KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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GOP Leaders Remain Resolute On Quick Repeal Vote Despite Unease Brewing In Ranks

The lawmakers are facing dissent from their own party by members who are concerned that there is no plan on how to replace the health law if Congress votes to repeal it.

The Washington Post: Republicans Scramble To Ease Concerns About Obamacare Replacement
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to ease growing concerns among GOP lawmakers about rushing to repeal the federal health-care law before plans for a replacement take firmer shape, addressing complications to the effort to deliver on one of the party’s signature campaign promises. In the Senate, where Republicans are using a budget package to move swiftly ahead with repeal, leaders are looking at ways to adjust their plans to address the skittishness that GOP senators have voiced in recent days. (Sullivan and Snell, 1/9)

The Associated Press: GOP Anxiety Mounts Over Voiding Health Law Without Own Plan
The burgeoning Republican divisions come as the GOP-led Senate pushed toward a final vote this week on a budget that would prevent Democrats from using a filibuster to block a later repealing Obama's overhaul. That's crucial because filibusters take 60 votes to halt in a chamber that Republicans control by only a 52-48 margin. (Fram, 1/10)

Politico: GOP Leaders Vow To Plow Ahead With Obamacare Repeal
House and Senate Republican leaders are forging ahead with plans to repeal Obamacare then replace it later — dismissing mounting pressure from their own party to delay the repeal vote until they have a fully formed alternative. But they’re hoping to ease internal concerns that Republicans will be attacked for acting hastily — worries that accelerated after libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) bucked party leadership on the matter last week and received a blessing from President-elect Donald Trump. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and their top lieutenants in both chambers are now considering a strategy that includes adding some replacement provisions to the repeal bill, according to lawmakers and aides. (Bade and Everett, 1/9)

The Hill: GOP Leaders Push Back At Critics Of ObamaCare Plan 
Senate Republican leaders are pushing back against the idea proposed by some in their caucus of passing an ObamaCare replacement at the same time that they repeal the law. Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, indicated to reporters Monday that simultaneous repeal and replacement is not practical. (Sullivan, 1/9)

Politico: 5 Senate Republicans Seek To Slow Down Obamacare Repeal
A group of moderate Senate Republicans introduced an amendment Monday to give Republicans additional time to repeal Obamacare. Sens. Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Lisa Murkowski, Bill Cassidy and Rob Portman want to extend the deadline for a repeal bill until March 3 under an arcane budget procedure called reconciliation that prevents a Democratic filibuster. The existing resolution's deadline is Jan. 27, although none of the deadlines are binding. (Haberkorn, 1/9)

CQ Roll Call: Five Senate Republicans Push To Delay Obamacare Repeal
The five lawmakers are part of a larger group that is calling on their colleagues to agree on a replacement plan before repealing the health care law. Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tom Cotton of Arkansas have expressed similar concerns. The cohort is large enough to derail an otherwise speedy process. With 52 seats in the Senate, Republicans can afford to lose just two votes on the reconciliation measure once Vice President-elect Mike Pence is available to break a tie after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. (Mershon and Lesniewski, 1/9)

Politico: Freedom Caucus Looks To Delay Budget — And Obamacare Repeal
The House Freedom Caucus wants to delay a vote on a budget that includes Obamacare repeal instructions, a potential setback for the GOP’s — and Donald Trump’s — top priority. The group of hardline conservatives wants more information about what a repeal bill and Obamacare replacement would look like before they support the fiscal 2017 budget. (Bade, 1/9)

The Associated Press: GOP Turns To Arcane Budget Process To Repeal Obamacare
Yes, Donald Trump is taking charge and Republicans control both the House and Senate, having won an election promising to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. But in Congress, getting from Point A to point B rarely consists of a straight line, and Democrats in the Senate can easily gum up the works with procedural blockades. Since Republicans hold the Senate with just 52 votes, they are forced to employ an arcane, fast-track budget process to avoid a Democratic filibuster. (1/9)

In other news —

The Associated Press Fact Check: Despite Woes Obamacare Not In 'Death Spiral'
President-elect Donald Trump says that President Barack Obama's health care law "will fall of its own weight." House Speaker Paul Ryan says the law is "in what the actuaries call a death spiral." And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that "by nearly any measure, Obamacare has failed." The problem with all these claims: They are exaggerated, if not downright false. (Werner, 1/10)

Roll Call: Obamacare Tax on Wealthy Sparks Battle Over Fairness
Republicans and Democrats are squaring off in a fight over tax fairness as the GOP develops a timetable for repealing the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income under the health care overhaul. GOP lawmakers have long argued for elimination of the surtax, or the net investment income tax, that applies to income such as interest, dividends and capital gains for individuals making more than $125,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. (Ota, 1/9)

The CT Mirror: Insurers: Repeal Of ACA Should Go Slowly, Keep Subsidies Awhile 
As Republicans in Congress begin work on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s health insurers are telling lawmakers to keep paying subsidies to the companies and to low-income Americans so they can afford coverage. Insurers also want Congress to create a long transition period before the ACA is eliminated and a GOP plan replaces the health law. (Radelat, 1/9)

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