KHN Morning Briefing

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Different Takes: Can The ‘Problem Solvers’ Solve The Obamacare Problem?; Time To Stop The Sabotage

Editorial writers take on a variety of issues related to the future of the Affordable Care Act, what needs to happen next and what's going wrong and right.

The Wall Street Journal: Can The ‘Problem Solvers’ Fix ObamaCare?
Last week, a gravely ill senator flew across the country to give the speech of his life. John McCain invoked the spirit of the Senate in better times to highlight our current ills. “Our deliberations today,” he said, are “more partisan, more tribal more of the time than at any other time I remember.” The polarization of political discourse has practical—negative—consequences, he added: It is not producing much for the American people. (William A. Galston, 8/1)

Roll Call: Forget The Moderates, Only The Die-Hards Can Get Health Care Back On Track
If the failure of health care reform taught us anything last week, it’s that somebody somewhere in Washington is going to have to start compromising if anything is ever going to get done. But if you’re thinking a successful compromise is going to come from moderates like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, or Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., think again. Although those senators’ roles will be important, all of the moderates from both parties together still don’t have enough votes to pass legislation. Instead, the movement, and the concessions, are going to have to come from the true believers of both parties — the hardcore liberals and conservatives who are least likely to give up on their principles and are thus most likely to bring a critical mass of their party along with them. (Patricia Murphy, 8/2)

The Washington Post: How Republicans Can Fix Obamacare Now
The failure of Senate Republicans to pass even their “skinny” repeal bill is a serious disappointment to critics of the Affordable Care Act. Despite campaign rhetoric suggesting otherwise, “repeal and replace” of the ACA is something Republicans are apparently unable and likely unwilling to do. The only silver lining for conservatives is that the failure has demonstrated what the political market will bear when it comes to changes to the law. (Lanhee J. Chen and Tevi Troy, 8/1)

Bloomberg: Stop Sabotaging Obamacare, Mr. President
Say what you will about Congress's failure to repeal Obamacare -- and there was a lot to be said about its reckless efforts -- at least the process acknowledged one basic fact of America's constitutional system: If Congress doesn't like a law, it can change it. If the president does not like a law, he cannot be allowed to sabotage it. (8/1)

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare For Congress
President Trump likes to govern by Twitter threat, which often backfires, to put it mildly. But he’s onto something with his recent suggestion that Members of Congress should have to live under the health-care law they imposed on Americans. Over the weekend Mr. Trump tweeted that “If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” He later added: “If ObamaCare is hurting people, & it is, why shouldn’t it hurt the insurance companies & why should Congress not be paying what public pays?” (8/1)

USA Today: No More Obamacare
If the American people wanted more Obamacare, they would have re-elected Democrats to their majorities in the House in 2010 and Senate in 2014, and given them back the White House in 2016. The American people want a different approach. They want affordable health insurance. They want quality care. They want to be able to keep their doctors, and they want to make health care decisions with their doctors, not the government. Republicans have put forward two reform plans that, though not full repeal, are first steps at fixing the failures of Obamacare. Both of these Republican plans protect Americans with pre-existing conditions while offering lower-cost insurance options for millions of Americans who are hurt by Obamacare. (Rep. Jim Jordan, 8/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Maine’s Two Senators Let Us Down
When it comes to providing affordable health care to the people of Maine, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are worse than out of touch—they are downright dangerous. After Maine expanded Medicaid to childless adults in 2002 under then-Gov. King, the program nearly bankrupted our state. But now Ms. Collins and Mr. King are pushing to do it again by refusing to reform ObamaCare and prevent the future expansion of Medicaid. (Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage, 8/1)

USA Today: Set The Health Care Record Straight: Republicans Helped Craft Obamacare
It was a nice nod in the direction of bipartisanship. But it also perpetuates a deceptive narrative, repeated often by Republicans, that they were completely excluded from the process that resulted in Obamacare. While it is true that no Republican voted for the final bill, it is blatantly untrue that it contains no GOP DNA. In fact, to make such an assertion is like researching your ancestry and going no further back than your mother and father. Not only were Republican senators deeply involved in the process up until its conclusion, but it's a cinch that the ACA might have become law months earlier if the Democrats, hoping for a bipartisan bill, hadn't spent enormous time and effort wooing GOP senators — only to find themselves gulled by false promises of cooperation. And unlike Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's semi-secret proceedings that involved only a handful of trusted colleagues, Obamacare, until the very end of the process, was open to public scrutiny. (Ross K. Baker, 8/1)

Chicago Tribune: Another Obamacare Whack For Illinois: Price Hikes Of 43 Percent?
U.S. . Senate Republicans belly-flopped recently in an attempt to overhaul Obamacare. Many Democrats, meanwhile, have remained steadfastly opposed to significant fixes to the law because, well, it's a success in their estimation. On Tuesday, federal officials released the Obamacare rates for Illinois in 2018. Insurers propose to hike health insurance prices by as much as 43 percent next year for those who buy coverage through Obamacare exchanges. That's on top of nosebleed-section rate increases of more than 40 percent for 2017. (8/1)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Gov. Edwards Is Wrong On Medicaid Expansion
The governor keeps telling us that the Obamacare expansion is saving money and that these savings will continue. He wants this to be true, since last year he promised taxpayers the expansion would save $1 billion over the next decade. Many at the time, including local hospitals, rightly warned these projections were overly optimistic. Especially considering that to pay for itself, the governor's expansion plan relies on a budget gimmick that even former Vice President Joe Biden called a "scam." It's a scheme wherein the state collects a provider tax from hospitals and then returns the funds to the hospitals in the form of higher Medicaid payments. (John Kay, 8/2)

The Charlotte Observer: The Best Health Care Solution? Medicare For All
The 52nd anniversary of Medicare was Sunday and the program is more relevant than ever no matter your age. If you’re younger than 50 or even 40, you may benefit from a brief description of Medicare. “Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease” (Medicare website). Congress created it in 1965 to aid older citizens who had no insurance coverage following retirement. (John H. Clark, 8/1)

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