KHN Morning Briefing

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Disagreement Over Preexisting Conditions Reveals Deep Intra-Party Divide Over Health Law

The push-and-pull between moderate and conservative Republicans is not limited to the House debates. Cracks in the Senate are showing as well.

The Hill: Divisions Emerge In The Senate On Pre-Existing Conditions 
Senate Republicans are showing early divisions over what to do about ObamaCare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Some conservatives, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), want to simply repeal those provisions and other ObamaCare regulations and leave them up to the states. But advocates of a more centrist approach, like Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), are speaking out in favor of pre-existing condition protections and endorsing a "Jimmy Kimmel test" for the bill, where no one can be denied coverage.  (Sullivan, 5/23)

Nashville Tennessean: Senate Republicans Consider 'Two-Step' Process For Obamacare Replacement
Republican senators working to craft their own bill to replace the Affordable Care Act are looking at possibly phasing out the requirement that Americans buy health insurance instead of ending it abruptly. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs the committee that oversees health care issues, said Monday a “two-step” process for ending the insurance mandate and other provisions is something that senators have been discussing. (Collins and Whetstone, 5/22)

The Hill: Conservative Groups Press Senate On ObamaCare Repeal 
Two conservative groups are seeking to influence the Senate’s healthcare bill with a list of recommendations aimed at keeping the bill to the right. Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners detailed their requests in a letter sent Monday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has convened a working group of senators to examine what ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill can pass the chamber. (Roubein, 5/22)

Kaiser Health News: GOP’s Health Bill Could Undercut Some Coverage In Job-Based Insurance
The American Health Care Act that recently passed the House would fundamentally change the individual insurance market, and it could significantly alter coverage for people who get coverage through their employers too. The bill would allow states to opt out of some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, including no longer requiring plans sold on the individual market to cover 10 “essential health benefits,” such as hospitalization, drugs and maternity care. (Andrews, 5/23)

Meanwhile, back in the House —

Politico Pro: House Panel To Start Work On 'Third Bucket' Obamacare Bills 
House Republicans on Wednesday plan to start work on three Obamacare replacement bills they’re hoping to pass with bipartisan support, sources familiar with the matter said. These bills are part of the so-called third bucket of the GOP repeal and replace strategy — legislation that doesn't fit the fast-track budget reconciliation procedure being used to get Obamacare repeal through the Senate, but which further advances the Republican vision of reshaping health care. (Haberkorn and Everett, 5/22)

And, a look at how many people have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act —

The New York Times: Nearly 20 Million Have Gained Health Insurance Since 2010
The number of Americans without health insurance has fallen drastically in recent years, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2016, there were 28.6 million Americans without health insurance, down from more than 48 million in 2010. Some 12.4 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 were uninsured, 69.2 percent were covered by private plans and 20 percent had public coverage. (Bakalar, 5/22)

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