KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Democrats Pounce On Republicans’ Politically Volatile Vote Hoping For Repeat Of 2010, In Reverse

After passing the Affordable Care Act, Democrats lost 63 seats and their majority in the House. With Republicans' latest vote, they hope the tables will turn in 2018.

The New York Times: Measure On Pre-Existing Conditions Energizes Opposition To Health Bill
From the moment the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a plan to overhaul the health care system, an onslaught of opposition to the bill has been focused on a single, compact term: pre-existing conditions. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running digital ads warning that the legislation would leave “no more protections” for people with a history of illness or injury. Pointing to the power that states could have to set the terms for insurers under the G.O.P. bill, Democratic leaders announced they would make pre-existing conditions an issue in every gubernatorial and state legislative race in the country. (Burns and Goodnough, 5/5)

The Associated Press: Democrats See Opposition To GOP Health Bill As Winning Issue
Even though the Senate still has to act, Republicans now largely own a measure that would curtail, and in some cases take away completely, benefits Americans have embraced after seven years. Chief among them: a guarantee of paying the same amount for coverage regardless of health history. Budget analysts estimate 24 million people would lose insurance over a decade, 14 million in the first year, and older Americans would face higher costs. (Barrow and Peoples, 5/6)

The New York Times: ‘No District Is Off The Table’: Health Vote Could Put House In Play
In a suburban Chicago district, Kelly Mazeski, a breast cancer survivor, used the day of the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act to announce her House candidacy, vowing to make Representative Peter Roskam pay for his vote “to make Americans pay more and get less for their health care.” In western New York, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has stirred talk of a congressional race with her slashing criticism of Representative Chris Collins, who rallied fellow Republicans to vote for the health measure, then conceded in a national television interview that he had not read the bill. (Martin and Burns, 5/6)

The Hill: Democrats Turn Tables On GOP In ObamaCare Messaging War 
Democrats “can start the ads now,” said Julius Hobson, an attorney and former lobbyist with the American Medical Association. “Now you get to attack every GOP House member and say he or she was the margin of victory to take away your healthcare benefits,” just like the Republicans did when ObamaCare passed. Accusations of hypocrisy flew fast and heavy from Democrats this week, as the House passed an ObamaCare repeal bill after struggling with the contents for more than two months. (Weixel, 5/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Political Ads Step Up Pressure In Health-Care Debate
Some 23 House Republicans represent districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton carried last November, suggesting that those seats could be in play next year. Fourteen of those lawmakers voted for the House bill, while nine voted against it. Several groups said they were starting ad buys in those districts. (Andrews, 5/8)

Politico: Left Launching Blitz Against Republicans Who Backed Obamacare Repeal
Save My Care, a coalition of pro-Obamacare advocacy groups, is launching a $500,000-plus TV ad campaign in five congressional districts held by Republicans who backed the GOP plan, the American Health Care Act. The ads target Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Don Young (R-Alaska), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). (Cheney, 5/8)

The Associated Press: White House: Republicans To Be Rewarded For Health Care Vote
The Republican Party will be rewarded for doing "what's right" by voting to overhaul a "failing and collapsing" health care system. That's according to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Priebus made that claim as Democrats and at least one outside group began planning to challenge the GOP for control of the House in the 2018 midterm election. (Superville, 5/8)

The Washington Post: ‘Nobody Dies Because They Don’t Have Access To Health Care,’ GOP Lawmaker Says. He Got Booed.
A conservative Republican congressman from Idaho is drawing criticism for his response to a town-hall attendee’s concerns about how his party’s health-care bill would affect Medicaid recipients. “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” the woman said. “That line is so indefensible,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” The boos instantly drowned him out. (Phillips, 5/7)

The Hill: GOP Braces For Healthcare Blowback At Home 
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), the centrist who negotiated the amendment that helped bring the House GOP’s healthcare bill over the finish line, expects his town hall next Wednesday could get rowdy. MacArthur noted the event is being held in Willingboro, N.J., where he only won 10 percent of the vote in the last election. “This is a not a town that’s going to perhaps be thrilled with this. But I will meet my constituents and talk to them and tell them why and help them understand that what they hear in the media and what fearmongerers are trying to whip up is simply not the truth,” MacArthur said just off the House floor after Thursday’s 217-213 vote on the healthcare bill. (Marcos, 5/6)

The Washington Post: Comstock’s Vote Against Health-Care Bill Seen As Pragmatic In Changing Va. District
During House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s push this week to pass legislation that would overhaul the nation’s health-care system, Northern Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock stood alone as a “no” vote among her Republican Party colleagues in the Washington region. The reason Comstock gave is that the latest version of the American Health Care Act, which passed by a vote of 217 to 213, does not protect people with preexisting conditions and has too many other “uncertainties” in its aim to offer a better model than Obamacare. (Olivo, 5/5)

The Washington Post: ‘Does It Pass The Jimmy Kimmel Test?’ Asks GOP Senator Who Authored Proposal To Replace Obamacare
A Republican senator came up with a new phrase to promote a bill he has pitched to replace the Affordable Care Act. “Does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test?” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who introduced legislation that would replace Obamacare while keeping some of its most popular features, said Friday in an interview with CNN. “Would a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in the first year of life? I want it to pass the Jimmy Kimmel test.” (Phillips, 5/6)

Houston Chronicle: Protests Target Culberson's 'Yes' Vote For GOP Health Care Bill 
A noisy but peaceful gathering outside U.S. Rep. John Culberson's west Houston office Sunday afternoon brought out dozens of chanting protesters determined to send a vote-shaming message to the long-time Republican Congressman... Culberson, who did not appear to be near his office as the protest unfolded, was among the 217 Republicans who last week narrowly approved a measure called the American Health Care Act, designed to replace the current health care law known as Obamacare. (Deam, 5/7)

The Washington Post: ‘Mail My Body To Paul Ryan’: An Extremely Morbid Way To Protest The GOP Health-Care Bill
Mailing human ash is not nearly as complicated as you might think. You basically just need some bubble wrap, a sturdy box and a special label, according the U.S. Postal Service’s handy guide. But why? ... Maybe you want a loved one’s ashes sealed inside blown glass. Or maybe (not in pamphlet) you want your own mortal remains shipped to one of the Republican House members who just passed a health-care bill widely expected to strip insurance from millions of people and hike medical costs — just in case that leads to your death. (Selk, 5/6)

Kaiser Health News: Some GOP Congress Members Could Pay Politically For ACA Repeal Vote
James McLelland was born with a rare form of dwarfism and spent his first nine months in the hospital connected to tubes, machines and monitors. About seven months before his birth in 2011, a provision of the Affordable Care Act kicked in, prohibiting insurers from imposing lifetime limits on health coverage. “If Obamacare hadn’t been in effect, he would have hit the lifetime limit of $1 million before he ever left the hospital,” said his mother, Jennifer McLelland, 35, of Clovis, Calif., using a common nickname for the ACA. (Bazar and Ibarra, 5/5)

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