KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Republicans Continue Budget Assault On Health Law

Hearings are scheduled next week to develop legislation to make it possible to defund the health law by redesignating the related spending from "mandatory" to "discretionary."

The Hill: GOP Wants To Remove Barrier To Starving Health Reform
House Republicans will hold hearings next week to help craft legislation that would make it possible to defund health care reform, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) said Thursday. The chairman of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee said he wants to redesignate health care reform spending so that it's discretionary rather than mandatory. ... "We're going to move to try to make mandatory spending discretionary," Pitts told reporters after a hearing on the president's 2012 budget proposal. "We'd like to make them authorizations" (Pecquet, 3/3).

CQ HealthBeat: GOP Promises Action On Health Spending, Medicaid Flexibility
House Republicans continued their assault on the health care law and federal Medicaid rules on Thursday, promising to introduce bills to convert the untouchable mandatory spending in the overhaul to discretionary, waive Medicaid maintenance-of-effort requirements and turn the program into a block grant. "Governors have requested flexibility in the way they serve Medicaid patients," said Joe Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee. "We're looking to give them that flexibility and change this maintenance-of-effort provision in the law and then block grant" Medicaid. Pitts' comments came after a contentious hearing where Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the overhaul and the president's 2012 budget proposal (Adams, 3/3).

MinnPost: Bachmann Joins Tea Party Supporters In Plan To Defund Health Care Law
Upset with a continuing resolution she says didn't go far enough, some Tea Party-affiliated Republicans like Rep. Michele Bachmann say they'll push colleagues to insist on removing funds to implement the recently passed health reform law. "We're having discussions about that now, particularly the defunding of ObamaCare for the implementation, as well as defunding Planned Parenthood," Bachmann said. ... Bachmann was one of just six House Republicans to oppose the two-week CR, though several Republicans have said publicly they'll insist on increased concessions in future funding measures (Wallbank, 3/3).

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