KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Different Takes: Benefits Of Broad Health Reform Consensus; Senate’s Path To Crafting Its Repeal-And-Replace Bill

Editorial writers examine different aspects of the current debate surround the GOP repeal-and-replace measure in Congress and the status of Obamacare's marketplaces.

JAMA: Building A Broader Consensus For Health Reform
Republican leaders in Congress are trying to pass legislation rolling back and replacing key features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without securing any Democratic support in the effort. ... In political terms, it might be best for Republicans if their effort stalls. The ACA was passed in 2010 with only Democratic votes, and that is a major reason the law remains politically and, to a degree, programmatically unstable. ... It would be better for the United States if a broad consensus could be reached on health care. A bill that passed with support from some Republicans and some Democrats has a better chance of political survival than a bill passed by just one party. It should be possible to reach a broader consensus on health policy because both sides of the debate are forced to work within the significant constraints of existing arrangements. (James C. Capretta, 5/15)

Huffington Post: Hope You Don’t Expect The Senate GOP To Be Transparent About Obamacare Repeal
Senate Republicans have spent the last 10 days or so promising not to tackle health care in the same hurried, irresponsible way that their House counterparts did. “We are not under any deadlines,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said last week, “so we are going to take our time.” ... All of that is probably true ― and less meaningful than it sounds at first blush. It’s possible to write a bill in a slower, more deliberative manner than the House did without allowing the kind [of] lengthy, open public debate that legislation of such magnitude would seem to require. It’s also possible to pass less disruptive, less extreme legislation that would nevertheless take away insurance from many millions of people, causing widespread hardship. (Jonathan Cohn, 5/13)

Los Angeles Times: The Costs Of Trump's Sabotage Of Obamacare Already Are Showing Up In Rate Hikes
The easiest prediction to make about the healthcare business was that the efforts by Congress and the Trump administration to sabotage the Affordable Care Act would produce a flood of rate hikes by insurers for 2018. We are now standing on the edge of the water. Early rate requests have come in from insurers in five states, according to ace ACA-tracker Charles Gaba, who calculates the weighted average rate request increase in those states at about 30% (that is, weighted for the enrollment of each insurer). (Michael Hiltzik, 5/16)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: GOP Health Care Reform Plan Could Cripple Ability To Treat Opioid Addiction Victims
At the same moment I was caring for more patients struggling with addiction and its devastating health effects, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Sadly, the AHCA would replace President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act with a law that would end Medicaid expansion and simultaneously make health care more expensive for my most vulnerable patients and reduce important protections for them. (Robert Bonacci, 5/17)

Bloomberg: Cost Of Health Insurance Isn't All About Fairness
Should women have to pay more for health insurance than men? That has been a critical question for opponents of Republican health-care reform, and it requires grappling with the fundamental nature of insurance, market prices and fairness. Related are questions about how much older people should pay relative to the young, or to what extent individuals with pre-existing conditions should be vulnerable to higher premiums. (Tyler Cowen, 5/16)

WBUR: Hey, Millennials: Want To Help The Underserved? Sign Up For Insurance
I often wonder why President Obama, when he was promoting the Affordable Care Act to millennials, didn't bring out a young person like me to help my peers understand why it matters... As politically aware, or "woke" as my peers seem to me, I worry that making the effort to understand and sign up for health insurance is low on people's priority list. (Aditi Juneja, 5/17)

WBUR: Single-Payer Health Care Is The Key To Democratic Victory In 2018 
The Democratic base wants a single-payer system, a slight majority of Independents are warming to the idea and even some conservative voters appear to be growing amenable to cutting insurance companies out of the picture. Thanks to the GOP health care bill's creation and advancement, the Republican Party’s dream of turning American health care over to the private sector is becoming our new, shared reality. (Miles Howard, 5/17)

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