KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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GOP Efforts To Repeal-And-Replace Obamacare Resurface

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) says his sweeping proposal is "about the only game left in town." On the House side, members of the conservative Freedom Caucus on Friday filed a discharge petition that, with a simple 218-vote majority, would trigger a floor vote on a two-year Affordable Care Act repeal -- with no replacement -- as early as September. Meanwhile, on the other side of the issue, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is preparing to introduce his Medicare-for-all plan and other Democrats are shopping around a Medicare buy-in plan that would begin at age 50.

The (Baton Rouge, La.) Advocate: Sen. Bill Cassidy: My Obamacare Repeal-And-Replace Plan The 'Only Game Left In Town'
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy says a sweeping proposal to overhaul health care he's co-sponsoring with two Republican colleagues is "about the only game left in town" to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Cassidy, a physician and Louisiana Republican, said he hopes to push forward the plan — which he's working on with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — by the end of September. (Stole, 8/14)

Dallas Morning News: Two Texans Join Conservative Push To Force Obamacare Repeal Vote On House Leadership
With President Donald Trump pressuring GOP lawmakers to return to the Affordable Care Act fight, a pair of Texas Republicans are backing a call to force an Obamacare repeal in the House. ... Tyler Rep. Louie Gohmert and Austin Rep. Roger Williams lauded the measure, arguing that House Republicans should heed President Trump’s calls for Congress to stay focused on dismantling the Affordable Care Act. (Kelly, 8/14)

The Fiscal Times: One More Try? Why Obamacare Repeal Is On The Horizon Again
The effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which many assumed was dead or at least in a state of suspended animation for the foreseeable future, may be showing some stirring of life after all. After the Senate’s attempt to pass a bill that few members of the body wanted to become law failed by a single vote in July, top leaders in the chamber have been signaling that it is time to move on to tax reform and other priorities. (Garver, 8/14)

The Associated Press: Sanders Plans To Introduce 'Medicare For All' Plan Soon
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told a group of seniors that the solution to the country's health care crisis is to make Medicare available to all, a proposal he plans to introduce shortly after Congress reconvenes in September. ... He acknowledged that a "Medicare for all" bill likely won't pass in the Republican-controlled Congress and with Trump as president. But he said change takes time, and would involve organizing effectively in every state to make it happen. (Rathke, 8/14)

Hartford (Conn.) Courant: In Manchester, Larson And Courtney Pitch Medicare Buy-In At Age 50
At Manchester Memorial Hospital Monday, Reps. John Larson and Joe Courtney proposed what they see as a common sense solution to the health care debate that has ensnarled Congress: a Medicare buy-in beginning at age 50. Under the proposal, customers ages 50-64 in the individual insurance market would have the option to pay premiums and buy Medicare insurance coverage. Small businesses could also buy Medicare coverage for their older employees. (Blair, 8/14)

In other Capitol Hill developments —

The Hill: Dems Want GAO To Look At ObamaCare Mandate
Two top House Democrats are asking the government’s watchdog to evaluate the Trump administration’s enforcement of the individual mandate, which is a key facet of ObamaCare. The ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), and the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.), made the request to the Government Accountability Office in a letter. (Roubein, 8/14)

CQ Roll Call: Health Care Stabilization Bill Will Likely Be Slim
A Senate bill to stabilize the health insurance exchanges will likely be narrowly focused, given the time constraints and political divides Congress will have to confront after the August recess. The measure will almost certainly include funding for the cost-sharing reduction subsidies that President Donald Trump is threatening to cancel. The next payments are due around Aug. 21, and industry observers expect the White House to allow the money to go to insurers in the near term. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will hold hearings on a potential insurance package starting next month. (Clason, 8/14)

The Hill: CBO To Release Report Tuesday On Ending ObamaCare Insurer Payments 
The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release a report Tuesday afternoon on the impact of halting key payments to insurance companies, which President Trump has threatened to do, CBO announced Monday. The nonpartisan agency will analyze the effects stopping these payments would have on the federal budget, health coverage, marketplace stability and premiums. (Roubein, 8/14)

Politico: Cecile Richards To Democrats: Stand Firm On Abortion
Abortion is exactly the kind of debate Democrats don’t want right now: visceral, internally divisive, and more about hypotheticals than any actual candidate or race. ... The latest round of infighting was inadvertently kicked off by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, who said in an interview at the beginning of the month that abortion wouldn’t be a “litmus test” in backing candidates for next year’s existential battle for the House majority. Abortion rights activists erupted, and Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, couldn’t be clearer on how wrong she thinks Luján is. “It’s a shocking sort of misunderstanding of actually where the country is … which is overwhelmingly supportive of abortion rights and also, who are the ground troops that kind of fuel the election of candidates,” Richards told me in an interview at her office in Lower Manhattan. (Dovere, 8/15)

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