KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Different Takes On The Politics Swirling Around The Senate GOP’s Health Plan

Opinion writers offer their thoughts on the high political stakes in play regarding the legislation that the Senate Republican leadership has named The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. But will it be better?

The New York Times: The Health Debate Shows What Both Parties Care About Most
Economists believe what people do more than what they say. It’s called revealed preference: People’s actions are the best indication of what they actually want, not their words. The same applies to political parties. This is plain to see in the Senate health care bill, which would eliminate large parts of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. (Neil Irwin, 6/23)

The Washington Post: Replacing Obamacare Is A Make-Or-Break Moment For Republicans
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) threw himself off a political cliff last week when he declared full-throated opposition to the Senate version of the Obamacare repeal bill, and it remains to be seen if Heller is hanging by a limb out of sight and can climb back to electoral sanity or has hit rock bottom in his public career. (Hugh Hwitt, 6/25)

Bloomberg: Those Moderates Are Screwing Up Health-Care Reform
For most of the last decade, moderate Republicans have sounded just like their conservative colleagues on Obamacare: The law was a disaster and had to be replaced. Once Republicans were in a position to do something about the law, though, they were forced to think, apparently for the first time, about specific health-policy decisions. At that point the moderates decided that they want to keep Obamacare but make it cheaper. (Ramesh Ponnuru, 6/23)

Bloomberg: Health-Care Bill Puts Senate In Uncharted Waters
Will it pass? The dominant attitude on Thursday (at least in my Twitter feed) was that Mitch McConnell is a master legislator who had carefully maneuvered the bill past various obstacles. Yes, many Republicans have expressed doubts about it, but surely they could be brought on board with amendments that allow them to claim credit back home. That's what happened in the House when their version of the bill looked dead. Moderates and those in states where it would be a tough vote -- Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Ohio's Rob Portman, Nevada's Dean Heller -- will fold, as that wing of the party always does. Those who feel the bill doesn't go far enough -- including Kentucky's Rand Paul, Utah's Mike Lee, Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, and Ted Cruz of Texas -- surely care about passing something, and the rest of the Republicans will likely give them what they need to vote yes. (Jonathan Bernstein, 6/23)

Roll Call: What’s At Stake For McConnell, Conservatives And The GOP
The last Republican president, George W. Bush, actually expanded Medicare entitlements. President Ronald Reagan worked with a Democratic Congress to stabilize Social Security, and President Richard Nixon oversaw a massive increase in eligibility for Medicare. Over the years, legislators and presidents have nipped, tucked and tweaked the entitlement programs, but no one has ever gotten so close to a fundamental reversal of their structure as congressional Republicans are now. That is, Republicans have campaigned on reining in spending but they haven’t really had the chance to take the “entitlement” out of the three major entitlement programs. Now, they are positioned to do just that with Medicaid. (Jonathan Allen, 6/26)

The Washington Post: The Senate’s Three Big Lies About Health Care
To succeed in gutting health coverage for millions of Americans, Senate Republican leaders need to get a series of lies accepted as truth. Journalists and other neutral arbiters must resist the temptation to report these lies as just a point of view. A lie is a lie. (E.J. Dionne, 6/25)

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