger Alliance, a nonprofit organization working to keep children from going hungry through a project focused on Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton counties in southeastern Ohio. (Henry 6/27)

Editorials And Opinions

Political Points And Counter Points: What's At Stake As GOP Senators Face A Health Plan Vote

Opinion writers contemplate the cost-benefit analysis Republican senators are confronting. Many have for years dreamed of the chance to unravel Obamacare, but the Congressional Budget Office analysis offers some damning reasons to think twice before supporting it.

The New York Times: A Vote Of Conscience And Courage
This week, these senators will face a career-defining choice. It is not an easy one for many of them. Republicans have spent years promising to repeal Obamacare. Now the Senate is nearing a decision on whether to do so. Opposing the bill risks marking any Republican as a traitor to the party. By late Monday, enough Republicans were nonetheless expressing skepticism about the bill to put its success in serious doubt. Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada have all distanced themselves from the bill. But we’ve seen a version of this story before. (David Leonardt, 6/27)

The Wall Street Journal: The Senate’s Health-Care Hour
Senate Republicans are headed for a vote on their health-care bill as soon as this week, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still scrambling for 50 votes. What the holdouts should understand is that this is a defining political moment. They may never have a better chance to improve U.S. health care and reform government, and the window is closing. (6/26)

The Washington Post: This Is Why So Many Republicans Are Ready To Buck Public Opinion On Health Care
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and the GOP leadership are scrambling this week to corral 50 out of 52 Republican votes for an historically unpopular health-care bill. Why did so many House Republicans already vote for a bill that large majorities in every state detest? And why are their Senate colleagues considering walking the same plank, given the electoral risk? (David C. Barker and Christopher Jan Carman, 6/27)

USA Today: Senate Health Bill Breaks GOP Promises On Costs And Trump's On Coverage
In Democratic circles, I hear many wondering how Republican senators could vote for a health care bill that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will cause an estimated 22 million people to lose coverage by 2026 and deals a severe blow to tens of millions of vulnerable people insured by Medicaid. Prominent Republicans I interact with have a different lens. They are not primarily focused on covering more people. To the extent they have a focal point in health care, it’s more likely to be costs. They point to premium and deductible increases under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in some markets and say this demonstrates the need to repeal the law. (Andy Slavitt, 6/26)

The Washington Post: Is The GOP Trying To Repeal And Replace Itself?
This is a week to keep focused on the most urgent question in domestic policy and politics: Will Republicans snatch health insurance from millions of Americans and slash the vital Medicaid program by $770 billion , all to enable massive tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful? (Eugene Robinson, 6/26)

Bloomberg: Maybe @realDonaldTrump Actually Likes Obamacare
President Donald Trump isn’t the kind of guy to be humble about his accomplishments. Yet his Twitter persona paid relatively little attention to what could be the biggest step toward one of his campaign promises so far: the emergence of a Senate bill that aims to roll back much of Obamacare. Maybe he's not so sure he likes what he sees? (Mark Whitehouse, 6/26)

The Washington Post: The CBO Confirms: Senate Republicans’ Health-Care Bill Is A Turkey
The Congressional Budget Office’s highly anticipated scoring of Senate Republicans’ health-care bill was released Monday. To no one’s surprise, it leaves about as many more Americans uninsured (22 million) as the House version (23 million) by 2026; in fact the shock is greater under the Senate’s bill that would prompt 15 million to lose coverage in the first year. The CBO forecast states, “By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.” (Jennifer Rubin, 6/26)

Los Angeles Times: How Many People Will Die From The Republicans' Obamacare Repeal Bills? Tens Of Thousands Per Year
How many people would lose their lives if the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act succeeds? Estimates of this inherently murky statistic vary, but the range is from about 28,000 to nearly 100,000 a year. That’s a shocking toll from an effort that is essentially aimed at gifting the wealthiest Americans with hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts by slashing healthcare. So no one should be surprised that Republican and conservative supporters of the House and Senate repeal bills have spent a lot of time claiming that nothing of the sort will happen. The effort moved into high gear this weekend, following Thursday’s unveiling of the Senate GOP’s version of ACA repeal. (Michael Hiltzik, 6/26)

Issues And Answers: How The Senate GOP's Better Care Act Changes Medicaid And The Individual Insurance Market

Editorial writers and columnists analyze a variety of policy proposals advanced in the current Senate plan.

The Washington Post: Want To Know The Worst Thing About The GOP’S Health-Care Bill?
The official numbers on the Senate health-care bill are in, and they are grim: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found Monday that the Better Care Reconciliation Act would result in 22 million fewer people with health-care coverage in a decade. “By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law,” the experts concluded. (6/26)

The New York Times: A Few Bright Spots For Republicans. The Rest Can Be Scored As Grim.
In dry, stark language, the Congressional Budget Office on Monday punctured many of the stated goals for the Republican health care bill. The budget analysis gave Republican senators just a few happy talking points. It found that average insurance premiums would be lower in 2020 than they are today. The bill would reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion over a decade. And it would produce a huge tax cut, albeit mostly for wealthier Americans. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 6/26)

The Washington Post: How The Republicans’ Health-Care Plan Betrays Republicans’ Own Principles
The Senate Republicans’ health-care plan, like the House Republicans’ health-care plan, is objectively terrible. It would result in 22 million Americans losing insurance. It would dramatically raise premiums for the poor and old. Its Medicaid cuts would harm people with disabilities, nursing home residents and even babies. But we knew all that was coming. The surprising thing about this bill is not that it forsakes the indigent, elderly and vulnerable. It’s that it forsakes so many of the Republicans’ own vaunted values. (Catherine Rampell, 6/26)

Health Affairs Blog: The Downstream Consequences Of Per Capita Spending Caps In Medicaid
Medicaid, the government program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income and disabled Americans, is the largest payer for health care in the United States in terms of enrollees and the second-largest payer (behind only Medicare) in terms of spending. Escalating health care costs, a growing federal budget deficit, and fiscal challenges in many states have led to calls to reform the program to decrease spending growth. Recent federal reform proposals from House and Senate [Republicans] would change the current financing system in which the federal government guarantees a share of total program spending to states to one limiting federal cost exposure by setting a per capita cap on federal payments to a state. (Timothy Layton, Ellen Montz and Thomas McGuire, 6/26)

Los Angeles Times: The CBO's Other Grim News About The Senate GOP Healthcare Bill
[Republicans] main goal isn’t to preserve the coverage gains achieved by the ACA, it’s to cut the premiums paid by those who aren’t covered by large employer health plans. And on that front, the CBO offers what looks at first blush like good news for the GOP. After an initial spike in premiums in 2018 (projected to be 20% higher than if current law were left in place), rates would head in the other direction .... Now for the reality check. First off, we’re not talking about rates being lower in 2020 than they are today — just that they wouldn’t be as high as they would be under current law. And second, the main reasons premiums would be comparatively lower, the CBO predicts, are that the policies would be worth less, and federal taxpayers would be kicking in more. (Jon Healey, 6/27)

Chicago Tribune: Have A Pre-Existing Condition? Senate Bill's Not For You
I've been spending a lot of time these past years in hospital lobbies, infusion rooms, scanning stations and oncology exam rooms. Like countless others diagnosed each year with cancer in America, I was well one day and in the land of the mortally sick the next. Fortunately for me, I entered the disease's demanding treadmill — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — with a devoted husband, fierce family and friends and good medical care. But my cancer went metastatic anyway in June 2015. At age 59, I was declared terminal and given "six months to a year" to live. I'm still here today because I'm one of the lucky ones to respond, at least partially, to immunotherapy — a breakthrough set of new drugs that help the body fight cancer. (Melinda Welsh, 6/26)

The Wall Street Journal: The Senate Saves The 10th Amendment
For decades American conservatives have sought to restore meaning to the 10th Amendment, which recognizes the states’ right to manage their affairs free from Washington’s interference. Passing the Republican Senate’s health-care bill would represent historic progress toward that goal. (Avik Roy, 6/26)

The New York Times: The Senate’s Secretly Bipartisan Health Bill
In 2010, when Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, Republicans complained that they did so with no Republican support. Democrats responded by pointing out that the centerpiece of their plan — tax credits to buy private insurance — came from a Republican governor, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Something similar is happening today. Democrats are denouncing the partisan nature of the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. They’re right to note that if the new bill passes the Senate, it will do so along party lines. But the core planks of the Senate Republicans’ health bill — the Better Care Reconciliation Act — borrow just as much from Democratic ideas as Obamacare borrowed from Republican ones. (Avik Roy, 6/26)

Outlook From The States: Concern For The Health Care Safety Net; Criticism For The GOP Senate Plan

Editorial pages across the country offer strongly worded cautions about the current direction of the health care debate and how the current policy debate would play out in their respective areas.

San Antonio Press-Express: An Awful Health Care Bill From Senate
This bill is bad for Texas and bad for the country. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the measure, released Monday, makes that clear. Some 22 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026, only a slight improvement of the 23 million estimated in a House bill. (6/26)

The Wichita Eagle: What Americans Don’t Know About GOPcare Can Kill Them
If three caring, courageous Republican senators — out of 52 — do not step forward this week, the Affordable Care Act will be renamed. But finis Obamacare? Not so fast. This is not the definitive, wholesale repeal the GOP promised for seven long years. Instead, the GOP approach is piecemeal. It repeals the taxes on wealthy people and insurance companies and the mandate that everyone either have health coverage or pay extra taxes. (Davis Merritt, 6/27)

Kansas City Star: Today, Medicaid. Tomorrow, Medicare And Social Security.
Will cutting Medicaid help the federal deficit? To a point. But the cuts are in the Senate bill largely to pay for tax reductions, which will cost the government $541 billion through 2026, according to CBO. The tax cuts in the Senate bill are aimed primarily at high-income earners and investors. This might not mean much to most Americans who aren’t on Medicaid and aren’t high-income earners. But for Americans of a certain age, the Senate bill should be pretty scary because Medicare and Social Security are probably next. (Dave Helling, 6/26)

Richmond Times-Dispatch: An End To Health Care For Poor
If Republicans succeed in passing this legislation, millions of parents who work hard but struggle to make ends meet will find it prohibitively expensive to get their children the care they need... And suffering most of all will be the 60 percent of children with disabilities — and their families — who currently receive Medicaid coverage. (Henry Waxman, 6/26)

Lincoln Journal-Star: Trump Budget Would Shred Safety Net
This budget devalues the needs of many low- and moderate-income Americans and would severely damage the nation’s social safety net. With its reduction of $1.7 trillion in social services, it severely constricts or eliminates programs that are essential to the health and welfare of families and individuals. The budget includes major cuts to Medicaid, the critical health care program that protects children, low-income single adults, older Americans, and Americans with disabilities. Medicaid covers nearly one in four Americans and, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, accounts for one of every six dollars spent on health care in the country. (Terry Werner, 6/27)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: GOP Lies On Health Care Are Shameless
Under the Senate bill being pushed by Price and other Republicans, deductibles would soar even higher. They would soar not by accident, but as a result of conscious, deliberate policy decisions written into the bill that are designed to drive those deductibles higher. (Jay Bookman, 6/26)

Boston Globe: Charlie Baker Could Lead On Health Care Debate
Baker has been warning that Massachusetts will lose money if a Senate health care bill, which essentially phases out Medicaid, passes and becomes law. But other Republican governors are stating the truth more bluntly: Those federal spending cuts will mostly hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and children. (Joan Vennochi, 6/27)

Viewpoints: The Heat Of Health Care Rhetoric; The Link Between Access To Care And Curbing Opioids

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

Bloomberg: Hot Rhetoric Is OK For Liberals, And For Me
Over the weekend Hillary Clinton tweeted that if Republicans pass the health-care bill, they should be called “the death party.” Senator Bernie Sanders had his own tweet .... Republicans denounced these remarks. ... My own reaction to the Democrats’ words was to consider calling a copyright attorney about Clinton, since a decade ago I wrote a book about abortion and related issues titled "The Party of Death." Liberals were outraged by my title then, as conservatives are by Clinton and Sanders now. It seems to me that today’s outrage is, as yesterday’s was, misdirected. A healthy democratic culture would not consider any of this rhetoric out of bounds. (Ramesh Ponnuru, 6/26)

Los Angeles Times: Blood Money And The Death Party: Let's Tone Down The Trumpcare Rhetoric
Earlier this month a political zealot went to a baseball practice with the intention of killing as many Republican congressmen as he could. As often happens after such horrible events, various politicians and media figures suggested that we should tone down the rhetoric and not paint everything in apocalyptic terms, casting Republicans or Democrats as villains with traitorous or evil intent in their hearts. Words have consequences, they sagely said into the TV cameras. Two weeks later, many of the very same people are describing the Republicans as murderers for proposing changes to Medicaid. (Jonah Goldberg, 6/27)

Slate: Want To Curb The Opioid Epidemic? Don’t Limit Access To Health Care.
Still, fighting this epidemic is one of the few things that unites people across the political divide these days. In fact, Sens. John McCain and Kirsten Gillibrand have introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent overprescribing for acute pain, one attempt to limit the scope of the problem. And yet, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the reworked version of the American Health Care Act currently waiting for a vote in the Senate, is poised to allow insurers to stop covering care for the mental health problems that often lead to addiction. This could make coverage excessively expensive. It would make it harder for these people to access the right health care that could help them and protect them from addiction. (Jen Simon, 6/26)

The New York Times: The ABCs And Ds Of Whether To Get Prostate Cancer Screening
It can be hard for physicians to follow current thinking of experts on medical care. It must be exponentially harder for the public to make sense of it. Recently, the United States Preventive Services Task Force changed its recommendation on prostate cancer screening from a D (that is, don’t do it) to a C (discuss it with your doctor). (Aaron E. Carroll, 6/26)