KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Still Embroiled In Intra-Party Split Over Govt. Shutdown And Efforts To Defund The Health Law

Some Republican governors are urging members of Congress to step away from the government shutdown threat. And while some GOP leaders are signaling that efforts to gut health law funding will not be considered in this fall's budget battle, rank-and-file lawmakers have opinions of their own.

The New York Times: G.O.P. Governors Warn Party Members In Congress Not To Shut Government
Worried about the potential impact on the fragile economies in their states, Republican governors this weekend warned their counterparts in Congress not to shut down the federal government as part of an effort to block financing for President Obama’s health care law (Martin, 8/4).

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Leaders Signal Health-Care Card Not In Play In Budget Battle
Two top House Republicans suggested Sunday that they don't plan to use the threat of a partial government shutdown this fall to demand a repeal of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul. Many rank-and-file Republicans have pledged to block any bill funding the government for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 if it includes funds to implement the health-care law. GOP leaders, however, have appeared wary of using the health-care legislation as a negotiating tool as Washington nears another fiscal crisis (Peterson, 8/4).

Medpage Today: GOP Split On Plan To Kill ACA Funding
Hard-line conservatives are rounding up support to hold up the spending bill that will fund the federal government after next month unless money to fund the ACA is taken away. Congress hasn't yet passed a spending bill -- known as a "continuing resolution" (CR) to keep the federal government open after Sept. 30 when the current fiscal year ends. The conservative Republicans involved in the defunding effort are vowing not to support any CR or stop-gap funding unless that legislation also cuts off money to the ACA's health insurance exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion, and prohibits funds to implement or enforce the ACA (Pittman, 8/3).

Bloomberg: Republicans Split On Efforts To Defund Obama Health-Care Law
Shutting down the U.S. government to starve President Barack Obama’s health-care system overhaul is the wrong solution pushed only by a "few extreme people" in Congress, lawmakers from both major parties said. As Congress prepares to negotiate the federal budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, a faction of Republican senators -- led by Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah -- has said it will force a government shutdown if funding continues for the $1.3 trillion Affordable Care Act (Jamrisko, 8/4).

The Hill: Norquist: GOP Should Push Delay Of Individual Mandate In Shutdown Fight
Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist weighed in Friday with his recipe for GOP success in the fiscal battle this fall. A main part of the plan Norquist outlined to the The Hill involves taking a targeted approach when it comes to ending ObamaCare as part of the government shutdown fight (Wasson, 8/2).

The Hill: Chambliss: Shutdown Over Obamacare Would Play Into Obama's Hands
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) argued on Sunday that a government shutdown would hurt Republicans politically and harm the public. Several Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), have argued that congressional Republicans should block any government funding bill that provides money for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature health care law (Sasso, 8/4).

Fox News: House Republican Leaders Outline Agenda For Immigration, ObamaCare, Budget Talks
House Republican leaders on Sunday outlined their caucus game plan for a critical next few months and beyond, suggesting a potential compromise on the sequester before an October deadline and a final vote on immigration reform. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor suggested that congressional Republicans are open to a compromise to end the deep, undiscerning cuts to the federal budget known as sequester but said the deal would require Democrats agreeing to entitlement cuts (8/4).

Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend news headlines, including reports about House Republicans' 40th effort to undo the health law and the Sunday talk show debate about linking a government shutdown to the threat of defunding the health law.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal continues its coverage of an insider-trader probe --

The Wall Street Journal: Insider-Trading Probe Caught In A Washington Knot
Federal investigators interviewed a Senate staff member for four hours Thursday, part of a wide-ranging insider-trading probe into how a major change in U.S. health-care policy leaked to Wall Street traders before it was announced. But Thursday's interview with Rodney Whitlock, a health-care aide to Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), took place only after delays over the terms of the questioning, according to people familiar with the matter. In addition, Mr. Whitlock didn't answer several questions from investigators that touched on a parallel investigation by Mr. Grassley's staff, according to a written statement from Mr. Grassley's office (Grimaldi, Mullins and Barrett, 8/4).

And in other news from Capitol Hill --

McClatchy: N.C. Representative Favors Sequester Cuts, With Exception For Cancer Care
Rep. Renee Ellmers voted for across-the-board budget cuts and likes that they’re chipping down federal spending. But she’s fighting what she says is an unintended consequence: Senior citizens fighting cancer must pay more and often travel farther for their chemotherapy (Schoof, 8/4).

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