KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

A Hard Look At GOP Repeal-And-Replace Efforts: Examining Who Is Left Behind; Defending The House Vote

Opinion writers and stake holders offer their takes on the current health policy debate.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Health Care Bill Approved By House Leaves Too Many Behind
Simply put, the status quo on health care is unsustainable. ... Congress has the responsibility to fix this mess and lower health care costs. At the same time, these changes must be made in a way that doesn’t leave people behind. ... After the House of Representatives passed its bill, I said I could not support it as currently constructed because it does not do enough to help those currently receiving coverage, including the 700,000 Ohioans who receive health care through expanded Medicaid, especially those who are receiving treatment for drug addiction. Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented drug crisis right now. About half of all expanded Medicaid dollars spent in Ohio go to mental health and substance abuse treatment – much of that driven by the opioid epidemic. (Sen. Rob Portman, 5/15)

Los Angeles Times: Trump And Congress Are About To Take An Ax To Children's Healthcare
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: In the ridiculous mess that is the American healthcare system, there’s one indisputable success — children’s health coverage. Over the last two decades, the uninsured rate for children under 18 has fallen from 14% to less than 5%. Today that achievement is under threat as never before. “We’re at real risk of moving backward,” says Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. That’s because children’s healthcare in the U.S. is heavily dependent on three public programs, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. (Michael Hiltzik, 5/15)

San Antonio Press-Express: Coverage Mostly Fit For The Healthy 
There is a petition-driven movement — sure to fail — to strip members of Congress of their health care coverage. We don’t have the heart to deny people the coverage they need to keep themselves and their families healthy, even if they are making a minimum of $174,000 annually. But we understand the argument. (5/15)

The Washington Post: I Was Arrested For Asking Tom Price A Question. I Was Just Doing My Job.
I was arrested last week after asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the American Health Care Act while he walked toward a meeting in the West Virginia State Capitol. He didn’t respond, so I asked a few more times, holding my phone out to record the reply he didn’t make. The criminal complaint accused me of a misdemeanor — “willful disruption of governmental processes” — and said I was “aggressively breaching the secret service agents.” I wasn’t. I went to the capitol to do my job and ask a question — not looking for trouble or intending to disrupt some state process. But for asking a question, the capitol police took my phone, handcuffed me, fingerprinted me and sent me off in an orange jumpsuit. (Dan Heyman, 5/16)

The Washington Post: A Congressman Said Making A Man Get Maternity Insurance Was ‘Crazy.’ A Woman’s Reply Went Viral.
Between rounds of jeering that interrupted his every sentence, Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) took a little more than two minutes to explain what else he'd like to change about the Obama-era health-care law now that he has voted for the GOP's partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “Get rid of some of these crazy regulations that Obamacare puts in,” Blum suggested at an Iowa town hall meeting Monday, “such as a 62-year-old male having to have pregnancy insurance.” The crowd yelled all the louder. (Avi Selk, 5/15)

Austin American-Statesman: Keeping Our Promise
House Republicans have long promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, and earlier this month, we delivered. After voting more than 60 times to repeal and replace Obamacare, I supported the American Health Care Act when it passed the House of Representatives on May 4. (John Carter, 5/16)

Arizona Republic: Our Turn: Businesses Have A Stake In Health
With President Trump’s reaffirmed commitment to passing health-care reform, lawmakers have a fresh chance to overcome recent setbacks and modernize the American health care system. The business community remains committed to helping our leaders expand access to coverage, improve quality of care and reverse the rise of health-care costs.​ We applaud the members of the House who worked diligently to put together the American Health Care Act (AHCA). (Thomas Donohue, 5/15)

Modern Healthcare: Healthcare Lobbyists Wait To See If Senate More Pliable Than House On ACA Repeal
Healthcare industry groups are guardedly hopeful they will have more influence on the Senate's healthcare overhaul bill than they had on the House bill passed earlier this month. That's not saying much, given how House Republicans shut them out. And it's far from a sure thing, because Senate GOP leaders hope to push through their legislation rapidly to clear the way for passing a major tax overhaul in late summer or fall. (Harris Meyer, 5/15)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.