KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Republicans Promise New Efforts To Fight Health Law’s Individual Mandate

Speaker John Boehner vows to hold a vote this month to remove the requirement that Americans get insurance, and some in the GOP suggest they could attach the effort to bills raising the U.S. debt limit.

The New York Times: Seeing Opening, House G.O.P. Pushes Delay On Individual Mandate In Health Law
House Republican leaders on Tuesday seized on the Obama administration's one-year delay of a mandate for larger employers to offer health insurance or face penalties, demanding the same postponement for the mandate on individual insurance purchases and promising a series of showdowns aimed at dividing Democrats from the White House. ... House leaders began devising strategies that would most likely start this month with multiple votes, the first to codify the one-year delay on the employer mandate, then another to demand a delay on the individual mandate. ... Some Republicans raised the possibility that a provision to repeal the individual mandate could be attached this fall to legislation raising the government's statutory borrowing limit (Weisman and Pear, 7/9).

The Associated Press: GOP Wants Delay In Health Law's Individual Mandate
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other senior Republicans told Obama in a letter that his decision last week to grant a one-year delay for employers but leave in place provisions for individuals and families had created many new questions and concerns. At a Capitol Hill news conference, Boehner vowed to hold another vote this month to remove the individual mandate, arguing that it was necessary to "correct this injustice" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/9).

Politico: Hill GOP Eyeing Obamacare Mandate Delay Responses
House Republican leaders are hoping to take full political advantage of the White House’s delay of a key Obamacare requirement by targeting votes this summer on at least three pieces of the law — including the unpopular individual mandate. Last week, the White House gave employers another full year — until 2015 — to offer affordable health care to workers. Republicans, returning from the July 4 break, say that's more proof the law is too complicated to work and that it’s just not right to let businesses off the hook for a year but not ordinary Americans (Cunningham and Haberkorn, 7/9).

The Washington Post: White House Ramps Up Effort To Sell Obamacare
The White House is dramatically expanding its efforts to sell the Affordable Care Act, hiring additional staffers, formulating a public-relations strategy and reaching out to key lawmakers as the new health-insurance system prepares to launch in coming months. The administration’s push comes as Republican leaders signal their intent to focus on the law’s implementation, and any problems it encounters, in their quest to retake the Senate and maintain their House advantage in 2014 (Eilperin, 7/9).

The Hill: GOP Seeks Delay In Individual Mandate
Delaying the individual mandate would be far more dangerous for the White House. It would undermine the central mission of the healthcare law and would likely interfere with establishing new insurance marketplaces. Insurance companies are likely to oppose a delay in the individual mandate without also delaying new provisions requiring them to cover people with pre-existing conditions — one of the law's most popular elements (Baker, 7/9).

NPR: Affordable Care Act Hits More Road Bumps (Audio)
Another day, another delay of a piece of the federal health care law known as ObamaCare. The administration is having trouble setting up some of the new computer systems required by the Affordable Care Act. Last week, they announced a year-long delay in the implementation of some of the law's requirements for businesses. Today, it's smokers who are affected. Critics say this is more evidence that the administration is not ready to roll out the law, which takes effect in October (Rovner and Cornish, 7/9).

Roll Call: GOP Fired Up Over Mandate Delay
President Barack Obama's decision to delay enforcement of the employer health mandate last week had GOP leaders crying foul Tuesday and pushing for a broader repeal of the health care law. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blistered Obama for failing to follow his duty to enforce the laws passed by Congress — even those McConnell opposes, such as the Affordable Care Act (Dennis, 7/9).

Politico: Obamacare At The Crossroads (Video)
Politico Pro health care editor Joanne Kenen leads a discussion with reporters Jennifer Haberkorn, Kyle Cheney, and Jason Millman about the delayed Obamacare employer coverage rules, health law politics and the next steps for the Affordable Care Act (7/9).

Several news outlets also look at other political developments on the health law.

The Washington Post Fact Checker: A New Ad Attacking 'Obamacare'
The conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is launching a $700,000 ad buy that features a mother expressing concern that her son won’t get the medical care he needs for seizures because of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. ... The AFP ad sets up a straw man — the notion that people are going to lose access to their doctor. For the vast majority of Americans, that’s not going to be the case. Under the law, millions of other Americans, for the first time, are supposed to gain access to regular health insurance. Certainly it is appropriate to ask questions about this complex law, but focusing an ad on such an emotional — and unlikely — hypothetical goes too far (Kessler, 7/9).

The Associated Press: Health-Care Plan Unites Conservative Students
A new conservatism is beginning to emerge on some college campuses, spurred in part by opposition to President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. Modeled after The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, which has molded several generations of legal thinkers at the nation’s law schools, this new wave of conservative thinkers is looking to take root in graduate schools of business, medicine and foreign policy (Scherzagier, 7/9).

CQ HealthBeat: DOJ Asks Federal Courts To Stop Overhaul Lawsuits Because Of Employer Mandate Delay
Within days of the Obama administration delaying the health care law’s employer mandate, its legal team filed papers in three federal courts saying that the delay is yet another reason that challenges to the insurance requirement should be thrown out. Department of Justice lawyers have asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Oklahoma to consider the delay as more evidence that the state is not facing any imminent harm (Bunis, 7/9).

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